Last weekend we presented at the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy’s Student Rep Development Weekend (#SRDW16).  We wanted to challenge the gathered crowd to explore new innovations and embrace change.  I started with a little talk about exploring, here is the gist of that opening presentation I gave….

I am an explorer. I like to go to places that I’ve never been before, do things that I’ve never done before.  When I was young you wouldn’t find me watching TV instead I would be in the woods building dens, in the stream building dams and catching newts, I’d be on top of a hill looking into the distance looking for the next place to go. Today I still explore, I like to travel and I like to combine that with exploring the limits of my physical ability.  I climb mountains, I ski back down again, I ride my bike and run on the trails, and I will always choose the path I’ve never been down.  I really dislike turning around and going back the way we came.

This exploring nature extends into my professional life. In 2006 I started the first physiotherapy blog, in 2007 I was the first physiotherapist on Twitter, also in 2007 we built the first online physiotherapy course and in 2008 we built Physiopedia, the first physiotherapy wiki.  Physiopedia wouldn’t be what it is today without all exploring I have done. I have explored our global profession and the educational needs of the profession in different places around the world.  More importantly I have explored innovation outside of our profession and how we might apply these opportunities to our profession.

It wouldn’t have been right to come along today without bringing Tony.   Tony is the techie guy at Physiopedia.  Despite not being a physio Tony’s skill is in making sense out of new innovative opportunities and how we might apply them to the physiotherapy profession. Together as a team we like to discuss how new innovations can be applied in our profession.

One example recently is the prediction by Ray Kurzweil that by 2030 nanobots will plug our brains into the web. Let me tell you about Ray Hurzweil – technologist, futurist, and a director of engineering at Google focused on AI and language processing. He has also made more correct technology predictions about the future than anyone. Of the 147 predictions that Kurzweil has made since the 1990s, fully 115 of them have turned out to be correct, and another 12 have turned out to be “essentially correct” (off by a year or two), giving his predictions a stunning 86% accuracy rate.  

“In the 2030s,” said Ray, “we are going to send nano-robots into the brain (via capillaries) that will provide full immersion virtual reality from within the nervous system and will connect our neocortex to the cloud. Just like how we can wirelessly expand the power of our smartphones 10,000-fold in the cloud today, we’ll be able to expand our neocortex in the cloud.”

Let’s digest this – 2030 is only 15 years away. Imagine having a small organic device  inserted into your brain, allowing us to connect to the cloud, to access any information we like at any time, immediately.  Imagine the implications for traveling to a foreign country, for communicating in that country.  Imagine how your patient interactions might look when you have access to all the information in the world in a simple thought process.

I’ve talked before about how the physiotherapy profession is very resistant to change. We are reactive. When it comes to new things, new innovation we take years to respond. This is what threatens our profession and will allow competitors to sneak in and take our role, our business, our position in society.  We need to be more proactive, embrace change and move the profession forwards before others do it for us.  To do this we need to be brave and explore, to seek out opportunities and not be afraid of change.

Today we are going to encourage you to embrace change.  We are going to do some exploring and come up with ideas that might really, proactively, make a difference.