Atul Gawande

  • Aired:  07/30/13
  •  | Views: 16,511

Atul Gawande discusses his New Yorker article, "Slow Ideas: Some ideas spread fast. How do you speed the ones that don't?" (6:04)

[ CHEERS AND APPLAUSE ]

>> Stephen: WELCOME BACK,

EVERYBODY.

MY GUEST TONIGHT IS THE AUTHOR

OF A NEW YORKER ARTICLE CALLED

"SLOW IDEAS."

IN A MONTH I'M GOING TO KNOW

WHAT I THINK OF IT.

PLEASE WELCOME ATUL GAWANDE.

THANK YOU.

GOOD TO SEE YOU AGAIN.

IT'S BEEN A FEW YEARS.

>> NOT THAT LONG

Stephen: WHAT?

IT'S BEEN A LITTLE WHILE.

YOU CAME HERE TO TELL US ABOUT

CHECKLISTS AND HOW THEY CAN MAKE

OUR LIVES A BETTER PLACE, KEEP

DOCTORS FROM KILLING PEOPLE,

LEAVING SPONGES IN PATIENTS AND

STUFF LIKE THAT.

YOU STILL USE A CHECKLIST?

>> YES

Stephen: ME TOO.

TONIGHT I'M CHECKING OFF

DR. ATUL GAWANDE.

FOR THE PEOPLE WHO DON'T KNOW

YOU'RE A SURGEON, YOU'RE A

PROFESSOR AT HARVARD MEDICAL

SCHOOL AND THE HARVARD SCHOOL OF

PUBLIC HEALTH.

YOU ALSO WRITE FOR THE NEW

YORKER.

YOU'VE GOT A NEW ARTICLE CALLED

"SLOW IDEAS: SOME INNOVATIONS

SPREAD FAST.

HOW DO YOU SPEED THE ONES THAT

DON'T?"

HERE'S ONE IDEA OF HOW TO SPEED

THINGS UP.

SHORTER TITLES.

IDEAS GET RIGHT ACROSS, OKAY.

WHAT DO YOU MEAN?

IF AN IDEA IS GOOD, WON'T IT

NATURALLY JUST SPREAD FAST?

>> YOU WOULD THINK SO.

Stephen: I DO.

19th CENTURY I STARTED

WITH LOTS OF IDEAS BUT TWO.

ONE IS THE IDEA OF DISCOVERY OF

ANESTHESIA, FREEDOM FROM PAIN

DURING SURGERY

>> Stephen: LIKE ETHER OR COLOR

FORM.

>> EXACTLY.

RIGHT AROUND THAT SAME THING,

ANT SEPTICS, LISTER SHOWING THE

WAY TO STOP INFECTIONS

>> Stephen: SPRAYING LISTERINE

AROUND THE ROOM.

>> ANESTHESIA SPREAD IN WEEKS ON

TO EVERY CAPITAL AROUND EUROPE.

IT WAS ACROSS THE UNITED STATES

IN EVERY HOSPITAL IN SEVEN YEARS

>> Stephen: NOBODY WANTS TO BE

IN PAIN.

>> YOU DON'T WANT INFECTION

Stephen: BUT YOU CAN'T SEE

INFECTION.

>> YOU WANT INSTANT

GRATIFICATION NOT ONLY IF YOU'RE

A PATIENT, YOU'RE FREE FROM

PAIN.

BUT IF YOU'RE THE SURGEON YOU

DON'T HAVE A SCREAMING PARITY ON

THE TABLE

>> Stephen: OR IF YOU'RE A DRUG

ADDICT, YOU CAN POUR IT ON IF

RUG IN YOUR CAR AND BE HIGH AS

YOU DRIVE DOWN THE HIGHWAY.

I SAW THAT IN A BOOK.

>> OR IN A HORSE BUGGY IN THE

19th CENTURY

>> Stephen: SURE.

THE ANTISEPTIC WAS LISTERINE

WAS BASEDDED ON CAR BOLIC ACID

WAY WAS THE ANTISEPTIC

>> Stephen: THAT SOUNDS SCARY.

IT BURNED YOUR HAND.

YOU LITERALLY NOT ONLY YOU'RE

DELAYING A BUG YOU CAN'T SEE,

GERMS YOU CAN'T SEE, A PROBLEM

THAT WON'T APPEAR FOR A FEW DAYS

BUT YOU HAD TO GO THROUGH PAIN

IN ORDER TO HAVE IT.

THAT IS THE STORY OF MANY SLOW

IDEAS THAT YOU HAVE TO NOT ONLY

DELAY GRATIFICATION.

BUT IT'S PAINFUL UP FRONT FOR A

GREAT CONSEQUENCE LATER ON.

LIKE SEX.

>> Stephen: YOUR POINT IS THAT

THESE IDEAS SHOULD BE SLOW?

>> NO

Stephen: OKAY, GOOD.

BECAUSE I WANT IMMEDIATE

GRATIFICATION.

I WANT LIKE AN APP ON MY PHONE

THAT I CAN JUST HIT AND GO

WHAT'S A GOOD IDEA?

AND IT TELLS ME WHAT THE GOOD

IDEA IS.

THEN I ADOPT THAT IDEA AS A GOOD

IDEA AND DON'T HAVE TO PUT ANY

THOUGHT INTO IT.

>> WE'VE SO OVERVALUED THE IDEA

OF APPs OR INCENTIVES TO GET

PEOPLE TO DO THE RIGHT THING,

ANOTHER EXAMPLE WE'RE WORKING

WITH IS IN SOME COUNTRIES LIKE

IN INDIA WHERE YOU HAVE DEATHS

IN CHILDBIRTH THERE ARE VERY

BASIC THINGS FROM HAND WASHING

TO PUTTING THE BABY DIRECTLY ON

TO THE SKIN OF THE MOM TO WARM

THE BABY UP CUTS THE DEATH RATE

BY A THIRD

>> Stephen: IS IS IT JUST

MEDICINE?

>> IT'S NOT JUST MEDICINE.

IT'S ACROSS THE BOARD THAT WHAT

YOU SEE OVER AND OVER AGAIN IS

IS WHAT THE MOST POWERFUL FORCE

FOR CHANGING, WHETHER PEOPLE

CHANGE THEIR NORMS AND STANDARDS

IS NOT WHETHER YOU PAY THEM, NOT

WHETHER YOU PENALIZE THEM BUT

WHETHER YOU TALK TO THEM.

PEOPLE TALKING TO PEOPLE.

THEY KNOW WHETHER THEY'RE

ACTUALLY DOING THIS THEMSELVES.

DO YOU TRUST AND KNOW SOMEONE

WHO IS DOING THIS?

THEN YOU CHANGE

>> Stephen: THIS IS HOW GAY

MARRIAGE SPREAD.

IT'S BECAUSE THAT WAS A SLOW

IDEA, RIGHT?

PEOPLE DID NOT ACCEPT THAT

BECAUSE IT'S AGAINST GOD'S LAW.

BUT EVENTUALLY GAY PEOPLE GOT TO

KNOW SO MANY PEOPLE OR SO MANY

PEOPLE GOT TO KNOW GAY PEOPLE

THAT EVENTUALLY YOU SAID, WELL,

I'M AGAINST, YOU KNOW, GAY

RIGHTS BUT NOT, YOU KNOW, NOT

BRIAN AND ALLEN.

THEY SEEM LIKE GOOD GUYS.

I'D LOVE THEM TO BE HAPPY

TOGETHER.

THAT'S HOW THEY CREPT INTO OUR

HEARTS.

RIGHT?

THAT'S A SLOW IDEA.

ISN'T IT?

>> AND IT WORKED EXACTLY THE WAY

YOU DESCRIBED.

IT WASN'T AN APP OR AN INCENTIVE

PROGRAM.

IT WAS PEOPLE TALKING TO PEOPLE

AND MOVING AN IDEA

>> Stephen: THAT'S WHAT IT'S

GOING TO TAKE FOR ME TO ACCEPT

GLOBAL WARMING.

IT ALL HAPPENED UP THERE ON THE

TOP OF THE GLOBE AND I DON'T SEE

IT HAPPEN.

VERY THEORETICAL TO ME.

BUT IF POLAR BEARS WERE GOING

DOOR TO DOOR, KNOCKING AND

SAYING EXCUSE ME, SIR, DO YOU

HAVE A MOMENT TO TALK ABOUT THE

GLOBAL WARMING CRISIS?

AND ABOUT OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST?

I THINK LISTEN.

THEY MIGHT BE ABLE TO CHANGE MY

MIND.

BUT SHORT OF THAT, ISN'T GLOBAL

WARMING A HARD SELL?

>> YES.

HERE IS AN EXACT KIND OF FLOW

IDEA BECAUSE WHAT WE HAVE TO DO

NOW IS PAINFUL TO SOLVE THESE

PROBLEMS, WHETHER IT'S A CARBON

TAX OR CONSERVATION OR ANY OF A

NUMBER OF OPTIONS FOR DEALING

WITH GLOBAL WARMING FOR THE

DELAYED GRATIFICATION OF SAVING

THE PLANET

>> Stephen: NOW YOU WRITE ABOUT

INNOVATION.

>> YEAH

Stephen: WHY WRITE ABOUT

INNOVATION IN A MAGAZINE?

( APPLAUSE )

BECAUSE I STILL BELIEVE IN BEING

ABLE TO TALK TO PEOPLE AND BE

ABLE TO CHANGE MINDS

>> Stephen: LANGUAGE IS THE

ULTIMATE SLOW IDEA.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING

ME.

[ CHEERS AND APPLAUSE ]

FROM THE NEW YORKER, DR. AHUL

HUL.

WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK.

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