On Impactio Labs, users can connect with a number of different research professionals in subject matters ranging for Artificial Intelligence (AI), to Earth Science, to Global Health and Psychology. Some of these fields are highly data driven, and deal with the research plans to carry out research that has little effect on humans. Studies related to Computer Engineering, or a research project that tests the effectiveness of new software has an impact on humans in that it makes our lives easier if computer programs run smoothly, but this research has no direct effect on the actual health of people, as it is concerned with engineering and not necessarily bodily health.
Other fields are strictly health positive fields, meaning that the outcomes of research studies are meant to have some impact, direct or indirect, on our health, and generally such positive impacts tend to garner popularity.
Taking a look on the Labs site, we can also see how different geographic distributions and research interests align. The head of a Research Lab in India is working on a project that deals with conservation science, which should not be a coincidence as South Asia is one of the most biodiverse regions of the planet, whilst India has some of the highest pollution levels on the planet. The health positivity associated with this research project involves conservation of land and animal species, and thus also has an indirect impact on humans who want to live on a planet that has some sustainability measures in place. Health positivity, with regard to regional expertise, can help individuals and communities feel complacent that something is being done in their ecosystem that is “health positive”.
The point of Research Outcomes and Health Apps
Many research outcomes with health positivity attached have been well documented. For example, it’s become common knowledge that regular cardio exercise leads to a lesser chance of developing heart disease later in life. This came from research of the cardiovascular system in general. It’s also become common knowledge that getting outdoors helps lower our blood pressure. These research outcomes are significant in themselves, but this knowledge and health positivity has also been utilized by the health and wellness economy, which is where it has become monetized and sold.
Take for example the company FitBit. Small watches sold in different colors with an appealing aesthetic and comfortable to wear, measure our daily steps taken and calories burned over an exact amount of time. Another App for iOS and Android, AllTrails, helps us find the best hiking trails nearby and is updated by health aficionados who give their feedback on certain trails at certain times of the year. Both of these technologies play into the health and wellness economy, which has become foundational because of health positive research.
Thus the interplay between the two represents the complement of research for the purpose of academic pursuit and the quest to monetize it.
Towards a Sustainable Future
This phenomenon where researchers have in effect helped entrepreneurs launch their own companies that essentially sell health outcomes is both good and bad. It helps people stay in shape and be aware of the daily “goal” they want to have in terms of how much they are walking and not being sedentary, but it also steals some thunder away from the researchers and academics.
In a way, however, health positive research should be a dual effort between academics who want to discover health positive effects of whatever issue area they are engaged in, and the marketing community who wants to monetize it. The combination of these two sectors is helping to make mobile applications for Ketogenic recipes and sunscreen that blocks UV rays while also moisturizing your skin with organic minerals.
This is the avenue that sustainability is riding along, thanks to researchers' quest to make our lives a little better.