Well-Being Explored at the Center for Total Health

November 08, 2011

How will a person’s sense of well-being change in the future? And how can playing a digital game help a sick or injured person heal?

Those questions will be explored this week at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Total Health

The Institute for the Future, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based non-profit research organization, is holding its Health Horizons Research Program event at the Center for Total Health today and Wednesday. Dozens of representatives from groups that sponsor the institute’s research are expected to attend the event.

Social Chocolate, a company that develops science-based digital games, is also sharing its findings as part of the event.

The Center for Total Health’s focus on immersive total health education and its expansive view of well-being is in tune with the Institute of the Future’s research on well-being.

The Institute for the Future is looking broadly at the concept of well-being, says Rod Falcon, the group’s Health Research Program Director.

“You can see health and well-being in so many areas of our lives and it’s all interconnected,” Falcon said.

The organization’s research, over the past two years, has focused on thinking about health and well-being not just as a market trend, or just from an individual experience, but as an interconnected ecosystem. People’s bodies, networks and environments are all part of this ecosystem, according to the organization.

In order for people to understand well-being, according to the organization’s research, it is important for them to find and pursue health in everything they do – from the foods they buy, to the way they parent, and to the way they live and work in their environments.

The presentation from the institute will specifically address research on the future of well-being and four possible ways people could experience well-being in 2021, according to Falcon.

While Wednesday’s presentations on the organization’s research will be an invitation-only event, today’s talk on a health-focused digital game will be held during a public reception.

Sean Baenen, interim chief executive officer of digital game company Social Chocolate, will be the keynote speaker at the public reception.

Baenen will discuss SuperBetter, the company’s new game that seeks to turn everyday folks into superheroes for health. Baenen, a leading mind in the new media world with engagements at Health 2.0, the Federal Communications Commission, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the World Economic Forum, will lead a demo of the game and share early results of the first closed beta tests.

The game, developed by Social Chocolate, provides game-play to harness the science of positive emotions, social connections and behavior change for better heath.

Baenen describes SuperBetter as a “recovery adventure game” and “social platform that allows people to recruit their friends, family and physicians as allies in their quest for better health.”

SuperBetter was the brainchild of Jane McGonigal, author of the book Reality is Broken and Research Director of Game Research & Development for the Institute for the Future.

The Institute for the Future’s research and the SuperBetter game both leverage the power of creative thinking and imagination, according to the institute.

Watch a demonstration of SuperBetter here.

 –Kathleen Haley

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