What lies behind the idea of wearing extravagant pink socks decorated with moustache motifs? An interview with Nick Adkins, Co-Founder at Pinksocks Life.
Could you please explain what precisely the pinksocks movement is?
The pinksocks movement empowers people from all walks of life to connect with anyone, anywhere, by creating a global tribe of pinksocks-wearing people who are focused on empathy, caring, and love. The movement had been de-commoditised from its beginning in 2015 – all pinksocks are gifts. Every connection made between the gift giver and recipient is based on an authentic relationship, not a transaction. It’s a bunch of happy smiley people all around the world who like to give hugs!
You co-founded Pinksocks Life in 2015. How has your life changed since then?
I have had the opportunity to see and share space with lots of amazing people around the world who have shared so many beautiful stories full of heartspeak. The pinksocks movement was never planned, it grew organically from people gifting pinksocks around the globe to celebrate the good things they were doing in their communities.
I regularly meet proud pinksocks-wearing people at the digital health conferences. Is there a connection between pinksocks and healthcare disruptive technologies?
Andrew Richards and I first began gifting pinksocks at the HIMSS annual conference in 2015. We gifted 100 pairs of pinksocks in Chicago then, and we had absolutely no idea that a year later, it would grow into a global movement. Pinksocks is a paradox. It’s a movement made up of multiple missions, and it’s not about any one thing. Early on, it was easy to associate pinksocks with healthcare disruption, patient empowerment, empathy, the digital revolution, quality, etc. since so many of the conferences we attended were focused on health care. Pinksocks continues to represent whatever the tribe wants it to represent. Some organisations use pinksocks to help drive awareness for breast cancer screening, dementia care, feeding hungry children, helping the homeless, rare disease research, mental health, ergonomics, nursing, etc. Gratefully the common theme of the pinksocks movement has never strayed from its core theme that we’re all centred around kindness and connection.
Why do you believe and support digitalisation in healthcare? What does convince you?
There’s so much awesome technology already in use today. It’s frustrating to attend conferences or read things on social media where people are still holding on to the idea that digitalisation is some future event. We all carry our phones with us every day. We’re attached to them. Think of all of the technology in our hands that we use in our personal lives. To believe that the power of that hi-tech isn’t or can’t be utilised in healthcare is a fallacy. It’s already happening thanks to companies like Philips, Apple, Bayer, CloudBreak Health, and many others.
After working in marketing and business development, you changed the course to healthcare. Why?
My first job out of college was selling surgical supplies and instruments in 1988. I went back to business school and earned my MBA in 1994 and went to work at the Vanderbilt Health Plans. Through the years, I worked my way to becoming COO of a couple of healthcare companies. My last job was as a co-founder of a health tech startup that created the world’s first open API for secure video file management. In the spring of 2019, the pinksocks movement became a nonprofit organisation titled Pinksocks Life Inc., and I spend all my time now overseeing and promoting awareness of the movement.
Among many activities, you are a board member of doc.ai, AI-powered medical research companion app. How, in your opinion, can AI change healthcare?
AI is changing healthcare and will only continue to do so exponentially. One of my favourites AI companies – besides doc.ai – to watch at the moment is a startup out of New Zealand called Soul Machines. They are currently being used in the automotive and financial services industries. Once they move into healthcare, they will be a game-changer in the way we interact with the “system”. Think Siri or Alexa on steroids. A combination of AI, deep cognitive computing, NLP, facial recognition, affect analysis. The use cases in healthcare are going to be fascinating.
What kind of healthcare in the future do you dream about?
Lots of personalised medicine, remote monitoring, video visits, predictive diagnoses, and virtual assistants. Going in for a visit to the doctor’s office will become a rarity. It already is.
And how do you imagine pinksocks movement in 5 years?
I wake up each day and follow the pinksocks hashtag on Twitter, and I have my mind blown, seeing all the good things that people are doing around the world. It’s fun to see everyone celebrate each other re the things they are doing to make the world a better place. Life is happening right now right here. Don’t miss it! If there are hundred thousand people around the world today in the pinksocks tribe who are creating one, two, five, ten, fifty smiles each day, think of the exponential ripple effect and the good energy sent into the universe. Projecting the math out five years is simply too mind-boggling to do!
Nick Adkins is a key speaker at XPOMET – 360° Next Generation Healthcare Festival, 10th-12th October 2019, Berlin. If you want to get your pair of pink socks, join the event! Program & tickets: www.xpomet.com