Outsider Thinking: What Science Can Learn From Art

Just as artists are using technology to enable participation, doctors need to do that too.

"When I told my uncle who is a doctor that I’m speaking at TEDMED," says the artist Raghava KK, his uncle was dumbfounded. "Has the profession suffered some cardiovascular attack?" he asked.


Not at all, Raghava replied. "Art and science are not that different." After all, they both tend to involve staring at naked bodies a lot." According to Raghava, art and science are not competing entities, but compliment each other. At TEDMED 2013, Raghava will be speaking about how brainwave technology can be used to "help shift biases that limit us."

So what can the field of medicine learn from Raghava's art?

Just as Raghava wants the spectator to be an active participant, he also says that doctors need "to leave the white spaces" for their patients to "take ownership of their health, take ownership of their wellbeing." Just as Raghava and other artists are using technology to enable participation, he says doctors need to do that too. 

What's the Big Idea?

This is a prime example of outsider thinking, or the idea that "the outside is also the inside," as Raghava puts it. While the various professions have an ingrained habit of constructing boundaries around themselves, an "outsider" point of view can not only break down these barriers but also pave the way for innovation across seemingly unrelated fields that are actually trying to accomplish the same thing. 

The video below is the first in a special series co-curated by Big Think and TEDMED featuring people with the audacity to imagine and create a better future in health and medicine.

Watch the video here:

Image is Untitled from Raghava KK's Epic Recital Collection

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