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Jane Chen's Google Talk: How To Bring A Good Idea To Life [VIDEO]
Health | December 05, 2012

Jane Chen's Google Talk: How To Bring A Good Idea To Life [VIDEO]

In a moving Google Talk, Jane Chen asks the audience to close their eyes and imagine what they could fit into their two hands. Perhaps an apple or a set of keys, she suggests. Then she asks them to open their eyes and to imagine being able to fit a human life into their two hands—and informs them that millions of babies are born that small every year. Her company, Embrace, is trying to help those premature babies survive. And she's doing it at 1% of the cost of traditional methods. What started as a project when she was at Stanford has since transformed into a viable social enterprise that is manufacturing infant incubators for those in developing countries who cannot afford traditional infant warmers (which cost upwards of $20,000 USD). Since regulating body temperature is near impossible for premature babies due to their low body fat, a low-cost baby incubator can save the lives of many children around the world.

In the talk, Chen outlines the design process that she and her co-founders relied on to develop the infant warmer. The process involves understanding the problem, observing it in the field, defining the problem at hand, ideating what to do about the problem, then finally creating a prototype. Defining the problem, she says, is the most important part of the process because it really paves the way for development. Since the cost of traditional incubators is so high, and they require such a high quantity of electricity to operate, she says many rural areas are not able to use this technology. And these areas, she explains, are where the majority of babies are dying. Many people are forced to use extremely unsafe and ineffective methods to keep their babies warm—from holding them over hot coals to strapping hot water bottles to their bodies to holding them under light bulbs. After witnessing these methods being used firsthand, Chen and her team developed a more effective way to solve the problem: a sleeping bag type product that regulates body temperature for up to eight hours and is powered by boiling water.

Her revolutionary product has earned the TED Fellow designation as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, and she was recently profiled by the Dove Real Role Model campaign and featured on numerous media outlets. Her talks are equal parts moving and informative. She shows audiences how to map out global problems and find simple and meaningful solutions to combat them—changing the world in the process.
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