“Dad, what’s the most dangerous animal?”. Now this is a a good question for a Dad who runs a data science business focusing on human health and well-being, because helping people identify and quantify risk so they stay alive (and healthy!) is what we do. At HeadUp Labs, we’re really good helping people identify what their big risks are. But what are the biggest risks to your kids? It’s not something like heart attacks or strokes… so, what is it? Hint: it’s something much bigger.
Here’s a term that I recently learned that’s worth knowing: a micromort. Unless you’re an actuary or have swallowed a dictionary, you probably haven’t come across this term before. I only know it due to spending the last couple of years absorbing myself in the world of insurance, and it’s worth knowing—and not just for potential Scrabble points. We love the saying “one in a million”, but we’re not that great at perceiving and understand risk… even in a global pandemic.
Working backwards from an extrinsic end goal doesn’t work. Instead, the key to successful population health is understanding how people think and feel, where changing this then naturally changes their behavior. For instance, don’t implement recycling quotas, but instead educate on why recycling is important (because we all love polar bears).