Shiva Subramanian decodes the role of genetics & DNA in health design at BW Design Awards
At the BW Businessworld Future of Design Summit & Awards 2019, Connect Ventures Founder, Shiva Subramanian speaks about the ‘Art & Science of Health Design’
When we think of design we typically think of design through art and interiors or other crafts. How about our human body and design? When speaker Shiva Subramanian , Founder, Connect Ventures, went up on stage to talk about genetics and our DNA in relation to our health, the audience was curious about the design connection. At the end of the 30 minutes session on ‘Art & Science of Health Design’, it all came together.
Setting the tone for his presentation Shiva said, “Everyone in this room is 99.99 percent genetically similar and yet we have an expression that is absolutely unique to each one of you. Now, the question we have to ask is that, when we are at the epitome of our evolutionary design, why do we have diseases like cancer and diabetes? That’s a question I would like to confront today.”
Charting out the reasons that humans usually fall sick because of habits, genetics, social and environmental reasons, he explained in great depth, how the solutions rests in our hands and how the platform was engaging with users to address these problems.
“Perfect genetics like those of super models, actors and actresses that we have are a consequence of genetic momentum. What I mean by this is, their faces and their physiology is all based on the golden ratio. To get the perfect golden ratio, the environment of your grandparents and your parents must have had a positive environmental influence which includes food. Food is the information that goes into your body and is translated by your genetic blueprint.”
Explaining the importance of food, Shiva said, “If looked upon not as sustenance but information of what’s happening on the planet then it is all in the food, and also how we imbibe it, and how it interacts with our genes and microbiomes.”
Only 0.2 percent of the Indian population, he explained, is genetically mapped. So every design of any medication or X-ray or scans have no relevance to our personal DNA. Despite being an ancient race we are not designing for us. He further added, “We are doing ourselves a design disservice.”
Elaborating on Microbiomes, which was the centerpiece of his presentation, he explained how it is the ultimate symbiosis. The human body has ten trillions microbiome cells, yet we are unaware of how they influence us so much within our bodies, and how it is something no one has been designing for.
Touching upon Ayurveda, Shiva pointed out how everything is addressed from the gut. “Funnily enough, we have the most consolidated fermentation strategy but we don’t use it to actually cure ourselves. Each one of those fermented products are a cure in our hands but we have no knowledge of it.” It was due to an absence of studies in this area that Connect Ventures started an analysis on the gut microbes in India, through various case studies that brought to light interesting insights to work on.
It further led the company to create a platform called ‘Health Exchange’. With the help of technology and AI, they made the information open source, such that people could design freely around the platform with the help of all the data available on it. Consumer needs were identified and addressed with solutions. Communities were built around it to help strengthen the system further. Technology herein has helped the design process with the backing of science.
Subramanian was speaking at the second edition of the BW Businessworld Future of Design Summit & Awards 2019, held in Mumbai on October 17.
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