Crossing Borders With #PinkSocks

Post written by Simona R.

Three decades ago, my newly married cousin suddenly disappeared. Weeks passed by until we finally received the news that she had safely made it to Italy and she was US-bound. The newlywed couple had illegally crossed the borders of communist Romania, risking their lives in the process and protecting ours by not mentioning a single word. A silent escape made of love.

We have all crossed many borders, perhaps in less remarkable ways: we crossed country borders on our travels, we #GSD at work while bypassing rules that often border irrationality; we pushed boundaries in personal relationships. Over the last 3 decades the world has changed immensely. Walls collapsed, limits were challenged, and we became more liberated than ever before.

Borders are dispersing in medicine too. Take for example telemedicine: in only 2 years, one healthcare organization is planning to see more patients virtually than in the office. Co-creating solutions in healthcare means patients don’t have to cross the ED doors; it also expands roles in healthcare allowing workers to find purpose and joy in their work again. Open design is already proving there are no limits to accessing solutions to real patient problems; we can now adapt and apply them anywhere in the world. In the near future, borders are being redrawn on how patient data is accessed and blockchain will be the platform for healthcare transactions.

In healthcare organizations, remaining cubicle walls are collapsing too. New paradigms are challenging expired structures; people take charge of their work and organize freely. Call them corporate rebels, rebels at work, school for health and care radicals, pink socks tribes. Working out loud is now the moral obligation; communication and sense making is not found in company memos but by creating a shared reality. Social media platforms are now turning outliers into influencers.

In the race with the expanding technology, we are looking ahead, around us, at each other. The touchpad of our phones and tablets feel like home, and we find the touch of another hand’s strange, even uncomfortable. We avoid eye contact, fascinated by the ever-changing screens around us. Humanity crossed many borders, but the invisible ones remain.

That’s why it’s the perfect time to have a man in kilt gifting pink socks to a stunned audience. In the current political and economical context, walls are creeping up again, scarier than ever before.  To some of us, the reminder to tell each other “I see you” and touch someone’s hand is the equivalent of a terrified person crossing the border illegally. But it doesn’t have to be like this. Borders are what we make them of.

My cousin? Happily living the American Dream in PDX. She crossed her borders and still crosses invisible ones, like all of us. The message is timeless, and it’s all on us:

Love more,  fear less.

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