Thomas Goetz

TAGS: Healthcare, Science, Technology, TED

Thomas Goetz

"Thomas was excellent. He’s very sharp, as you know, and introduced concepts that few of the CEOs had even contemplated before. Thomas was tech-savvy and fun."
-Manufacturer's Alliance for Productivity and Innovation

Thomas Goetz is an author, entrepreneur, and idea instigator. The co-founder of Iodine, a new health technology startup, and the Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, he is a sought-after authority in how design and technology can improve health and healthcare. From 2001 through 2012, Thomas steered the ship at WIRED, bringing groundbreaking ideas like big data, the genomic revolution, and the robot-driven workplace to the mainstream.

He is the author of The Remedy, out in April 2014, and of the 2010 book The Decision Tree. His TED talk on redesigning health information has been viewed more than 400,000 times. His talks are fast-paced, far-reaching, and lively explorations of big ideas that matter. “Thomas was extraordinary,” one client reported. “My clients and their guests absolutely loved him, and found him informative, amusing, and a great resource.”



  • The Invention of Innovation

    How does a scientific discovery become a social revolution? Looking at the Internet or genomics, they seem nearly contiguous – new innovations are what change society. But in truth, the path between a laboratory insight and cultural impact is long and torturous, as every scientist knows.

    In this talk, drawn from his new book, The Remedy, Goetz explores everything from the Iowa corn farming to the germ theory of disease to Sherlock Holmes to the Internet, and explores how invention is not always the same thing as innovation – and how much harder it can be to convince society than to discover science.

    He shows how what we assume to be basic human nature – such as disgust over germs – is in fact entirely learned behavior, and how our faith in science is as much driven by emotion as by reason. He also shows how we each can take hold of innovations ahead of the curve, and turn them into insights ahead of the crowd. A brain-expanding talk full of great stories and big ideas.

  • Why Design Is More Important than Data

    For the most part, people know what people should do to improve their health. We just don’t know how to convince them to do it. Brochures and guidebooks leave people cold, and health & wellness programs are intensive, expensive, and often lack evidence. So what works?

    As vexing as human behavior can be, it turns out that people not only want to engage in their health, they want to understand it – to actually track how they might take action, and to make a difference in their lives. More than just providing information, this means delivering it in a form that resonates with people, that engages them personally. And that means bringing the beauty and elegance of design thinking to healthcare.

    In this talk, Thomas draws on his years championing great design at WIRED, as well as original research he’s recently conducted at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Through powerful visualizations that resonate with individuals, as well as failed designs that left people cold, he explores three basic principles of turning important data into compelling design (evidence, relevance, and consequence). It’s an inspiring and revealing exploration of why design can be the most powerful technology of all.

  • What Healthcare Can Learn from Netflix (and LinkedIn, Yelp &

    Why is it that can predict the next book you’ll want to buy – but your doctor can’t anticipate whether you’ll actually take your medication as directed? How can Yelp guide you to the perfect restaurant for your anniversary, but a hospital can’t provide a room where you’ll actually get some sleep? The Internet has optimized almost every aspect of our lives, but the one realm where it matters most – our health – we’re largely on our own.

    Until now. Data science and information design are finally coming to healthcare, and starting to change what we should expect – as users, as consumers, as customers – of our health services. This talk explores the vanguard of analytics on the consumer internet, and explores how these tools and techniques can be applied to healthcare through three phases: Personalization, Engagement, and Prediction.

  • More Video: TED Talk

    The Remedy: Robert Koch, Arthur Conan Doyle, and the Quest to Cure Tuberculosis
    The riveting history of tuberculosis, the world’s most lethal disease, the two men whose lives it tragically intertwined, and the birth of medical science. Capturing the moment when mystery and magic began to yield to science, The Remedy chronicles the stunning story of how the germ theory of disease became a true fact, how two men of ambition were emboldened to reach for something more, and how scientific discoveries evolve into social truths. MORE →

    The Decision Tree: Taking Control of Your Health in the New Era of Personalized Medicine

    “The Decision Tree is a game changer. A brilliant synthesis of science, public health, and reporting that puts each of us at the center of our own healthcare revolution.”

    ~ David Kessler, former commissioner of the FDA, author of bestseller The End of Overeating

    In The Decision Tree, Thomas Goetz points the way. The entrepreneur in residence at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Goetz holds a Masters of Public Health degree from UC Berkeley. Bringing together compelling new science and cutting-edge technology, Goetz proposes a new strategy for thinking about our health, where individuals are at the center of the equation... MORE →


  • TED profile
  • The Atlantic Articles
  • Interview: Minnesota Public Radio
  • The Decision Tree Blog
  • @tgoetz: Follow Thomas on Twitter