Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Best of Both the Worlds

Interventional X-Rays and cycling tracks; Digital Pathology and footpaths; Beehives and MRI; Healthcare Informatics Solutions and Services (HISS) and sheep. These pairs do seem a little odd, don't they? But it all makes sense if you are talking about the Royal Philips facilities at Best in The Netherlands.

Best is a town near Eindhoven - the birthplace, and for a long time the headquarters, of Philips. It is home to the MRI and Interventional X-ray (IXR) systems made by Philips. The facilities are a clutch of buildings in a sprawling area just outside Best.

Some time ago a team in Best took up the job of making the surroundings closer to nature. One of the initiatives was to get a shepherd to bring his flock twice or thrice a week. The sheep eat the grass and weeds keeping them under check. Their droppings provide the manure to enrich the soil. This also brings a touch if the rustic to the Hi-Tech facilities.

I really don't know the exact sequence of events, but soon they had a beekeeper set up a beehive. When it grew large enough they had him set up a second one. These activities have attracted butterflies to the area.

In a related incident, a colleague parked his car and went into the buildings to work. That day, the beekeeper was establishing a new hive - transferring a queen bee to the new hive. The worker bees who wanted to follow that settled on this colleague’s car, perhaps attracted by the shiny spots. He was dropped home by a colleague who also brought him to work the next day. No one wanted to disturb the bees just for the sake of taking one's car home.

They also changed the route taken by the trucks which deliver parts and ship equipment out so that they do not cross the cycling and walking paths and are limited to only one side of the area. Similarly, the cars are limited to a certain area.

What I find extraordinary about this is that this is as it should be, but we find it extraordinary. Nowadays Hi-Tech and nature, 'development' and the environment, are artificially pitted against one another. Trees, forests and water bodies are under threat. If you so much as raise an objection and suggest alternatives you are called anti-progress and worse.
Isn't there something for everyone all over the world to learn from this?

Concerned as I am with the possible fate of Kukkarahalli Kere in Mysore, the story of Best impressed and left me with a longing for a little more care and concern from everyone towards preserving what is precious! 


My colleagues from Best generously provided me with information and photographs and allowed me to use them for my blog. I thank all of them for their generosity. 

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