Published: 21-06-2023 09:09 | Updated: 21-06-2023 09:11

Inspiration from KI researchers

The Inspiration Day 2023 had the theme "Brain, heart, body - how to equip ourselves to face a changing and challenging world". The purpose of the day was to strengthen the feeling of "One KI" and provide insights into some of the exciting research and education of KI. Hopefully the event will become annual.

Portrait photo of Jessica Norrbom, Maria Ahlsén, Predrag Petrovic, Walter Osika
Jessica Norrbom, Maria Ahlsén, Predrag Petrovic, Walter Osika Foto: n/a

The inspiration day was opened by Rector Annika Östman Wernerson who reminded us that KI is us - together - everyone. In a personal conversation between her, Pro-Rector Martin Bergö and University Director Veronika Sundström, we got to know our new management. The conversation ranged from their respective backgrounds to their priorities and responsibilities at work to their hobbies. Annika noted that the management has very similar views on leadership and priorities, and has already found good forms of cooperation. Dialogue and listening is one of their priorities, but she emphasized that it is not about "ordering change" from management. Those who want change need to contribute to it themselves, and not get stuck in the back seat.

The lectures by the researchers are documented here.
Here is a short version: 

Stronger and healthier - how?

Jessica Norrbom, FyFa and Maria Ahlsén, MedS talked about health and sustainability related to exercise and diet. Headlines about diet and health can scare many people. But not all research carries the same weight. Meta-analyses and umbrella reviews gather results from many studies and therefore carry more evidence than for example animal tests. So always check the sources behind scary headlines. One very verified link is between inactivity and the risk of premature death - but you can compensate your sitting. The correlation between physical activity and reducing premature death is a rising curve from doing nothing to doing a little and so on. Those who don't move at all get huge benefits from moving for just ten minutes. Some persistent dietary myths were also dispelled by Norrbom and Ahlsén. As far as we know today, energy drinks cannot cause caffeine poisoning, and sweeteners are not dangerous.

KI is like soccer

Predrag Petrovic, CNS, drew parallels between KI and team sports, specifically football. Predrag got the chance to test the cognitive properties of some of the world's best football players - Xavi and Iniesta in Barcelona. They were better in all cognitive tests than the normal population but have completely different profiles. Xavi is superior in absorbing information while Iniesta is superior in creative processing. Individual cognitive profiles are thus interesting for collaboration. Related research shows how brains cooperate in groups with different personalities, in the doctor-patient relationship, and that the health of entire populations is affected by the economic situation of the country. This may also be true for smaller groups than nations, such as KI. As Rector Annika Östman Wernerson says - KI is us.

Preventing and managing fatigue

Walter Osika, NVS, spoke about how we can go from everyday chaos to flow. More stress than we can handle can lead to fatigue. Not just workload, but all the stressful impressions such as clutter, insecurity, noise and lack of time. The major challenges the world is facing right now, such as species extinction and climate change, are of course also stressful, as are the many messages about what you should do for the sake of sustainability. When protective factors such as sleep, friends and exercise are taken away, there is a risk of a stress collapse. Mapping out what in your life right now that stresses, buffers and motivates you can help, as can spending time in nature. It makes people age and stress less, get depressed less and sleep better. Why? Fewer and different stimuli, less room for social comparison and, for most people, distance from work and other chores makes it easier for us to put things in perspective.

Get the full documentation from the lectures here.

The Inspirational day was organised on behalf of the management, by the departments of HR and Communication, and Education and Learning. Moderators were Lotta Fylking and Maria Deckeman.