Concern for loved ones can be a powerful innovation tool

Politely but very insistently, the television ad asks if you or someone you know experiences nervousness and discomfort in social situations. Of course, you personally neither palpitate nor sweat in public places. But do you have a close and troubled friend who fits that description? Perhaps he or she should consider taking a special pill.

Or consider your aging parents. Their energy isn’t what it once was, and keeping in touch across time zones is increasingly awkward. Having them on e-mail would be great. Alas, they’re stubborn technophobes. You’re not confident you can reliably get them online. What should you do?

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