IDEO Inspiration

Ideo is a (beyond) cool company that helps organizations think strategically about design.  IDEO’s Method Cards provide insight (and help) into what they do and may allow you to add design components to your next project:

Hat tip: Dan Pink

In: Design Excerpt

From The New York Times:

“What designers do really well is work within constraints, work with what they have,” said Paola Antonelli, senior curator of architecture and design at the Museum of Modern Art. “This might be the time when designers can really do their job, and do it in a humanistic spirit.”

In the lean years ahead, “there will be less design, but much better design,” Ms. Antonelli predicted.

There is a reason she and others are optimistic: however dark the economic picture, it will most likely cause designers to shift their attention from consumer products to the more pressing needs of infrastructure, housing, city planning, transit and energy.

May I politely suggest adding health care to the list?  The article goes on to say, “Designers are good at coming up with new ways of looking at complex problems…”

Complex health care is.

Design: Engage the patients!

A pair of British innovation consultancies are putting design to work improving health care—both involve asking (potential) patients for their input.

The Engine Group asked individuals in a number of vulnerable populations what kind of health care services they would use and then co-designed those services:

The findings showed that all the groups shared simple needs, mainly concerned with emotional, social and low level mental health issues. The findings also indicated a lack of trust towards the NHS in general, although the stakeholders were able to identify an individual with whom they had a productive relationship. The resulting service suggestion ‘Open Door’ emerged from this work. It was built around a place of safety – somewhere warm, safe and non-judgemental – where a variety of services are designed to address peoples needs. Different touchpoints were developed to increase access, so that the user groups could begin to better manage their health.

Live|Work comments on a recent report by the National Health System outlining the need for a new approach: High quality care for all.  Its gist: health care gets personal.  Live|Work says:

The move from quantity of services to quality of services involves switching attention from the productive capability of the NHS machine (how many cancer patients can we treat with these resources?) to the ability of NHS services to meet the needs of patients and the public (how can we support the health needs of each and every person in Britain in a timely manner?).

What is needed is a new way of thinking about services that starts with the individual not the organisation. We call this Service Thinking.

Service Thinking presents a major challenge. It requires a new type of engagement with patients and the public. And it means NHS staff handing over some of the control to patients.

Our experience at live/work, working with NHS trusts and the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement, is that engaging patients in the design of services is particularly challenging because of the past focus on increasing the quantity of services.

Engage thy patients!  Their input propels design.

d2009: Green Predictions

Inhabitat asked a host of experts their predictions for green design in 2009.  Some interesting quotes applicable to the coming melding of the design and health care delivery worlds:

Allan Chochinov:

In 2009 I think we’re going to see an explosion of Service Design around the world. Many firms are already practicing it, but it will take on a new urgency as more and more people recognize service as the new product.

Sarah Rich:

This means that designers will be working with new ideas around the relationships between people and their stuff, placing greater focus on longevity and durability, take-back programs and renewability, and hopefully on ways to place community at the center, using social networks and human relationships to be sure people have what they need.

Piers Fawkes:

In our new book Good Ideas for 2009 we talk about the concept of ‘Design For Change’ which argues that we should design for our changing world. Staying flexible, accepting new ideas and plans, and acknowledging that things never stay the same allow us the space to work with interesting new possibilities instead of fighting them. If we can see events unfolding on the horizon, we can be ready to take full advantage of them rather than blindly reacting when they come pounding on our door.

d2009: RED’s Open Health

For whatever reason (it must be government provided health care) the United Kingdom has taken the lead in injecting design thinking into health care delivery.

Waaaaaayy back in 2004 the Design Council in the United Kingdom started a project called RED to address social and economic problems through innovation led by design.  Open Health is RED’s solution to modernizing the National Health Service and aligning its service offerings with the patient needs:

By 2010, one in ten of us will have diabetes. By 2030, the incidence of chronic disease in over 65s will more than double. Current NHS spending on diabetes alone stands at £10 million every day. And yet about 90% of healthcare takes place in the home.

Chronic disease and conditions related to an unhealthy lifestyle have reached epidemic proportions and are rising still. This presents a momentous challenge for our current healthcare system.

Improving existing services is not the answer. Preventative approaches to health mean radical changes in our individual lifestyles – eating well, exercising more, self-managing chronic conditions. These changes can’t be delivered through hospitals and GPs surgeries alone. We need to design new types of services that tap into people’s motivations and relate to their daily lives.

Read the entire RED pdf report for the specifics.

2009: Design!

Bill Hollins:

Many senior managers involved in the service sector are still unaware of the benefits that design can bring to their offerings and, as a result, many organisations are operating at a sub-optimum level.

Mounting economic pressures combined with a gloomy 2009 outlook make innovative design investments for health care organizations seem silly.  Au contraire.  Mr. Hollins writes:

Only recently have managers in organisations involved in the service sector realised that a conscious effort in applying design techniques to services can result in greater customer satisfaction, greater control over their offerings and greater profits.

From the International Herald Tribune:

The economic crisis has also squashed any lingering doubts about the urgency of finding new ways to address acute social problems more efficiently – from caring for the expanding elderly population, to improving the management of over-stretched health care services. This newfound realism is already benefiting the emerging breed of “social designers.” (bold and italics mine)

Your job in 2009 (if you truly consider yourself a health care transformer) is to fully comprehend the concept of design and the power it holds for improving our health care system.  By no means am I a design expert in the traditional sense; but design excites the heck out of me.  New thinking (ideas…solutions…execution…) is required in a time (this year…next year…the year following…) of significant transition through a difficult operating environment.

That said, we all need tools to help expand our thinking and diversify our perspectives.  Throughout the entirety of 2009 (upon occasion) our own system will supply design-minded information focused upon aiding this quest.  Thoughtful debate is always welcomed.

Here is the start: a couple of definitions worth more exploration.

Service Design (from Wikipedia) “is the activity of planning and organizing people, infrastructure, communication and material components of a service, in order to improve its quality, the interaction between service provider and customers and the customer’s experience.”

Social Design (from Wikipedia) is “a design process that contributes to improving human well-being and livelihood.”

Here’s to a designfull 2009!