We hosted a healthcare design conversation in a special event on twitter and in our Slack community, Designing Healthcare. Some definite themes arose over the course of four questions and roughly an hour. Participants suggested that organizations need to be more open to risk and failure without glorifying it. That a culture of design is built around multi-vocational collaboration and mutual respect. That the best work happens in small teams with realistic expectations. That speed to test and measurement of success is key in establishing the value of design.

Here are some of the highlights of the chat. We really enjoyed participating!

What does a culture of design in healthcare look like? What are the attributes?

One key factor for culture is to have the comfort to make mistakes and break things. Learning from failures is key.

— MCCFI (@MayoInnovation)

Participatory design. Both healthcare professionals and designers at the table.

— RJ Cheng (@rjcheng)

HC design culture = not with patients; Projects must be led by patients, through their lens, words, challenges.

— CancerGeek (@CancerGeek)

Embracing a mentality of simple/rough/ early/safe testing, experimenting and prototyping in HC development work

— Dennis Boyle (@dennisjboyle)

An understanding of healthcare as a total experience and understanding of who all the stakeholders are.

— Medisolutions (@_Medisolutions)


What are the best practices in BUILDING a culture of design?
Partial to perpetual ADDIE model: Assess (includes LISTENING), Design/Develop/Implement/Evaluate (COLLABORATIVELY).

— Stacey Tinianov (@coffeemommy)

Mutual respect for expertise. Skills of providers, administrators and designers must be understood and valued.

— Justin Kunkel (@justkunk) 

Persuade non-believers by proving the ROI of design in healthcare.

— Lenny Naar (@lennynaar)


WHO do you need to create a culture of design in a healthcare organization?

Designers not easily intimidated by big egos.

— Linda Cooper (@LindaLeeCooper)

Grit. You are working with providers and staff taught for over 10 yrs. to not think differently.

— MCCFI (@MayoInnovation)

Leaders that understand consciously make room and promote up-and-coming design thinkers in an organization.

— Dennis Boyle (@dennisjboyle)

People who CARE and ACT. Not about disruption for the sake of disrupting.

— RJ Cheng (@rjcheng)


What are the pitfalls to avoid in building a culture of design?

The glorification of failure. That's not the objective/end goal, it's part of the process.

— MCCFI (@MayoInnovation) August 19, 2015

Demonstrate credibility and knowledge without coming across as elitist.

— Linda Cooper (@LindaLeeCooper)

Disrupting for the sake of disrupting! Be open to the fact that sometimes the fix may be simple.

— Nina Pine (@Nina_Pine)

Culture of design may be different than culture of innovation. Being clear on definitions is important.

— Lenny Naar (@lennynaar)

Pitfall of building culture is always getting ready, never doing. Like Barbie always changing clothes, never going anywhere.

— Laura Appel (@lauradianeappel)

Discourage design-by-committee. allow small design teams to do their work. Limit review sessions to about weekly.

— Dennis Boyle (@dennisjboyle)

A lack of clear focus. Unrealistic expectations that ignore context and conditions. Don't try to change the whole world.

— Justin Kunkel (@justkunk)