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Design, DesignThinking, Human-Centered Design, Innovation, Transformation

(Some) Takeaways on Innovation Capability Building


It comes down to the human experience, passion and real needs. My three takeaways from an evening conversation between Edward Boudrot of Optum, Adam Dole of Better and myself of KP’s Innovation Consultancy/ILN hosted by Continuum’s Augusta Meill in Boston on June 2.

(See Continuum’s Summary of the event here.)

Impressive was Edward’s exploration of people and empathy at Optum and his Fusion! method. One element is “building passion”, and how the very nature of connecting to the human experience is the call to action for change.  Rapid change from rapid experimentation, causing a shift from old-fashioned product management to the more progressive experience management.  He is pushing on virtuous cycles.  His tip: Be tenacious for the possible.

Adam of Better fills a gap that most of healthcare refuses to adequately address.  For a small fee, Better provides a personal health assistant to help navigate the complexity of getting, receiving and paying for care.  Adam is optimizing the healing/wellness experience. He created a product that addresses a real deep need. I particularly love his singular focus of need and use of design to create a superior service. The first audience question was a concern that this would not be affordable to all. The real question, is why can’t mainstream healthcare deliver this? Until then, Better is here.

I explored how to accelerate innovation and uptake of ideas from a human-centered design lens; uniting design research and minimum specifications. For example, with our nurse shift change innovation, the tools used to discover the need were repackaged so that at each implementation the unit nurses could rapidly (re)discover the need for themselves. Then using minimum specs, they could jumpstart fitting the solution into their environment. It’s a longer upfront cost but tied to longer-term value as the solutions are stickier.

One point of clarification about employee innovation capability building trainings: organizations should not solely rely on this for transformation. It is a piece of the transformation puzzle. It does amp up improvement activities in a big way, and lays the foundation for participating in bigger change efforts.  Paired with other puzzle pieces, like honest-to-goodness design teams, clear strategic direction, and end-to-end idea “mentoring”, the puzzle of innovation capability becomes clearer.

And so the evening ended with far more concordance than expected.  Although, how can you go wrong with the human-experience as your focus, passion as your driver, and real needs as your compass?

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