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An Americanized British Import


Full USAcd LogoIt was just over two years ago (in Dec 2012) that I heard that employees were pledging to make healthcare better. At the Institute for Healthcare Improvement Forum in Orlando, Helen Bevan of the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) talked about being a healthcare radical. She shared that employees all over the NHS were committing to change and bringing their passion and ideas to life. Furthermore, NHS executives were celebrating and championing the ability and passion for change; instead of choosing the change that all employees would make.

It was a simple and novel approach. And I wondered how this would work in the United States. And over time, so did Tim Rawson, and Mike Lin…and Yasmin Staton and Claudia Perez. So too did Jim Rawson, Richard Corder, Debra Barrath, and Amy Woodrum…Along with Dina Piccoli, Josh Rutkoff…and….

We formed a “coalition of the willing” six months ago (August 2014) organized by the Innovation Learning Network to import NHS Change Day.

We crafted simple principles to move the work forward 4 months ago (October -2014):

  1. Keep it simple
  2. Import “as is”
  3. Make it grassroots
  4. Invite all

We jumpstarted and divvied the work 3 months ago (November 2014) splitting into technology, marketing and social, and resources.

And so just over two years ago from when I first heard about NHS healthcare employees pledging to make healthcare better, I posted my first pledge “to launch Change Day in the United States”.

Want to make your own pledge? Visit: http://usachangeday.org

And follow @USAChangeDay on Twitter.

 

Pissed Off Operating Systems: The Clash of Culture and Behavior


I’ve had the strangest experience returning to my hometown Springfield Massachusetts. I have not been back here for more than a couple of days at a time usually around the holidays.  However this trip I settled in for a full three weeks, and have noticed some odd behaviors emerging in the general population.

1)   people cross the street anywhere, anytime.  There seems to little to no fear of cars, and sometimes mothers are pushing baby carriages directly into four-lane traffic. Rarely are crosswalks used, and crossing lights used even less.

2)   many people are choosing not to use sidewalks, but instead are walking in the roads, sometimes in the middle

3)   drivers no longer pay attention to lines on the road; they have become meaningless

And this got me thinking about design, behaviors and culture.  The design of the roads, traffics and sidewalks work because culture and behaviors cooperate with the design elements to make the whole system flow.  Without culture and behaviors, the design elements are simply silly remnants of the past.  I pushed the crossing light button to cross a major thoroughfare, and was laughed at by two pedestrians who darted through the traffic. I felt really silly.

When I visited Vietnam a few years ago, I marveled at the organic-ness of city traffic. Thousands of mopeds, car and pedestrians zoomed and darted in SEEMING chaos. More time there revealed the elegance of the known behaviors.  There are social contracts that safely move a pedestrian across the street.  If you don’t know the norm, you can get hurt and hurt others.  In fact, my partner did just that by hesitating while walking across the road.

Back to Springfield: there seems to be two different cultural and behavioral systems in clash, and all with the same design elements – the old rules-based and new free-flow.  The real danger is that different operating systems are driving these different systems.  I follow the traffic lines. I am less concerned that others will “disregard” them.  I am surprised when I almost crash.

And now back to design:  how many systems in the environments that we live and work are in flux or outdated?  How many designs are simply relics that make less sense in today’s world? How can we ensure that we are paying attention to and design for these changes? For surely, culture and behaviors are not static.

I know a lot of pissed off drivers and walkers in Springfield Massachusetts.  I don’t know what the answer is, but I do know the clash between the different operating systems is really dangerous.  People are pissed.  People are dying.

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