No, this is a not about Austin Powers. This is about the tiny little things that cause us to move through our days seamlessly. They are our little patterns and rituals that make our complex lives seem almost mindless. Here is how I get to the gym each morning: I wake up at 4:45am. I brush my teeth. I put my gym clothes on. I drink protein. If I do these four “things”, it is almost assured that I will get to the gym and have a great workout. Forget one, and chances are I won’t make it to the gum. For me the final commitment that I am really doing this is the chugging of my protein drink. One time I forgot, and halfway to the gym I turned the car around and went home back to go back to sleep. What a powerful little sequence!
These little “things” I do are behaviors, and I spent the last 48 hours studying them with Behavior Design guru, BJ Fogg. (If you don’t know who he is, you should. ). In his behavior bootcamp he gave me and my team a new lexicon to more precisely define, analyze and design. For several years we used product design methods to solve our complex challenges, and it was a bit like trying to throw a baseball with big fat mittens on. The past two years, we incorporated service design techniques, and that moved us from mittens to gloves. My guess is that adding behavior design will allow the gloves to come off, and we’ll be able to throw the damn baseball with speed and efficiency.
Please don’t mistake this posting as a complaint with methods. We learned the right things at the right time. Each layering of method, prepared us for the next deeper level. But how exciting when you feel the clicks and sparks of connection. More to come on our behavior design journey….
Dr. Evil: Are those sharks with laser beams attached to their heads?
Scott Evil: [nods]
Dr. Evil: Cool! You mean that I actually have frickin’ sharks with frickin’ laser beams attached to their frickin’ heads?
And THIS has everything to do with how we design new stuff, try new stuff and make new stuff stick. Being playful invites people to make mistakes, to roll around and tumble with new ideas, and to figure out how to make this important stuff work in important moments. Being playful and messy has been my teams mantra these past several weeks as several hospitals kickoff implementing some of our newest innovations. It’s amazing how disarming/charming being playful can be, morphing the painful process of “implementing a new system” to “tumbling to the finish line”. Which would you rather do?
Asses up, paws out!
Everyone who participated shared similar thoughts…mostly amazement at the choices we were forced to make, and how complicated the safety net was. It built a whole lot of sympathy, and more importantly got the room thinking on how services might be more seamless, timely and precise. And that is what a good simulation should do.
Simulations can hard to pull off. This one provided three nuggets on how to make them better:
What are your nuggets?