The Big Bold Future


Wow. The Autumn 2011 Innovation Learning Network InPerson Meeting was a chaotic magical dream state. I am not quite sure if I’ve woken back up. 150 innovators and leaders from around the country gathered to build the future of healthcare. The theme was complex yet simple: connected health. And it encompassed broad reaching policies and deep, yet to be developed technologies.

We sent the innovators on an innovation safari on Day 1 to fifteen extraordinary SFBay organizations. We exposed them to 10 super cool technologies and concepts in a progressive lunch (we paired finger foods with technology…and wow was that a cool way to learn!). And then we gave six hours to brainstorm and prototype healthcare in 2031.

From SmartBathrooms and SmartSupermarkets, to a Healthcare Political Party and friendly cloud computing the future were as brilliant as they were diverse. All gave us a glimpse of what we know is to come.

Now the hard work: dragging 2031 as fast as we can to the present. Our innovators will coalesce around the most promising ideas, the ones were passion is high and collaboration is needed….and do something about it. Stay Tuned!!

Finally a special thanks to my home Kaiser Permanente and to my dear friends the California Healthcare Foundation. We co-hosted and sponsored this event.

Touch the Insight Part 1

We’re trying something totally new (for us) and totally cool (to us). Rather than prototyping solutions (which is the norm), we are prototyping insights. Same pathway, very different outcome. Solution pathways are meant to solve the problem or create new business opportunities. Insight pathways are meant to assist an organization in deeply understanding the issues they face.

Insights are pieces of the design puzzle and come early in a project. They are what drive opportunity identification, ideation and “solution” prototyping. But what if the problem is so complex, so gnarly, so diffuse that even understanding the insights are challenging? Insight prototyping breaks down this complexity and allows the organization to play, ponder, and plunder the insight; stretching and twisting them into first self meaning, secondly group meaning, and finally  organizational meaning.  They are designed to foster deeper discussion and smarter action, and reduce simplistic reaction.

Now with all this praise for insight prototyping, we’re literally prototyping it. And so far so good.

So this blog is a tease.  You will have to come back for Part 2 to see if this technique is a flop, success, or something in between.  We debut our insight prototypes next week…..

My Perfectly Ugly and Incomplete Ideas

At the Global Jam, a service design challenge this past weekend, the hosts warned the contestants “don’t marry your ideas”.

Good design generally means you’ve had some honest discussion; perhaps with an impartial critic who could care less about your feelings, but does care deeply about your design’s purpose. If you are cringing at the mere notion of “could care less about your feelings” than you already are falling into the “I married my design” trap.

I am guessing that the ability to give and receive a critique is plummeting over time with the acceleration of tools that make work seem polished and complete. You type your words, build your slides, try a few things….and next thing you know you’re the on the pulpit preaching the gospel. If this is you (and this most certainly is sometimes me), we must master the skills of detachment. And we must learn how to divorce our ideas as soon as possible… if not for better design, than at least for personal self worth. You are not your ideas…

Try chanting this before your next critique: “I am beautiful and complete, my ideas may not be.”

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