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Service Design

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ILN Insights Magazine: the Blurry (R)evolution Issue


Insights Vol.8

Get your Insights copy here ==>  goo.gl/1AOspQ

Director’s Message

I ended last year’s ILN director’s message with “The year ahead of us promises to be exciting and turbulent. If ever there was a time that innovation and design are needed, it’s now.” Little did we know how exciting and how turbulent, nor how much innovation and design are still needed. We spent most of the year with an anxious anticipation for the ACA Exchanges. And their launch was messy to say the least. Big change and big innovation are messy, but this also points to the lesson we all know well: fail early to succeed sooner.

So 2013 for the ILN was a year of experimentation, with little failures guiding us to bigger success. The Spring InPerson hosted by Boston University and the Center for Integration of Medicine and Innovative Technology (CIMIT) is a great example. We learned from past meetings that the basic Open Space format is great, but there was something missing to jolt the work to the next level. And so, we added seed funding distributed by crowdsourcing. The jolt was felt. Via experimentation the theme of (R)evolution inspired three projects to move forward. You can explore one of these (r)evolutionary projects on page 80.

The experimentation continued with the Autumn InPerson co-hosted by the UCLA Institute for Innovation in Health and the Center for Care Innovations. This meeting’s experiment was size. Just how big can an ILN InPerson get and still be meaningful? Over 160 attendees proved that bigger is sometimes better. It also was fitting that our theme was Blur. Although it was intended to suggest the disappearing line between care and life (and wow, were there some cool ideas!), it also doubled as an inflection point for ILN InPerson Meetings. The ILN meetings are getting big. Do we constrain them or open them up? It’s blurry. There are no right answers. But we have some surprises in store for 2014 and 2015. Stay tuned.

And so here is to celebrating the blurry, the unknown, and the experiments; it’s where great things live.

Yours in innovation,

Chris McCarthy

Oh Behave!


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….

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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?

The Play Bow


The Man of Play: Barry Kudrowitz

I had the good fortune to see Barry Kudrowitz share his insights on how play can/should influence every step of the design process. And the myriad of games that just might stimulate different phases of your work from Pictionary & Apples to Apple to Legos and Taboo, each triggers different (and happy) insights. Perhaps my favorite moment was his explanation and demonstration of the Canine play-bow. The play-bow is the playful pose that dogs use to invite other dogs for a rough and tumble play fight. Ass in air, front paws jetted straight out…which of course resembles a bow. And then the dogs are at it! Rolling, romping and……learning. Learning what works and what doesn’t in the very important function of a fight. Seeing a grown man demonstrate this on stage if far more hilarious… both ways, whether man or dog its fun to watch, and you can really feel the “playfulness” barrel through.

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!

Playful and Messy


Christine Richter and Chris McCarthy being playful and messy. 😉

Christine Richter and I just finished presenting a very special WebEx on KP’s innovative nurse shift change called Nurse Knowledge Exchange Plus (NKEplus). The format of the WebEx was a new feature of the Innovation Learning Network to help diffuse innovation across systems. This blog post is not about that, but about one question that really caught my attention:

“what special skills does your group bring to implementation? Meaning what would we be missing if we tried to implement without you?”

The answer is “being playful and messy”. Too often when implementing new stuff, the “serious factor” rises exponentially. There is pervading sense that all must go right and tolerance for the imperfection plummets. And this is exactly what we combat when we implement new ideas. We try to help the end user and management take on a playful and messy attitude. Get them to smile, laugh and stumble….laugh again, and get it a little more right. Official permission for playfulness goes a long way: stress is reduced, and users become more perfect, faster.
So give it at try. You will be amazed at the serious results from being truly playful.

(and smile).

For those of you interested in implementing NKEplus you can signup and get more info here: http://goo.gl/FhwW8

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