First Person Design for Healthcare Innovation

Peter Jones Wu Wei

As I’ve continued to develop material for the Design for Care project, I’m struck by the difference between design for practice and design for individual health-seeking. In designing for practice, ethnographic research and work domain analysis enable us to understand the range of activities and scope of work performed in professional work.  A rigorous analysis of an activity system enables us to design services and information products that fit the work practice and cultures of use. Professional work is highly  consistent, at least within institutions. As with other high-hazard, complex skilled work, healthcare practice is regulated by law and professional societies. While we can study medical and patient care practices in situ and on paper analysis, we will usually never design in the first person. We, design researchers, are not health professionals. And when we are, as many physicians by training are professional informatics specialists, we must separate our personal interaction needs from those of the designated practice being designed for. Designers must always maintain a cognitive on-guard system to ensure we don’t “go native” and believe we have the …

Who will we be when Design grows up?

Peter Jones Wu Wei

The new year often finds blogs and commentators concerned with the memes and themes of the oncoming era hurtling toward us. Participating as I do in the more “abstract” design communities (e.g., experience, anthro, service design, strategic innovation, interaction, information architecture) I observe a lot of unproductive self-definition.  This takes the form of pronouncements about what a certain field is or is becoming, and why we we ought to care. To be charitable, we might view these discussions as a socially-adapted process of guiding disciplinary evolution. To be less charitable, when I compare design’s disciplinary development with the mature fields I work closely with (in my design research), I have to wonder whether we’re up to the job. Take a strategic view of Design (and I don’t mean business or competitively strategic, or strategic as in winning).  Strategic also means the capacity to imagine the broader unfolding of the consequences of interventions and emergence toward a desired horizon of some, but not all, possibilities. Let’s ask, who do we really desire to be when we grow up? Because grow up …

The exquisite artfulness of new business design

Peter Jones Innovation, Wu Wei

I’m holding a physical copy of most the inspiring, wonderfully visual and tactile business book ever written and produced. Because this self-published book was designed, not so much edited, the end result is both visual spectacular and readily understandable. Business Model Generation, by Alex Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur, and designed by Toronto’s own Alan Smith (of The Movement) is billed as A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers.The design and physical awesomeness of this book shows why eBooks will never eliminate the printed book, especially the craft book. There is nothing more cognitively usable than a beautiful book. And Business Model Generation stands with or beats Taschen’s best craft books. This is the actual cover art, 1/4 cardboard with a flat lay binding: The book was uniquely co-created (contributed to) by me and 469 other paying members of the BMG Hub book community, an innovative and experimental business model for the book’s production. The book review and contribution community is a model I’ve since used (without the paying part) for the book Design for Care (now > 200 members …

Innovating as if your Future Depended on it.

Peter Jones Innovation, Wu Wei

So we’re in an everlasting downturn and nobody is really sure what’s next in store for any industry, newspapers, broadcast, publishing, financial, automotive, retail, construction, food production, energy, healthcare. If the rational, reasonable Western world is in such a fit of uncertainty, we clearly need to be innovating our way forward. Designers have always been up to this task, although we often are not asked. Henry Dreyfuss started his design office during the Depression, and was never wanting for transformative projects. His work defined the look of that bold era. And George Nelson was quoted in June’s Metropolis as having said: “Design is returning humanity to society. If design doesn’t work for people, then there isn’t much point in doing it. I’m not so much interested in designing things as I am systems. That is what is important.” So what will our design legacy be for the post-millennial “long emergency?” Booz delivers a set of 6 guidelines on sustaining innovation for senor management, Innovating through The Downturn: A Memo to the Chief Innovation Officer. “Yet, past history also shows that …