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Individualism isn't everything.

Creation date: Nov 24, 2021 12:02pm     Last modified date: Nov 24, 2021 12:02pm   Last visit date: Apr 20, 2024 6:03pm
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Nov 24, 2021  ( 2 posts )  
Neil Cummings (neilcummings225)

Designers working in the deep healthcare space should consider the following strategies.

A brief history of healthcare in the United States
We've long worked in the healthcare industry at Impossible, with clients ranging from Babylon Health, which uses technology to connect doctors and patients, to Samsung, which uses wearables to run specialized medical protocols, and especially Roche Pharmaceuticals, which is at the forefront of advanced medicine digitalization.

Impossible's collaborations with Roche have been numerous and varied, with some focusing on clinical care and others on medical or pharmaceutical research. I'll concentrate on the research side of things in this essay, but it doesn't mean you won't learn something even if you're not in the healthcare industry.

Medical research is a vast and complicated profession, and most people have no idea what is being done by those who labor persistently to better healthcare and, in turn, improve the lives of millions of people. It's not only difficult, but also covert, for obvious reasons. I'll be extremely cautious with the information I can provide.

Things move slowly at this level because they must be exceedingly precise and scientifically validated. We all want breakthrough remedies for all of our problems, but there isn't anything like that out there. What we have here is a methodical approach to trial and error research that puts researchers' theories to the test. These processes can take years before anything is even close to being ready for human testing, which is one of the most obvious and last milestones in the research process.

And it is for this reason that technology plays such a significant role in these disciplines. Because the process requires a level of rigor and protocol that most of us have never encountered in even the most serious work, any aspect of it that can be accelerated through software and hardware that automates steps or makes scientists' life simpler will have a significant influence.

We've influenced several of Roche's software platforms over the years, designing totally new user interaction models to not only speed up work but also reduce error. While doing UX for a cool startup may be exciting, working for a large healthcare organization with no room for error is an entirely different ballgame. And that, for one, excites me more.

In the bowels of complex healthcare systems, how do we design?

Starting a project in the field of "Deep Healthcare" can be intimidating. You can come prepared in some subjects; there's information you can do online that you can trust to get you started, but that may not be the case when dealing with human tissue specialists in an underground facility. As a result, you must put your ego aside and be humble.

Look for your teacher.

There is usually that one person who enjoys teaching, in our experience. Many scientists are also instructors, and nothing makes them happier than a new student. Begin by locating such contacts through your client and holding a kick-off meeting with them. You're seeking for the fundamentals: what does the field entail, and what is the big-picture approach that leads from hypothesis through testing to publication?

Try to figure out who the essential players are in this process; there will be dozens of them, and you won't be able to reach them all. Who are the main players at each stage who can inform you about other people's duties in addition to their own? You'll need to move on to speak with those individuals next.

This teaching figure will be your follow-up contact, so cultivate a positive relationship with them. In some situations, we discovered that Roche Product Managers were highly educated bio-scientists who served as our instructors, helping us to improve our expertise so that we could go into later interviews with stakeholders knowing what questions to ask and how to interpret the responses. Other times, those Product Managers would know exactly who in a lab could assist us in getting started and would simply assist in the construction of that bridge.

Become a "layman's expert" in your field.

Don't think of this knowledge as optional; it's crucial. While it's true that you're a designer, not a doctor, your design work will only be as excellent as your comprehension of the reality you're working in. Pay attentively, take notes, and study. Each interview will teach you something new. Have you come upon a term you've never heard before? Make a mental note of it and look it up later. That online research may not be useful at first, but if you're looking for specific information, it can be really useful.

You will become a "layman's expert" if you allow yourself to be fully absorbed in the world. Obviously not a scientist, but with enough expertise to be a valuable asset in resolving the complex challenges that plague researchers on a daily basis.

Sure, little usability testing, rearranging those buttons, and creating nicer iconography might help. However, if you use your brain to its best ability in grasping the scientific context, you will be able to significantly improve entire processes and workflows.

For example, we ended up mapping the processes of the entire lab as a result of being in tune with everything that was going on around a software project we were building, which led to an internal conversation and a total revamp of those processes. While we could have still improved the research software's user interface, we ended up having a beneficial impact throughout the lab because we understood how it operated.

Look for a technologist.


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Digital technology does not appeal to everyone. It's frequent in healthcare to encounter folks who are hesitant to adopt software and hardware solutions that will replace their current ways. There's a legitimate reason for it, and it's pointless to consider such folks as enemies. When comparing the image quality of a digital image of a biopsy to that of a 30-year-old microscope, it's clear that the microscope is significantly superior.

So, rather of dismissing consumers who are resistant to technology, you should learn why they are resisting it and provide them with a counterpoint to the benefits they see in their present ways. Although image quality is better, how quickly can you recover a specific sample from storage? Is it possible for you to immediately share what you're seeing with a colleague? Is it simple to highlight a section of the photograph and come back to it in a week?

Even though this is a smart method, we find that finding a techie or two within the workgroup makes things much easier. These are the persons who are best qualified to deliver those messages to those who are less receptive.

This tech-inclined person, like your first-day teacher, will be one step ahead of the competition and have a better understanding of the benefits of new software and hardware systems that will make things faster and more precise in the future. Maybe this techie is the same guy who educated you about science the first time.

Please don't make the mistake of believing that age is the determining factor in technological enthusiasm. Many factors can play a role in this, and sometimes it's the older, more experienced professionals who have a broader view of the process and can better appreciate the benefits of automation and digitalization.

It's just as vital to plan as it is to create.

As crucial as, if not more important than, the design solutions itself is planning your design, understanding its impact, and knowing how to deploy it at the proper time.

Keep in mind what I mentioned at the start: this is a slow-moving field. It's meticulous and careful, not because it's out of date. It will take some time.

It will help if you come in with a better design. Everything that isn't absolutely necessary to be slow should be fast, and only the biological, chemical, and even ethical aspects of the process should be slow.

However, implementing a radical new solution may take longer. In fact, it's more likely to slow things down than to speed them up. Because this is not a consumer market, no one is seeking for the latest and greatest software; instead, they are looking for the latest and greatest app that is more efficient. The easier it is to use, the faster it is to process, and the faster it is to learn.

This is where forethought is required. Once you've immersed yourself in the realities of the field you're designing for, you'll have a better idea of how to phase your influence for maximum efficiency.

Every project has various design opportunities: can you improve the current information architecture? Are there any changes that could be made to the user interface to make the process go more smoothly? What are the very minimum alterations that can be made, as well as the big overhauls?

Plan your execution based on impact against disruption; this isn't the startup environment, so you want the first to be as high as possible and the latter to be as low as feasible.


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To sum it up

Keep your head down and ask for a point of contact eager to teach you about the scientific field you'll be working in. Inquire about the big picture of the entire process and the important people involved in each step.

Talk to those key people; you should have some vocabulary by now; find out what they do and how they do it; what they know about the work of others in the area; and how all of those jobs are related.

The core workflow, subsidiary flows, user journeys, and application architecture should all be mapped out. Draw visual maps, print them, look over them, show them to others, and ask questions until they're finished.

Find a tech-savvy buddy who can help you fine-tune designs so that they may be passed on to those who aren't as tech-savvy.

Recognize the impact of your design and devise a strategy for implementing it with the least amount of interruption and the greatest benefit in efficiency for the user.

You can also re-read this material in a variety of different circumstances and it will still make sense. This, in my opinion, is the essence of a designer's job. Good luck with your studies.

Neil Cummings (neilcummings225)

Individualism isn't everything.

Anyone who has challenged my taste in space travel, sideshows, or gorillas has never swayed me. When this happens, I take my dinosaurs out of the room." RAY BRADBURY RAY BRADBURY RAY BRADBURY RAY BRADBU
Kwame Ferreira contributed to this article.


By focusing on the individual, design thinking has generated a culture of narcissism and hedonism.

Businesses have been designing products exclusively with the client at the center of the creative process since the mid-twentieth century. This has resulted in a culture of short-term convenience. To summon a taxi, simply press a button. Another button, and food will be delivered in 30 minutes... It's a narcissistic and hedonistic culture that, for reasons we'll discuss, fails to look beyond the individual.


The term "planet centric design" refers to a design methodology that places the planet at the center of the creative process. This means it is concerned with more than simply the satisfaction of the consumer, the person. Customer demands are aligned with global goals (the United Nations has set 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be met by 2030). It turns issues into goals, resulting in products that help meet global goals rather than simply individual ones.


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People like Steve Jobs have demonstrated that design and design thinking are beneficial to business. They took Design as a collection of principles for transforming engineering-driven industrial goods into attractive, "user-friendly" products that put the individual at the center of the world — and turned it into a major business. They irreversibly altered our planet as a result of their actions.


The mentality of a teen designer is essentially distinctive.


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Design leadership has spent the last 20 years focusing on listening to customers and figuring out how to hack the human brain. What you need was readily confused with what you want, and wishes swiftly became goods, judged by market fit and stock market value in a worldwide silicon valley culture of tinkerers and doers. By preying on the individual at the expense of communities and the environment, this lighthearted juvenile mindset made items into the most market-rich enterprises ever created.


This isn't science. Science isn't as powerful as magic.

Using the same process, various designers will get different solutions. There are designs from the United Kingdom, India, and other countries. There is no such thing as British or Portuguese biology or chemistry. Until now, the outcome of a design project has been heavily influenced by the person in charge of the creative process. This is beginning to change.





Because of the high risks, design is rapidly becoming into a science. Engineering or performance marketing is a better fit. The glue that holds the two together is design. At every step of the process, products are designed with the goal of minimizing risk. Focusing on the person is the simplest method to do so. What will the individual be required to pay for? What are their prejudices? What will they do with it, how will they share it, and so on?



The creative process has evolved into a crossroads. Psychology, sociology, art, ergonomics, behavioral economics, materials innovation, media, computer science, ecology, and other fields all feed the minds and teams of product creators who are firmly focused on designing for individuals.


If we are to live as a species, design thinking must change. It must transition from products derived from an extractivist culture (either from the individual, as Jonathan Haidt has demonstrated, or from the earth) to a culture of co-creation. Beyond individual sales, product development must add value.


Ambitious? Yes.

Understanding best practices is just as important as moving the thinking from the individual to the planet in order to build goods that go beyond meeting individual needs.


A conversation with the world is the beginning point.

What inspires product innovation in an increasingly data-driven and quantified world? Modify how items are made if you want to change products.


If we want different products, let's start with a conversation between people and their concerns and biases, rather than between people and the earth. Make sure you're surrounded by multidisciplinary teams because they have a cultural advantage. Don't only inquire what people are willing to pay for. Don't be satisfied with market fit. Make an effort to get in shape for the planet.



Alignment with the SDGs is critical for this to happen; otherwise, the issues we're addressing through product innovation will continue to benefit only a few people.

The designer king has passed away. Data machines and user research are being used to spark the creative process. Long live the designer king, that is, where is the leadership and ambition required to produce things that are more than just for individual sales? You must dream about the future in order to build it; else, products would become a series of inevitabilities in which data substitutes all communication. More and better ways for starting conversations at the outset of the creative process are needed. Instead of meeting, have a discussion.



Product innovation is, at its core, a huge undertaking, as it attempts to reconcile a wide range of disciplines and complex issues into a single action-oriented approach. Throughout the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, design has become a victim of short-term perpetual growth market dynamics, more in touch with data-centric rapid fashion than the aspirational universal language that inspired me when I first began studying and practicing it. More ambition is required of creatives.



Taking all of this segmentation data, creating products, and tracking sales isn't enough. Finding early alignment with SDGs is one fast fix. Your team will soon progress from the person to communities and the world. This yo-yo will need to be used throughout the product life cycle.




Design, influenced by groups like Arts and Crafts, the Werkbund, Bauhaus, and other creative movements, merged form with function and ideology to take objects beyond the ugly, cold, rusty world of the Industrial Age. A complicated product marriage that shaped the modern world.



As Yuval Harari puts it, "our ability to believe in ideas and cooperate accordingly" is changing. From a carbon-based capitalism that believes in infinite expansion to the need for more energy-efficient circular thinking with clear global goals and long-term planning.



Most of us still express our identity and engage with the world through products. The goods we use are a visible representation of the decisions we make. We live in a product-oriented world, from the clothes we wear to the furniture in our houses, to our car, our technology, and our gifts. That is unlikely to change in the near future. What's changing is the realization that changing the way items are made has ramifications across the board. The age of individualism will come to an end as design thinking evolves.



Totalitarianism arose from individualism.

Why were totalitarian movements so common in the twentieth century, according to Robert Nisbet? It boils down to individual emancipation for the most part. Fascism and communism grew easier after breaking free from the clan, family, and community. In the lack of local solidarity, fellowship, or affection, individuals become easy prey for mass movements.


What does this have to do with product creators? The new empires of connection and convenience exploited the same weakness in the early twenty-first century. By us, the product designers. We discovered how to transfer the efficiency of individual manufacturing to the digital realm. Individualism flourished in new forms, and it was hailed as the norm.



Skepticism is a frequent trait among generations X, Y, and Z, according to Pew studies. We are significantly less likely to marry, join a political party or adhere to a defined philosophy, attend church, or trust other people. So long as things and people have products, we are more likely to identify with them. Generation Z is already perplexed by products, and it isn't due to a lack of eyewear.



Individualism's era must come to an end, or at the very least be balanced out. As we cluster in our product-centric urban environments on a warming world, we must disconnect from nature and cease pondering an inevitable future with our signature skepticism. We reconnect with each other as we do so. Realize that the smallest social unit in the creative process is not one, but two.


We are compelled to embrace optimism and love (form and function), and our products begin to reflect this shift. They move away from being reactive to short-term issues and toward establishing a long-term vision of where we want goods to take us. It's time to return home. To our loved ones.