Design thinking is an expression of purposeful action. Healthcare is brimming with opportunity to clarify confusion, enhance experiences and streamline inefficiencies. The discipline of design is a powerful framework with limitless potential to transform healthcare marketing and strategy. Regardless of the type of organization you are a part of, you can benefit from seeing the world through the lens of design.

Keep the following in mind as you adopt the practice of design thinking:

  1. Design is inherent to humans—We are naturally curious creatures with a desire for order within chaos. By embracing design, we reconnect with our passion for exploration.

  2. Design gives us purpose—Intention drives our process and keeps us focused on our pursuit. Using design ensures that our actions and interactions are guided by reason and awareness.

  3. Design never rests—There is always room for improvement in every aspect of life. With design, we keep our eyes peeled for opportunities to enhance our experience and that of others.

  4. Design does not settle—Every morning when we get out of bed we can choose to evolve our thinking and see things in a new way. With design, we learn from every encounter and conversation.

  5. Design gives people a chance—There is a genuine, authentic desire to understand and empower others. Through design, we embrace the cultural intricacies that exist. We advocate for and honor our differences.

  6. Design is awareness—Be present in the exchanges with others. In design, we listen carefully and ask questions to deepen our knowledge and understanding of others. We focus on others instead of ourselves.

  7. Design opens us up to possibility—Everything in life is a prototype—from the conversations we have to the work that we do. In design, we recognize that things can change. We are never ‘stuck’ with what we have or what we’ve done.

  8. Design finds connections—Focusing on what connects us can allow us to embrace our community and ourselves. In design, we find commonalities as starting points for building relationships. Differences are not barriers but rather opportunities for learning.

  9. Design builds trust—Take time to invest in the people you seek to connect with—know who they are and where they are coming from. With design, we are purposeful and transparent in the development of authentic relationships.

  10. Design is a process—Time and patience are required to ensure a meaningful result. In design, we must be open to learning from each step of the process and recognize that the process itself can be a valuable product.

  11. Design clarifies the complicated—Extraneous effort and redundancy are commonplace when we move quickly. With design, we reflect and assess what’s working and what isn’t. Design removes unnecessary elements and enhances efficiency.

  12. Design envisions the future—Limitless opportunities for improving the future state are embedded in the current state. Through design, we not only envision and aspire to reach the ideal, but we build an actionable plan for achieving it.
  13. Design drives innovation—Innovation does not happen by chance. It takes a commitment to understanding human needs and identifying the underlying cause of challenges and inefficiencies. With design, there is a calculated pursuit to solve for a compelling need.

  14. Design has the power to move people—Reconnecting with what makes us passionate about our work is inspiring and the results can motivate others. Through design, solutions born from extensive research and understanding have the potential to change individuals and drive culture.

  15. Design is hope for an improved future—Empathy and compassion for others fuels the design process. With design, we lead with the desire to make conditions better for others. We are moved to see our efforts to fruition and we continuously advocate for improvement. With design, healthcare will get better.

Design is not an aesthetic afterthought but rather an imperative framework for ensuring the success of any healthcare initiative. Design motivates action and advocates meaningful change. To inspire change across all domains of healthcare, leaders must understand the power of design in a broader context, reap its benefits and champion its usage. 

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