V51 – Generating Joy

From big surprises to small habits, this week we explore different ways of finding, cultivating and spreading Joy. When we were young, Joy was often created for and around us, but as we grow older, we realize sometimes it’s up to us to do the creating. It really doesn’t take much, and when we approach creating Joy with our Whole Heart, the return is tenfold.

Good Morning, Peyton!

Just as the sun goes down, but the sky is still light, it’s the magic time for Peyton Madden. Eleven-year-old Peyton is living with a rare skin disease, xeroderma pigmentosum, that prevents him from being in the sun. These 30 minutes or so of dusk are when Peyton can be outside just like any other kid — biking, running, and playing. In an effort to embrace his differences and bring Joy to Peyton and his family, his community and the National Organization for Rare Disorders came together one evening to celebrate his rare disorder. They turned night into day and hosted a surprise “Good Morning, Peyton” event. From a parade to a pool party and a pancake “breakfast,” hundreds of people came together to spread Joy and let Peyton enjoy social activities he is otherwise excluded from. The gigantic smile that bursts across his face as he realizes what has been created just for him will bring a huge smile to yours as well.

This town created Joy for Peyton by empathizing with his challenges and celebrating his differences. In our own organizations, how might we tailor our Experience to show empathy and turn a challenge or constraint into Joy? How might we be more tuned in to the unique circumstances our patients and guests may be facing?

Plan for Happiness

What happens when one of the largest publications nationwide focuses on Joy? In an effort to explore the many ways one can find and maintain a state of happiness, Time magazine did an entire special edition issue called “The Science of Happiness.” The article outlines fourteen different ways to reach a joyful state. It isn’t a step-by-step guide to happiness, rather a pick-and-choose of ways that you can find happiness in your day. From savoring the small things to finding purpose in pleasure, it’s a fantastic list to try. Last but not least on the list is “make Sunday future-fun day.” In other words, plan for the next weekend and allow yourself to anticipate the Joy to come. Productivity consultant Julie Morgenstern suggests that all weekends should be designed around the acronym PEP: physical, escape, people. When those three elements are at the core of your time, it’s inevitable that it will be filled with Joy.

While some of our team members and providers don’t always have the luxury of working a “traditional” schedule with free weekends and time off. How might we encourage them to take personal time and practice self care? How can we encourage and support our people in planning for happiness and designing for Joy?

Finding Joy

When was the last time you did something because it made you smile? Oprah shares with us a simple exercise that helps identify what gives us Joy and how to find time for it. In our overloaded lives, we often find ourselves thinking that there just isn’t room for much Joy or that when we do find it, Joy needs to be some gigantic, overwhelming emotion. That simply isn’t the case. It is not about the euphoria (although it can be every once in awhile), it’s about finding what makes us light up every day and making sure that we work those things into our lives. That’s the secret to finding Joy that lasts.

Print out Oprah’s finding Joy exercise and give it a try. Book time on your calendar. Tell your team what you are doing. Choose to cultivate Joy.

0-100: What Makes You Happy?

As you explore what brings you Joy, check out this charming video from SoulPancake in which 100 people of all ages and walks of life answer that big question. From gummy bears to making music, or laughing underwater, their delightful answers will remind you that true Joy comes in a myriad of shapes, sizes, and forms, and that everyone has their own special experiences.

V50: Joy in Action

As health care leaders, we are immersed in so many of life’s powerful emotions on a daily basis – from the elation of birth, recovery, and healing to the Moments of uncertainty, illness, and loss. It’s important to remember, however, that amidst the emotions we often feel in these situations, we have the power to recognize and cultivate Joy. And remember: Joy is contagious, so the more we create, the more it grows. This week, we look at discovering and rediscovering Joy within our own walls and out in the world.

Have a Joy-filled week!

Flipping the Joy Model

While we’re always on a mission to bring Joy into the lives of our patients, Colton Nordvik reminds us that our guests are in need of Joy, too. Flipping the model of the toy drive, high school senior Nordvik asked his community to make donations such as cologne, picture frames, coffee mugs, and pajamas to Shriners Hospitals for Children in Northern California. The goal was to create a store where the young patients of Shriners Hospitals could shop for a present for their parents. This allowed the patients to Experience the Joy of giving even from their hospital rooms.

How can we put the Joy of giving into the hands of our team members, providers, patients, and guests? Reflect on how the act of giving brings Joy to both people involved.

Restoring Joy

Drs. David Rosenthal and Abraham Verghese went on a journey to help physicians rediscover Joy in their work. They found that the key to reversing the trending disconnect, which came with the introduction of the electronic medical record, was challenging but simple: dedication to human Connection. To invigorate Joy in their work, physicians must not fall prey to treating what Rosenthal and Verghese call the “iPatient,” or the profiles created by the “drop-down menus, cut-and-paste text fields, and lists populated with a keystroke.” It’s critical, instead, to truly see, acknowledge, and prioritize the human Connection. Rosenthal and Verghese go on to point out that this isn’t limited to the patient-doctor in-person Connection, it’s also about doctors spending time with colleagues and designing spaces such as lounges and lunchrooms to facilitate getting out from behind a computer and connecting with each other.

The power of human Connection isn’t just the key to finding Joy in work for physicians; it’s the secret to job satisfaction for all of us. What ways can we unlock the opportunities for our team members, providers, patients, and guests to connect with and acknowledge each other?

Ode to Joy

Magical things happen when an entire nation dedicates itself to Joy. In Japan, it is an end-of-year tradition to sing the final movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, “Ode to Joy.” The song is such an essential part of the Japanese culture that it’s known just as daiku, which translates literally to “number nine.” This particular recording is of the Number Nine Chorus performing daiku after the earthquakes and tsunami in Japan in 2011. What is normally a practice of giving time and effort to Joy became a moment of Joy for the entire world. Feel your heart soar as the chorus comes in.

The power of large groups of people devoting themselves to Joy is undeniable. Luckily, our organizations are home to thousands of people who have opportunities to discover and practice Joy collectively every single day. How are we encouraging our team members, providers, patients, and guests to come together in displays of Joy?

Joy in Action at Vidant

Joy can be shared in so many different ways and our friends at Vidant Health are creating Joy across the entire system. From surprising team members with healthy farmers market treats, to tossing Joy Prompts from the Joy action kit to begin a nursing leadership meeting, to designing a new kind of Service Award Experience, team members are feeling the Joy in their work and that their Experience matters.

The Service Award Experience, in particular, was a great example of creating Joy by intentionally designing for it. Julie Kennedy-Oehlert, Vidant’s Chief Experience Officer shared, “We didn’t just stage a traditional ‘years of service’ Service Award Experience for a group of 500 team members and their spouses. We designed unique and special ways to make the Moments memorable.” Leaders greeted team members and spouses personally at the door. Team members wore badges proudly depicting the number of years they have served and as each tenured group was announced, the number one hit song from the year they started their work with Vidant was played. Joy was shining in the eyes of everyone there as the memorable Moments unfolded. “You know the energy is changing when a president who is often quite reserved gets on stage and authentically opens with ‘I love you guys.’”

How might we intentionally design for Joy at an upcoming meeting? What little touches might make a big impact?


Choose Love has wowed us with its seasonal pop-up retail Experiences, in London and New York City, that are both purposeful and practical. The space is intentionally designed to help visitors learn about the refugee crisis and help humanize the Experience with real photos and stories throughout. Divided into the three phases of a refugee’s journey – Arrival, Shelter, and Future – the store allows visitors to step into the shoes of a refugee and then personally select how, and in what way, to make an impact. Last year, the pop-up and online platform helped provide refugees with 800,000 nutritious meals, 3,556 nights of accommodation, 25,000 winter essentials, and 100,000 items for babies and children. We can’t wait to see the impact they’ll have this year and how they’ll continue to scatter Joy.  

In this season of giving and our final month of LOVING, we’re inspired by this reminder to always Choose Love and the power of this simple message: “We all have a choice. To be motivated by fear and animosity, to build walls and turn our backs on the world. Or to nurture the hopeful; to recognize our common future. To choose love. The world can feel broken, but these cracks are letting in light.” Let’s all be the LOVING agents of possibility and #ChooseLove.

V49: The Response of Joy

Looking to the dictionary definition of Joy, we see that it is “a source or cause of pleasure or delight,” not just “the emotion of great delight.” Joy is not limited to how we feel – it is an active response to the feelings of others. When we see others bursting with Joy, we can’t help but feel Joy too.

This insight is powerful when we start to think of Joy as a response and understand that there are infinite ways to elicit it. For some, it may be a scent, a memory, or an Experience. For others, it could be as simple as a smile, a certain person, or even the salty beach wind in our hair. No matter from where it comes, the incredible thing about Joy is that it actually has the power to make our lives and our work better. This week we dive deeper into creating Joy and the amazing response it evokes in ourselves and others.

Sharing Joy

Researchers found that sharing Joy with others increases our capacity for experiencing Joy within ourselves. This study explores how shifting our focus to Joy and discussing these Experiences with our close friends and life partners can actually lead to a greater satisfaction with life in general. While writing Moments of Joy and Gratitude down in a journal is a great way to build this practice, the researchers found that there was an even greater increase in Joy if verbally shared with someone of value in our lives.

As we notice joyful Moments within our organizations, let’s share the goodness with others in our work and home lives. Not only will it brighten their day, it will exponentially increase our own appreciation of the moment.

Snap Your Joy

Our friends over at Soul Pancake created a giant polaroid camera, put it in the street, and invited passersby to “Snap Your Joy.” This infectiously joyful video they created shows people’s expressions of happiness. Take a minute to watch – we bet you can’t help but smile.

Our expressions broadcast how we feel and can inspire others. What message are we sending the world today? It just takes a simple smile to spread Joy and lift others.

100 Ways to Joy

Writer Christian Wiman was so impacted by Moments of Joy that he dedicated an entire anthology to it. Joy: 100 Poems is a compilation of the varying experiences of Joy over the course of one’s life. Wiman selected the poems to include in the anthology with the Intention of exploring the minutiae of life through which the extraordinary is revealed. In an effort to spark readers to remember the many sources and meanings of Joy, the poems celebrate the everyday – for example, the “round jubilance of a peach” as a metaphorical symbol of the Joys of summer in Li-Young Lee’s “From Blossoms.”

From blossoms comes
this brown paper bag of peaches
we bought from the boy
at the bend in the road where we turned toward
signs painted Peaches.

From laden boughs, from hands,
from sweet fellowship in the bins,
comes nectar at the roadside, succulent
peaches we devour, dusty skin and all,
comes the familiar dust of summer, dust we eat.

O, to take what we love inside,
to carry within us an orchard, to eat
not only the skin, but the shade,
not only the sugar, but the days, to hold
the fruit in our hands, adore it, then bite into
the round jubilance of peach.

There are days we live
as if death were nowhere
in the background; from joy
to joy to joy, from wing to wing,
from blossom to blossom to
impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom.

What simple joys do we Experience every day but don’t necessarily record? How might we celebrate these joys with our team members, providers, patients, and guests?

Joy Is the Solution

Feeling stressed? Give Joy a try. Kelly McGonigal, empathy expert, shares that when we increase our capacity for empathy, we increase our susceptibility to catch the Joy of others. When we see the good fortune of others, it can actually stimulate the reward systems in our brain which are linked to greater life satisfaction and peace of mind.

We have the power to decrease or eliminate stressors by opening our hearts to the Joy of others. We can shift energy in our everyday work. When conducting LOOKING rounds, intentionally LOOK for and spotlight the Joy of others.

V48: Intro To Joy

It’s December, and that means it’s time to celebrate our final LOVING principle – Joy! While we don’t ascribe to the adage of saving the best for last, we believe there’s no better principle to wrap up the year with than Joy.

Joy makes your soul smile. It is both infectious and healing, and when you nourish it, Joy grows. In our work and our world, Joy comes in many forms – from childlike wonder, to the light in someone’s eyes, to boundless exuberance. It is more than a mere feeling – it is an emotion that can create a positive effect on our team members, providers, patients, and guests. Every day, we have the opportunity to choose Joy and choose to live in a place of possibilities. This month, when you look around, you’ll see the word “Joy” in lots of places – let’s bring that concept to life and lead with it in our hearts and minds.

Joy: It’s Good for You

There’s more to Joy than meets the eye, and science can prove it. Canadian researchers found that humans are biologically wired to understand, recreate, and seek out joyful Moments through bringing out the good in others. While there are plenty of physical items and services we can seek out to stir up happiness within ourselves, the most powerful and rooting type of happiness is actually when we ensure that someone else is somehow benefitting. This innate sense of caring for others is tied to humanity’s need to build and take part in compassionate communities. We’re not only built to be joyful, we’re built to thrive when we create opportunities for Joy in others.

This week, let’s scatter Joy. Think of three ways to bring Joy to others, and do it! Encourage others to join you and think about how we might define anew what it means to provide care in our organizations. In addition to caregiving, might we also consider "Joy-giving?"

40 Joys

Not sure how to go about finding more Joy? Look around! Joy not only results from milestone Moments but can also be the product of everyday experiences. When we take time to acknowledge the “normal” joys in our day-to-day life, we increase our overall potential to find our lives more fulfilling. The author of this blog lists 40 ideas for finding Joy in our lives— in case we’re needing a nudge — and invites us to send her more ideas. From singing in the shower to watching the sunset, there are an infinite number of ways we can revel in Joy on a daily basis. Sometimes all it takes is to slow down, take a deep breath, and acknowledge the world around us in a deeper, more meaningful way.

In what ways can we encourage our team members, providers, patients, and guests to seek out, Experience, and take note of everyday joys within our organizations?

Out of Nothing: Joy!

This delightful bit by beloved English actor and comedian Rowan Atkinson reminds us that we have the power to create Moments of Joy; we don’t need to wait for joyful opportunities to present themselves. As we find ways to increase and sustain happiness in our lives, remember that it can be as silly, mundane, or filled with expression as desired. Enjoy Atkinson’s masterful performance that illustrates the idea that we can create Joy out of nothing.

Hearty laughter is a guaranteed ticket to increased Joy. As we explore our organizations this week, keep an ear out for deep belly laughs. Where were they found? How can we encourage our team members, providers, patients, and guests to take part in innocent, childlike laughter?

V47: Moments in Action

From recognizing the power of a moment to crafting signature experiences in a moment, we’ve learned the ins and outs of this important principle to which we have access each and every day. For our final week of Moments, we’re exploring the ways that art, medical care, and music have all paid homage to the significance of each moment and making Moments matter.

Black Ink on White Shirt

While we’re passionate about creating positive Moments, sometimes just as memorable are the Moments of anticipation. Kinfolk Magazine, a publication aiming to connect a global community of professionals, devoted an entire issue to these teasing, adrenaline-pumping Moments. In this fascinating piece, Kinfolk depicts an artist series entitled “Anxious Anticipation” which brings worry-inducing Moments to life – an ink pen about to drip poised over the white shirt or a balloon floating over a bed of nails, to name a few. The photographs were paired with equally compelling text hitting home just how resonant the nervous energy of a moment can be:

“Whether we’re readying ourselves for the start of an event or just imagining ourselves partaking in it, the buzz of nervous anticipation is sometimes as satisfying as the reward at the end,” says Kushins. “Often just the thought of ‘what if?’ can be as potent as the act itself, and the thrill of the chase may occasionally be more powerful than the real deal.”

How might we recognize and address anxiety-inducing Moments for our team members, providers, patients, and guests? What can we do to be prepared for those Moments and then do everything we can to reduce anxiety and increase confidence?

A Doctor’s Touch

A forever favorite, Abraham Verghese’s 2011 TED Talk directly addresses the power a moment has in the physician-patient relationship. He poetically argues that in the midst of the greatest advancements in medicine – in times of robotic guided surgery and electronic medical systems – we have forgotten the critical ritual that is the physical examination: the actual examination of the human form using human hands. Verghese says, “we seem to have forgotten – as though, with the explosion of knowledge, the whole human genome mapped out at our feet, we are lulled into inattention, forgetting that the ritual is cathartic to the physician, necessary for the patient – forgetting that the ritual has meaning and a singular message to convey to the patient.” Watch the rest of Dr. Verghese’s TED talk to learn more about the importance of the human touch.

Dr. Verghese dives into just how important it is to honor the human form through physical examination – honor the human moment with human attention. While arguably a simple act, it’s a transformative one. How can we be sure to include the moment of human touch for all of our patients and guests?

No More Turning Away

Thirty years ago, Pink Floyd released a song completely devoted to the choices we have in each moment: to take action or to turn away. “On the Turning Away,” from their 1987 album, A Momentary Lapse of Reason, commemorates the autonomy and freedom we have to take hold of everything each moment has to offer. Written in response to societal problems that weren’t being addressed or faced by politicians in office at the time, the song encourages listeners to own each moment with Intention and to act out of compassion, not selfishness:

“No more turning away

From the weak and the weary

No more turning away

From the coldness inside

Just a world that we all must share

It’s not enough just to stand and stare

Is it only a dream that there’ll be

No more turning away?”

What are some ways in which we can own each moment? What situations (or solutions) might we be turning our backs on because of an inconvenience, a fear, or a perceived barrier? How might we overcome them?

Moments for Gratitude

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we wholeheartedly share our gratitude for the everyday Moments – the many gifts – that 2018 has given us. We are are grateful for YOU – our Lab Partners – and the many Experiences that we have shared in The Experience Lab. This piece from Time highlights seven mental and physical benefits of practicing gratitude. It is a wonderful reminder that when we take time to express gratitude in Moments, large and small, we’ll Experience true fulfillment.

How might we cultivate gratitude in our everyday lives?

V46: Moments of Celebration and Ceremony

In health care, we are gifted to be part of and witness transformational and memorable Moments in the lives of our patients: healing, thriving, birthing, passing. And, as leaders, we are also fortunate to be a guide for some of the most memorable life Moments for our team members and providers: a first job, a promotion, a graduation, a milestone accomplishment, or retirement.

By honoring accomplishments and triumphs, we are honoring the humanity that makes us who we are. Ceremonies and celebrations help to create meaning, story, and memory out of what may otherwise be experienced as routine.

This week, we’ll dig into the scientifically proven benefit of acknowledging Moments and explore two very different exemplars of moment-making. From basketball to bears, we’ll learn how Moments are an integral part of our life journey no matter our age; no matter our Experience.

Why Celebrate?

Did you know there’s a psychological reason to create ceremony and celebration? This fascinating piece from Inc. Magazine explains how the Experience of celebration releases endorphins that not only feel great, but also reinforce the positive behavior that led to success. The converse is also true – when we don’t take the time to honor and celebrate, we train our brains to think that our behavior and accomplishments are not worthy of excitement or acknowledgement. The moment that we spend in celebration is setting us up for the kind of positive psychology we will need when we face challenges. Celebration and ceremony also create new opportunities for forming bonds between individuals of very different backgrounds and life Experiences.

As leaders, we often finish one project successfully and simply move on to the next without taking the time to celebrate. How might we build a celebratory moment into the project plan? Who could be a part of that?

The Heart of the Bear

Many of you have experienced this heartwarming ceremony celebrating just that: the heart. This make-your-own teddy bear boutique gives children the power to bring their custom furry friends to life through their “heart ceremony.” It is sure to bring a smile to the face of all visitors no matter their age. After their bear is selected and stuffed, customers are given a small, silky red heart — the final addition to the bear. Customers are asked to rub it on their head to give their bear wisdom, on their knees so they know they are needed, on their ears to make them good listeners, and to give it a kiss to fill the bear with love. This signature moment defines the entire Experience for the new bear owner and creates a loving, lasting memory forever associated with the bear.

What rituals or ceremonies can we create to give team members, providers, patients, and guests a chance to physically and emotionally invest themselves in our Experience? What tangible mementos might we provide to ensure that their Moments with our organizations are always remembered?

One Shining Moment

Perhaps the most recognizable and remembered song in sports is basketball’s “One Shining Moment.” After the NCAA basketball champion is crowned, the emotion-filled song is played to celebrate the many accomplishments of the young athletes. As it plays, highlights from the course of the tournament are played in montage.

The lyrics say it all:

“The ball is tipped

and there you are

you’re running for your life

you’re a shooting star

And all the years

no one knows

just how hard you worked

but now it shows…



As with many Moments of commemoration and celebration, “One Shining Moment” is memorable due to the high intensity Experience that comes with a win or a loss combined with the sensory Experience of a song. In what ways can we combine sensory Experience with one of the many Moments of high emotion that we see in our organizations?

V45: Elements of Moments

What comprises a moment? The first definition that may come to mind is “a short period of time: an instant.” Yet, there’s more to it. A moment is also defined as, “a definite period or stage; a juncture.” This second meaning takes an instant and gives it more gravitas; it is this particular meaning of Moments that we are seeking to create. As Experience leaders, we have the opportunity to turn a moment into a lasting memory.

Many things affect the way in which we make Moments matter: the environment they’re designed within, the senses that are engaged throughout, and the feelings that last beyond. All three work in harmony to shape a moment. This week we will learn from three very different exemplars working in very different environments who have mastered the importance of intentionally creating Moments.


Artist Scott Thrift was tired of the way we were marking time, so he changed it. Today, featured in this month’s action kit, is a 24-hour clock aimed to enhance the understanding and Experience of the present moment and remind us of the bigger picture of time. Thrift realized that our society has been using the same clock with the two 12-hour cycles since its invention. “The way we measure time dictates our behavior and so we deserve access to scales that are more appropriate for the way we live our lives now and far into the future,” Thrift said in this TechCrunch article. The goal of Today is to encourage us not to feel limited by time, but instead feel freed by living in the present.

In what ways can we physically remind our team members, providers, patients, and guests to slow down and mark the Moments? While certain Moments at our organizations depend on the traditional marking of time (the time a child is born, the time someone is scheduled for surgery), what Experiences could be enhanced when disconnected from traditional measures of time?

What Is a Moment?

Enjoy this awe-inducing video by the team at RadioLab.

As so wonderfully exhibited by this short piece, defining Moments come in a countless number of forms. From blowing a dandelion to the first cut of a surgeon’s knife, we see that Moments can be deeply personal and often characterized and evoked by sensory Experiences: the sounds, tastes, smells, and feelings brought on by the joys and sorrows of LIVING and LOVING. Every moment is filled with the possibility and potential to be a defining moment in someone’s life.

The ROI of “I Love You So Much”

Jo’s Coffee in Austin, Texas, outsells its competitors because of love. The love isn’t in its cups of coffee, or even dispensed by the baristas. Jo’s love comes from the famous mural spray-painted across the building: “I love you so much.” This simple mural tells customers from the moment they approach Jo’s storefront they are valued and cared for by the establishment as a whole. This emotional moment – this Connection – is what sets Jo’s apart and fosters an intensely loyal fan base. This place is different.

V44: Intro to Moments

Welcome to another wonderful month of LOVING. The next few weeks will be devoted to the principle of Moments. Our lives are made up of countless Moments layered upon each other. It’s up to us to tap into the power of each moment and choose to turn each one into something meaningful.

While not every moment is huge, each provides the opportunity to shape the Experience for those we connect with or touch. That’s the beauty of it – with each new moment comes a new opportunity to look someone in the eyes, be present, and create a positive memory.

Let’s dig in.

Powerful (and Sweet) Moment Making

You have one real moment to launch a product for the first time – how do we make that moment memorable, inspiring, and enticing? If you’re Google, you think outside the box and launch a pop-up donut shop for your donut-shaped Home Mini devices. Visitors enter the shop, ring a bell, ask the Home Mini a question, and are presented with a gift box that either contains an actual donut or a Home Mini. Not only does this Experience demonstrate the function of the Home Mini, but it also gets potential customers excited about the possibility of being gifted a surprise. Whether a donut or a smart speaker, the element of surprise that’s integrated into the pop-up demonstrates Google’s mastery of memorable Moments. Sprinkles, anyone?

How can we surprise and delight our team members, providers, patients, and guests with unexpected Moments? How could we design these Moments through our Experience Intention?

Why Remember This One?

Driving to work? Take a listen to this 30-minute podcast with Chip Heath, Stanford professor and author of the book, The Power of Moments, featured in this month’s Action Kit. The gist is that while we may not always pay attention or give the deserved attention to crafting Moments, we do remember certain Moments. What is it that makes some Moments disappear and some Moments last forever? Heath has found that positive Moments are dominated and defined by four principles: elevation (extreme joy), insight (a sudden realization), pride (us at our best), and Connection (our personal relationships). Those are the ones that stick.

We also love that Sonia Rhodes, founder of The Experience Lab, is featured in The Power of Moments for the defining moment that brought her to this Experience work.

Think of the Moments we create in our organizations – do they evoke elevation, insight, pride, or Connection? How can we enhance these Experiences by adding another one of these elements?

Moments That Matter

Some Moments just happen, and some are artfully created. In this Norwegian advertisement, designed to attract more foster families, our heartstrings are powerfully pulled in a way that evokes empathy. As we know, empathy is one of the most powerful drivers for action, and we are more likely to remember this message as it evokes a meaningful emotion. The lesson? We can all be mindful of the “behind-the-scenes” Moments we’re creating for our team members, providers, patients, and guests; those Moments don’t always have to occur in the spotlight, yet can still create an unexpected and powerful memory.

After watching this piece, think about how we might be able to create thoughtful, special Moments.

V43: Global Wholeheartedness

As we bring our focus on the principle of Wholehearted to a close, let’s consider actionable ways to bring LOVING understanding into our work and our worlds. Through everyday practice – making wholeheartedness a part of who we are – we tune into the needs, hopes, and dreams of our team members, providers, patients, and guests. Today’s Spark provides tangible tools and ideas on how we can continue to grow our practice of wholeheartedness and integrate it into the Experiences of those we serve.

The Empathy Museum

Would you walk a mile in someone else’s shoes? Literally? At the Empathy Museum, you can do just that. Founded in 2015 by empathy expert Roman Krznaric, the Empathy Museum is a traveling collection of participatory arts projects that focus on Storytelling and dialogue. The “Mile in My Shoes” exhibit allows you to select an actual pair of shoes, walk around in them, and listen to the story accompanying them. The aim is to inspire compassion and understanding for the lives and stories of others.

While many of us can’t go visit the Empathy Museum in person, we can learn from its founder. Krznaric acknowledges that empathy is “trending” right now in the world of business, and he thinks it’s for good reason: because empathy is undeniably powerful. In this piece, he shares the Six Habits of Highly Empathic People (all habits we can easily integrate into our daily lives): cultivate curiosity about strangers, challenge prejudices and discover commonalities, try another person’s life, listen hard and open up, inspire mass action and social change, and develop an ambitious imagination.

In what ways might we encourage and facilitate active empathy in our organizations? How are we gathering the stories of our team members, providers, patients, and guests and sharing them to inspire a more global understanding of the humans that make up our Experience? Can we intentionally take another perspective for deeper knowing?

Resurrecting Compassion

In Krista Tippett’s moving TED talk, she highlights how the meaning of compassion has died due to its oversaturation in the English language. Tippett uses her talk to perform a “linguistic resurrection” of compassion. Some of her beliefs? Compassion is kind. Compassion is curious. Compassion is empathy. Compassion can change us and our civil discourse if we allow it to fully weave into our standards.

After hearing the stories that Tippett shares bringing life into the word and meaning of compassion, who comes to mind? What team member stories? What patient stories? How might we elevate these stories in our organizations?

Exercise with Soul

It’s not just an exercise class; it’s a movement. SoulCycle has turned the concept of exercise into a way of life with Wholehearted devotees. By focusing on the entire mind-body Experience and integrating brand, atmosphere, community, and attitude, the company has created a fresh new concept in wellness. Classes take place in a candlelit studio with a coach encouraging you to be stronger tomorrow than you are today.  It’s social. Joyful. Musical. And members share a common bond of seeking a healthier life, not just sweating out calories. The company’s first integrated marketing campaign, “Find It,” talks about finding yourself and tapping into your own greatness. In other words, discover what happens when a company goes in courageously with their whole heart and you do too.

SPARK V42: Wholehearted Teams

Wholehearted practices can extend outside of our individual selves and permeate our teams. To lead with your whole heart takes courage and a willingness to be vulnerable. This week we look at how others have extended the practice of wholeheartedness and explore how it can unite a team in compassion and love.

Healing Power of Compassion

In this episode of The Psychology Podcast, we learn about the healing power of wholeheartedness. Dr. Kristin Neff, an expert in compassion, shares the impact that self-support has on our emotional, spiritual, professional, and physical wellbeing. Approaching all of our actions with kindness, compassion, and wholeheartedness allows us to tap into our strongest sense of health. Tied directly to mindfulness, self-compassion ensures that we can be our own best ally. When we lead with self-compassion, we decrease our Experience of anxiety, depression, stress, and illness which are scientifically tied to stress. We can truly benefit from learning how to care for ourselves as we care for others.

Compassion Connects

Practicing compassion doesn’t just make us feel good— it actually betters our professional lives too. Through compassion, we can create essential bonds with team members that have been shown to help us be more resilient and more creative – and even help us live longer. So how do we do it? The authors of this Harvard Business Review article define compassion as “a 4-part Experience of Noticing someone’s distress or pain, interpreting it as relevant and important, feeling concern for that person or group, and acting to alleviate their pain.” Through understanding, and practicing these four steps, we can bring compassion into the workplace and increase meaning in our relationships and our work. Rather than ignoring issues when we see them arise, we should acknowledge them and reach out with compassion. It will be better for us all.

How might we acknowledge suffering, confusion, or apathy with open ears, an open heart, and an open mind to allow for new possibilities?

A Million Meals

When Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico last fall, chef and restaurateur José Andrés didn’t just offer help from his nonprofit, World Central Kitchen, he wholeheartedly jumped in. Within days Andrés began cooking meals with a local chef, built a volunteer network, coordinated the #chefsforpuertorico campaign, and quickly went from serving 1,000 to 25,000 hot meals per day. In just one month, his team had prepared and delivered one million meals. Andrés pledged that his organization would be feeding Puerto Ricans until they were able to feed themselves. “When we go to a place, we take care of that place until we feel it has the right conditions to sustain itself. That’s what a relief organization should be.” This massive relief effort isn’t surprising from the Michelin-awarded chef who arrived in this country with just $50 in his pocket. His restaurants seek to tell stories of a culture through food, and his ThinkFood Group’s mission is “changing the world through the power of food.”

Consider how our organizations help in the community or humanitarian efforts. How might we involve our teams to further maximize our impact?

V41: Leading From Your Whole Heart

Being Wholehearted is an essential element of the health care Experience. We are caregivers not caretakers. This week’s Spark exemplifies how Being Wholehearted in health care isn’t just a nice idea – it can lift us all to higher places. We hope you find inspiration in the work of others in the health care and research fields as they share their journeys of Leading and LOVING with a whole heart.

What’s Love Got to Do with It?

MetroHealth System’s CEO, Akram Boutros, is what some would call a LIVING paradox; he’s a leader who roots all his actions, strategies, and decisions in LOVING. In his TEDxClevelandStateUniversity talk, Boutros shares why he comes first and foremost from a place of love: because he knows his organization – the team members, the providers, the patients, and their guests – is great because of the unique qualities each one brings to the table. He believes we need to come from a place of love — similar to how you would treat your family — allow people to make mistakes, give second chances, and be able to see them for who they really are. Each individual is worthy of love and capable of bringing love into their relationships every day. So what’s love got to do with it? Everything.

Think of a relationship with a team member that could use some strengthening. How might we bring Wholehearted love to that relationship?

What’s Working?

When the University of Virginia Health System came together to solve their psychiatric patient recidivism rate, they asked one question that many forget or are afraid to ask: what do we appreciate about our process? In other words, what IS working?

This strategy of focusing on the good, or the positive aspects, is known as appreciative inquiry and can lead to self-determined change. At the UVA Health System, team members came together for a two-day event to reflect on the positive aspects of their current mental health services. Instead of honing in on what was going wrong and what they didn’t want to recreate in their new plan of action, team members told stories of commitment, collaboration, and wholeheartedness to accentuate the positive and designed their ideal transition plan to move patients from inpatient to outpatient in a way that maximized love, well-being, and health. The result was a smoother transition for patients and ultimately higher results for the psychiatric services Experience.

Challenge fellow leaders and team members to approach a new opportunity or business goal through a lens of Wholehearted appreciative inquiry – what’s working well, and how might we build on it?

The Good about Doing Good

As admirers of science and evidence in the field of medicine, this infographic tugs at our heartstrings. Emma Seppälä, Ph.D., the Science Director at Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, highlighted ten elements that prove that leading wholeheartedly doesn’t just feel good, there’s actual research behind it. Introducing compassion is scientifically proven to make us happier and even more attractive. It is contagious, lifts up those around us, boosts health and mood, feels like time well spent, and is good for our planet. Explained best by Seppälä, “There is truth to the saying ‘It is in giving that we receive.’ Not only does compassion ensure depth, fulfillment, and purpose in our lives, studies show that it has powerful health benefits and even leads to a longer life!”

We are always thinking about new ways to promote healing and well-being in our organizations. Maybe the solution is as simple as being Wholehearted. Encourage the practice of compassionate giving and provide a reminder that it not only benefits others, but also benefits those who give as well.

V40: Expanding Empathy

One of the simplest routes to being Wholehearted is cultivating compassion and empathy. While some may describe empathy as a “soft skill” or “people skill,” there are proven ways that we can expand empathy as we travel our personal and professional journeys to create a meaningful and memorable health care Experience.

This week, we’ll dig into understanding what empathy looks like in today’s society, why it matters in health care, and how we, as leaders, can embody wholeheartedness through empathy and compassion every day. While some would fear that this practice will slow our acceleration towards growth and success, we’ll discover that it can have quite the opposite effect.

What Is Empathy, Anyway?

It’s hard to understand living wholeheartedly without fully understanding empathy. In this 10-minute primer to empathy, philosopher Roman Krznaric explores the notion that we’ve now reached a point in our society where businesses, services, and priorities have shifted from introspection to an Age of Outrospection. What he means by this is that in the 20th Century, we turned inward and tried to learn only from ourselves – understanding our own feelings, thoughts, and actions. And it didn’t work. We are now learning that we can only be successful in our lives, personal and professional, if we aim to plan around the understanding of and service to others. When we step outside ourselves and get a better sense of how our hearts, minds, and efforts play into the bigger picture of affecting others, we can better guide the decisions we make and the work we do towards making a true difference in the lives of those we serve.

Watch Krznaric’s video on empathy. How might we practice outrospection in our work, and how might it affect our team members, providers, patients, and guests?

Emotionally Attached Medicine

Do the empathy and emotional intelligence of a physician impact patient health and outcomes? The health care Experience is unavoidably filled with emotion, yet physicians can sometimes approach these high-emotion moments with detached, evidence-based responses. In fact, this study found that only 53% of patients felt that their physicians were empathic and caring. There are many reasons why this is the reality of more than half of our patients: from physician burnout, to pressure to see as many patients as possible, to complex relationships across care teams. Where apathy is one result of these pressures, empathy can be a powerful solution. Another study in 2013 found that physicians who report showing empathic concern for their patients also reported having higher job satisfaction. Perceived empathy also improves the likelihood that a patient will comply with a doctor’s orders and can even improve their ability to get over the common cold. When we develop our providers to work from a place of wholeheartedness, we actually increase the likelihood that our patients will stay with our organizations and see better outcomes.

How might we better assess and measure physician empathy along with physician engagement? What correlations can we create between physician engagement and patient perception of Experience or outcomes?

Learning from Microsoft

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has great lessons for how to lead with empathy. While leaders can be pinned as being strong, hard, pragmatic figures in their organizations, Nadella has proven that this does not have to be the case to be successful. Nadella embodies the strength of empathic leadership in five ways:

  • the power of exposing our personal weaknesses
  • leading all interactions with what’s going well
  • practicing urgent patience when facing challenges
  • relying on the “growth mindset” when reviewing team member performance
  • actively using empathy as a tool

His results speak for themselves. Nadella has dramatically revived Microsoft’s reputation and relevance, and in less than four years, they have seen $250 billion in market value gains

How does Nadella challenge the view of how a successful leader looks? Pick one of his practices and introduce it into the week ahead – take note of how interactions with team members change.

V39: Intro to Wholehearted

As we begin our fourth theme of LOVING – the theme that binds us all together as people – we’re excited to dig in with the principle of Wholehearted.

Working wholeheartedly in health care means showing up and bringing our whole heart to the work, the cause, and the calling. When we put all of our hearts, minds, bodies, and souls into our work, we build authentic connections, find genuine solutions, and design authentic Experiences for our team members, providers, patients, and guests.

This week, we’ll explore what Wholehearted means and what it looks like in action. We’ll see how some folks show up even when there’s no guarantee and how we must truly believe in our own worth.

With Love.

Giving Wholeheartedly

There’s something incredibly powerful about the practice of giving. This moving video displays that generosity is a strong thread in the practice of wholeheartedness; when we give something, whether tangible or intangible, merely for the purpose of gifting it to someone, that energy changes us both for the better. We all give in different ways whether by making donations, by cooking for others, by helping those who have less, and more.

Selfless giving is key. As one individual stated in the video, we must “not have the expectation of getting something in return,” because giving is not transactional.

What would happen if we incorporated this Wholehearted practice of giving in our work? What if we viewed the Experiences we’re creating every day – and the time, energy, and compassion we have for our work – as the gift we’re giving to our team members, providers, patients, and guests?

Some Football Loving

We have discovered a Wholehearted football tradition at the University of Iowa that brings huge smiles to our faces. What began as a Facebook suggestion is now a full-blown movement.

The University’s recently completed Stead Family Children’s Hospital sits adjacent to the football field, and their wonderful, young patients have an incredible view on game day. The children in the hospital watch the game in a “tailgate” on the top floor of the building. Between the first and second quarters, the hometown crowd turns around, looks up, and waves to the children and their families to let them know they’re rooting for them, too. The kids wave  right back enthusiastically. And for night games when the kids can’t see the wave? Don’t worry, fans will be shining their phone flashlights high and bright. Fight! Fight! Fight! For Iowa, indeed.

What Wholehearted moments of joy and connection can we build into our unique places and spaces? How might we change the view of what is seen or Experienced through our many windows? How might our windows become windows of possibility?

Heartfelt Teamwork

How do we get our team member engagement to go through the roof? Simply invite and provide permission for team members to be Wholehearted in their work. This thoughtful piece by Aimee Lucas of the Temkin Group explores the impact of positive psychology on Experience design. Positive psychology is defined as:

The scientific study of the strengths that enable individuals and communities to thrive.The field is founded on the belief that people want to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives, to cultivate what is best within themselves, and to enhance the experiences of love, work, and play.”

So it makes perfect sense that when we are Wholehearted and approach work with courage and vulnerability that we are cultivating what is best within ourselves. When we design all jobs in health care to bring out the meaning in the work, we ensure each of our team members is doing just what positive psychology encourages: enabling individuals and communities to thrive. Shouldn’t this sentiment be at the core of all healing? Leading with this notion allows us to create organizational empathy for each other and for those we serve.

When do we feel most Wholehearted at work? What part of our team members’ jobs makes us feel most Wholehearted? How might we encourage our teams to perform their roles through the lens of that passionate action?

V38: Being Exemplars

While our month of Being has been focused on tapping into and searching for the best in yourself and others, this week we’ll explore ways to have a mindful relationship with technology and with the future.

Thank you for Being with us this month. We hope these Sparks have given you tools to help you slow down, be present, and amplify into the greatness you have to offer your team, your organization, and the world!

Carry Being in Your Pocket

As we learn more about the physical and mental benefits of mindfulness, mobile apps such as “Calm and “Headspace have become increasingly popular. These apps provide techniques for mindfulness and meditation – integrating the power of smart technology with the age-old wisdom of slowing down to breathe. The apps offer guided meditations, notifications and reminders, and even a timer to set how long you’d like calming sounds to play as you head to sleep.

These apps make Being much more accessible for the tech-savvy, modern-day professional. In just 10 minutes, whether on our morning commute, as our flight prepares for takeoff, or on a lunch break, our phones can serve as a transportation device to Being in the present.

Download one of the apps above to Experience mindfulness for yourself. How can we take advantage of this evolution of mindfulness at the patient bedside, in our team member lounges, and in our public spaces?

Drive or Be Driven?

The latest transportation research shows that there’s a way for humans and cars to work in concert. While many of us fantasize about the days when our driverless cars will take us from meeting to meeting while we catch up on emails, researchers are actually pursuing a slightly different version. What if we still drove the car and when our mindfulness slipped, the car took over? The car serves as more of a guardian angel than a chauffeur. This thinking combines the most powerful states of Being from the human mind – alertness, attentiveness, and the ability to think and process – with the most advanced states of technological Being from the smart car. The two have more of a symbiotic relationship, and, in return, we arrive safely.

Exciting new technologies are being introduced every day. In what ways can we stay abreast of the best technology has to offer while also staying present, connected, and human?

Be with the Art

The Quin Hotel decided to create an immersive guest Experience and embrace the essence of Manhattan by beginning an artist-in-residence program in the early 2000’s. But they didn’t just hire an artist. They hired graffiti artists to paint the walls, display their work, and interact with the guests. By taking the diverse spirit of the city into their place of work, Quin integrated what some would see as opposing forces. The results have been outstanding; artists now flock to Quin to serve as artists in residence, not only to live in one of their properties but also to benefit from guests becoming familiar with their art. (The only hitch so far was when Blek le Rat, a French stencil graffiti specialist, was nearly arrested when police saw him stenciling on a hotel door – but the misunderstanding was quickly cleared up!) Other hotels around the country and around the globe are adopting residency programs of their own and expanding the concept with musicians, dancers, choreographers, and even scientists and doctors.

Our places are wonderful stages on which a wide array of talents can be in the spotlight. How might we identify the diverse talents and qualities within our communities and teams and invite them to be front and center?

V37: Elements and Exposure to Being

Exemplars of Being are all around us. This week, we dive into three of those places: on the radio, in our work activities, and in our local parks. The more we diversify the types of places where we learn how to be, the more likely it is that we’ll integrate it seamlessly into our day-to-day life.

This week, consider trying one of the “Spark it” activities to master Being present, Being engaged, Being devoted to the work, Being there for yourself, and for your team members, providers, patients, and guests. We’re looking forward to hearing where you find inspiration on your journey to Being!

On Being

We are not the only ones reflecting on the important nature of Being; Krista Tippett devotes her whole podcast to it. “On Being” is a weekly conversation between long-time journalist and radio host, Tippett, and her guest of the week. Exploring topics of spirituality, Living, Loving, and other pieces of life that define our ability to be, the show opens your mind to how experts on Being improve their personal practice and integrate it into their work. Take, for instance, this episode featuring Brother David Steindl-Rast. A Benedictine monk and a champion of interfaith dialogue, Brother David shares how Gratitude and gratefulness have guided his life’s work and provides ways to integrate these qualities into our own practice of Being.

Consider how gratefulness or spirituality might inform the way individuals on our teams approach their work? How about how they inform the healing journey of our patients?

Being vs. Doing

While there are active ways to be, it’s important that we recognize the difference from “doing.” From yogic practices, we learn that when we function completely in the present moment, we are Being. When we act out of concern for constructing for the future, we are doing. “Being vs. doing” is a good lens to apply to all of our day-to-day activities to ensure that we’re staying engaged. Complete devotion to one activity without distraction from anything else increases productivity and decreases frantic energy.

Look at your workday using the framework of Being vs. doing. What percentage of time do you spend Being, and what time do you spend doing? What barriers are in place to prevent you from spending more time Being?

Take a Forest Bath

Ever hear of or participated in the art of forest bathing? While you may not have known you were partaking, if you’ve spent time in the woods soaking in the sights, sounds, and smells of nature, then you have in fact enjoyed what the Japanese call “Shinrin-yoku.”

Shinrin-yoku translates to “taking in the forest atmosphere” and aims to bring the therapeutic qualities of nature to a society that is spending increasingly more and more time indoors. This practice does more than provide relaxation; participants in a three-day, two-night study in the forests of Japan found an increase in many markers associated with a healthy immune system thanks to the benefits of surrounding yourself with nature. “In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.” – Henry David Thoreau

Our health care systems are dominated by indoor Experiences. How might we take greater advantage of our outdoor spaces or find ways to bring the outside in – bringing the healing qualities of nature to our team members, providers, patients, and guests?

SPARK V36: Just Being

Although Being may feel like a passive thing – just existing – it is actually an active state that we can cultivate. This week, we’re looking at how to do that by digging into tangible activities, techniques, and processes that can better our internal professional state for ourselves, our teams, and our organizations. When we give ourselves the tools to be, we give ourselves the tools to imagine, create, solve, and thrive.

What Happens When We Meditate?

Mindfulness isn’t just good for our spirits; it’s good for our bodies. In this one-hour discussion from the Aspen Ideas Festival, filmmaker Perri Peltz and meditation expert and advocate Bob Roth dig into the hard science behind the practice and benefits of meditation. As they break down the three different types of focused breathing (focused attention, open monitoring, and self transcending), Roth identifies which areas of the brain are activated and the brain activity that occurs. The gamma, theta, and alpha-1 brain waves that result from the three different types of meditation are the root of the positive health effects of meditation such as decreased pain, a higher functioning immune system, decreased anxiety and depression, greater attention, and increased self-control. As it turns out, meditation nourishes our minds, bodies, and spirits.

What might result if we gifted our team members with time for this practice of Being? What about our patients? There is always time, if we make it a priority. It is a choice.

We All Need a Little White Space

Designers have a solution for our crazed and overwhelming work schedules: white space. In design, “white space,” or negative space, is the purposeful contrast to the art that’s within the piece. Aimed to balance the color, shapes, or movement in design, white space creates Intention and order— both things we could use a little more of in our day-to-day lives. So how might this be applied to our schedules? Placing intentional white space, or intentional empty periods of time in our schedules, can increase our creativity, happiness, and productivity. This white space can be used to do things such as sitting quietly, drawing, meditating, going for a walk, doing a mini-workout, or taking a power nap. This reset for our brains, while seemingly against our traditional ways of thinking about productivity, allows for flow and balance to guide our week instead of dysfunction and stress.

Schedule a meeting this week, and surprise everyone with “white space.” Discuss how team members feel when they are suddenly gifted with time to be.

Put on Your Spanx

One might be surprised to hear lawyer-turned-stress-and-resilience-coach Paula Davis-Laack’s number one piece of advice when speaking with dissatisfied professionals: put on your Spanx for work. Metaphorically, of course. Davis-Laack uses Spanx as a metaphor for how we can reshape certain aspects of our jobs to better utilize our personal passions and strengths. While the act of job crafting may seem elusive to many of us, there are clear steps we can take to reshape our job to fit each of us as individual leaders.

First, take a strengths assessment to understand what you do well. Pick one to two strengths that you’re going to focus on integrating more fully into your job. Next, list out your job demands (the parts of your job that consistently take great effort and energy) and job resources (the parts of your job that give you a sense of meaning). Make sure you have more resources than demands. Finally, use what you learned from the first two activities to create your job-crafting plan. Map out what changes you’re going to make over a four-week period to ensure that you’re not only showing off your most valuable assets and strengths, but also making yourself feel empowered while doing so.

It’s possible that within our organizations there are team members whose strengths aren’t being utilized. How can we reshape their positions to take advantage of their natural state of Being to benefit our teams, our patients, and our guests?

V35: Intro to Being

Welcome to the new principle of Being. That’s right, an entire month devoted to exploring what it means to just be. It’s that simple.

Instead of focusing on what we are doing, what if we focus on who we are Being.

Be kind. Be encouraging. Be genuine. Be hopeful. Be forgiving.

As humans, we can sometimes lose sight of the Being part of human beings. So, take a deep breath. It’s time to be present and take it all in. Enjoy.

“Being” In Action

When entrepreneur Kevin Kruse set out to learn the secrets to success of 200 of the most productive individuals in the US, more than half of their rules of engagement tied back to Being. While you may be thinking that “Being” is passive, think again. It’s a practice that must be put into action. From using a notebook to living your day “minute by minute,” the practices that make up what it means “to be” are also practices that increase how much you accomplish and how fulfilled you feel by your accomplishments.

This week, select one of the 15 practices from Kruse's piece to introduce into your day. Set an Intention to continue this practice regularly for three work weeks. After the three-week experiment, reflect back on the weeks and see what you gained from adopting a new way to be in the workplace. Introduce the idea to your team members.

Are You Your Resume or Your Eulogy?

New York Times columnist and deep thinker David Brooks compels us to think about who we really are in this inspiring TED Talk. Brooks proposes that there are two selves within us: the one we can define by our resume and the one we can define by our eulogy. While one is mired with titles, successes, creation, and the climbing of ladders, the other is filled with stories of love, heartbreak, selflessness, and values. We don’t have to choose one or the other — we are intrinsically both.

After watching David reflect on these two selves in his sub-five-minute TED Talk, pick up a copy of his book, The Road to Character, to delve deeper into all of these issues.

What might be said about us if our team members were to write our eulogies? Would it be the same as what we’d expect our family members to write? If not, why might there be dissonance?

Go with Your Flow

Have you ever felt like you were firing on all cylinders, totally immersed and almost in a state of ecstasy, so much so that you even lost track of time? Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi defines this as Being in a “state of flow” and at one’s peak productivity and creativity. Csikszentmihalyi argues that achieving flow every day is the key to happiness and that it is totally achievable if you follow a few simple steps. Using the scientific rationale that our nervous system can only process up to 110 bits of information per second and that listening to someone speak requires at least 60 bits, he explains why it is impossible to listen to two people at once – and why when we are in flow state, fully productive and creative, we almost lose track of everything else. It takes a level of skill and concentration to reach the state of flow, and it is all encompassing.

We are lucky to work in an industry where we are greeted with opportunities for productivity every single day. This means we each have the opportunity to achieve a flow state every day. Try following Csikszentmihalyi’s steps to find flow state. There’s more detail in the article, but the essence is: Find a challenge, develop your skills in order to be able to meet that challenge, set clear goals, focus completely on the task at hand, make sure you’ve set aside sufficient time, and monitor your emotional state. See what happens when you go for your flow.

What activity, personal or professional, brings you to your state of flow? Describe how you feel when performing this activity. How might we incorporate this behavior into our everyday so that the positive effects of flow can permeate our work?

V34: Storytelling Exemplars

It’s been a wonderful month devoted to the art, practice, and power of Storytelling. We hope that you are inspired to assess what your organization’s story is today, collect stories tomorrow, and imagine the positive changes that will permeate within your future story as a result. This week, we explore how elements as small as words – as menial as filling prescriptions, and as meaningful as implicit biases – can shape the stories that are being told about our Experiences.

Too Short a Story?

There’s a bus coming in. A gork in two. Intermittent CP with SOB in five. And a soft tissue contusion below the fourth thoracic vertabrae in three.” Huh?

Like many industries, health care is filled with jargon and lexicon. Codes, acronyms, or difficult to follow medical language can prevent our team members, patients, and guests from fully dedicating themselves to our organization’s story, merely because they don’t understand. Jargon can alienate patients and guests who are often afraid to speak up and ask for explanations. Adorably exemplified in this Fast Company video, it doesn’t matter how old (or what kind of Muppet) you are, jargon is confusing and isolating.

While it’s easy for us to tell our team members not to use jargon, what’s more important is to be sure that every team member, provider, patient, and guest understands the conversation occurring around them. Point out anything that is not familiar to you or that may not be familiar to others.

Pharmacy of Love

The pharmacy is often an inevitable and dreaded last step for many patients after receiving a diagnosis, often requiring a drive, a stop, a call to an insurance company and likely a wait. Capsule is here to change all of that.

In an effort to change the story of what a pharmacy can be like, Capsule defines themselves as a company that serves “prescription delivery, smart refills, and love.” Capsule delivers your prescription whenever you need it, wherever you want it, in all five boroughs of New York City. It’s not just about convenience; Capsule is telling a story of personalized, comfortable, quick, and compassionate Experience with a pharmacist…for no more than you’re already paying.

No matter how great of a story we’ve created through our Experience, the story of the pharmacy is an inevitable step once a patient has left our organization. Consider what other pain points within health care are often forgotten about because they’re outside of the immediate storyline? How might we resolve them?

Tell My Story

Even when we don’t see people, we’re often writing their story in our heads, making assumptions and creating a mental image. So what might we be missing out on? Our friends at Soul Pancake explore this mind-opening concept in their powerful video series, Tell My Story. Participants discover the pitfalls of assumptions and how their own biases are tough to avoid. While we’re all on our organizational missions to weave a positive and memorable story for our team members, providers, patients, and guests, we must remember that each one of these individuals is also creating and telling their own story. Assumptions, biases, and misunderstandings all impact the story we tell ourselves about caretakers, clinic managers, billing specialists, and environmental service team members.

There are many "invisible" roles in health care. How can we work to humanize these team members to eliminate as much bias as possible?

V33: Stories of Humanity

There is an invisible thread that weaves through the most compelling stories: our humanity. Recording and sharing stories of deep humanity evokes empathy and Connection from listeners. These are the easiest stories to tell, and the ones we have easiest access to in health care: stories of caregivers helping patients, of patients inspiring team members, of overcoming obstacles, and of new beginnings.

This week, we’ll explore three radically different ways that modern storytellers spin the tale of what it means to be human. Get inspired and start sharing the stories of humanity from your organization.

Are We Human?

There’s a simple way to tell the stories of humanity: ask humanity for their stories. Driven by their belief that we are all equal, human, and deserving, British musical duo Oh Wonder (Josephine Vander Gucht and Anthony West) created an awe-inspiring interactive story map that explores the global theme of what it means to be human. To visualize the thread of humanity, the duo reached out to filmmakers, artists, and citizens of the internet to impart what they think it means to be human—to be alive. They asked people to share their stories, their thoughts, and their hearts.

Take a few minutes to watch Oh Wonder’s video. Mentally stimulating, aurally pleasing, and visually stunning, it will truly warm your heart.

What does it mean to be human? How might we allow this to live through the work we do every day? How can we learn about the humanity behind our team members, providers, patients, and guests?

Use the Force

An alternative way to tell the stories of humanity is to flip the model: add humans into the story. Last year, Disney announced plans to open a fully immersive Star Wars hotel on their Orlando property. All of the hotel’s cast members will be in character and costume, each guest will receive their own storyline, and, since it’s meant to take place on a spaceship, windows will look out to outer space. Quite literally, you won’t stay at the hotel – you will become a part of the story. This ambitious hospitality Experience will reshape what it means to be a fan, a guest, and a participant in a brand. It will simultaneously set a new standard for both the entertainment and hospitality industries. Stay here, and the force will be with you, always.

Remember: the brand of your Experience is defined by the stories patients and guests live while interacting with your physical space and your team members. Make it your own.

A Storied New Museum

The American Writers Museum in Chicago has a public hub for the art of Storytelling. Less of a memorial to writers and more of an interactive space to inspire the writers of the future, the museum uses art, technology, and changing exhibits to show that we are a literary people. We tend to think of writing as a finished thing – paper and words – but this museum explores what it means to be an American writer and celebrates the endeavor in and of itself. Among the many interactive exhibits, one features a quiet, thoughtful activity for visitors to actually become a part of the museum’s future. Guests write their own poem and leave them in a basket. All of the poems are incorporated into the compost of an onsite garden, letting the words merge with the earth and nurture future growth. Author Rosellen Brown summed up the heart of the museum. “We write stories and hope people will read them, and maybe be inspired to write their own.”

How might we inspire our team members to take part in writing the story of our organizations? What if we created a space for writing and Storytelling?

V32: The Art of Storytelling

Stories are everywhere – but why is it that some come to the forefront, are remembered and retold, while others fade into the fabric of everyday? It’s not only the content of a story that makes it memorable, it is also the way in which it is told. Great storytellers display their finesse through the original, artistic way a story is shared. Whether visually, musically, or cerebrally, Storytelling is truly an art form. For some, it’s a natural gift, and for others, a skill that can be learned and crafted.

This week we’ll get to know a few of the “greats” in Storytelling and how their methods are redefining what it means to tell a story.

Wordless Stories

Not all stories are told with words. Married couple, dancers and choreographers, Keone and Mari use dance and movement to weave intricate stories together. It doesn’t take an expert in dance to understand that Keone and Mari are masters at their craft. Most recently known from their competition in the 2017 season of NBC’s “World of Dance,” Keone and Mari took our breath away not only with the technicality of their movement, but in the way in which they use their bodies to tell a story.

As you watch this recording of their performance, which artfully depicts the interference of phones and technology with human connection, notice how Keone and Mari clearly share a storyline alongside the music and movement. Yet it is without one of the most commonly thought necessities of Storytelling: words. If you’re thinking you’ve seen the duo before, it just might be that you caught a glimpse of them on the STIR stage in December 2016 or perhaps in Justin Bieber’s music video, Love Yourself.

Take a Class with the Experts

Films are one of the most digestible forms of Storytelling, and the team at Pixar does it better than most. Masterminds behind films such as Finding Nemo, Toy Story, and Up — it’s impossible to make it through one of their films without experiencing a beautiful range of emotions from laughing to tearing up. How do they evoke so much feeling from viewers young and old alike?

Kahn Academy, a free online hub for learning, partnered with Pixar to teach artists how to master the skills of visual Storytelling. From character modeling to story structure, Pixar and Kahn Academy have made the Art of Storytelling accessible to everyone.

What Makes Them Great?

While certainly a less romantic form of Storytelling than dance, music, or film, marketing is also a way to share a story. Today, stories sell. So, how do you make them shine? Business guru and author Seth Godin, a believer in the power of Storytelling, shares his top tips on telling a great story. While all of his thoughts are fantastic, we can’t stop thinking about his closing piece of advice: “Most of all, great stories agree with our world view. The best stories don’t teach people anything new. Instead, the best stories agree with what the audience already believes and makes the members of the audience feel smart and secure when reminded how right they were in the first place.”

V31: Elements of Storytelling

Last week we explored what it takes for a story to exist: an audience, a storyteller, and a journey to share. Now, let’s delve into the elements of story with organizations who bring Storytelling to life through their work. While we already know that it takes a beginning, middle, and end to craft the arc of a story, it can be more difficult to understand how to craft a health care Experience story, how to record that story, and then, how to disseminate it (it is called Storytelling after all). Where do we even begin this practice in our organizations?

This week, we’re featuring three different methods of bringing Storytelling to life. Envision what these Storytelling methods could look like in practice within your teams, and remember, while each day we are working tirelessly to change health care, we are also creating the stories to share with our team members, providers, patients, and guests.

Humanity’s Story

We love the folks at StoryCorps who are on a mission to “preserve and share humanity’s stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world.” Each week, they work to record the stories of ordinary people and share them in a way that properly celebrates the beauty of humanity in all of its challenges and triumphs. They don’t only rely on users coming to them through email, website submissions, or through social media; StoryCorps physically travels to the storytellers themselves. For their mobile tour, they take their recording studio on the road to cities around the country to ensure they’re hearing stories in their most raw form: straight from the storytellers’ mouths. Partnering with various artists, StoryCorps selects particularly poignant stories to be illustrated and shared on YouTube and other social media platforms to appeal to visually driven audiences. Be sure to sign up for their podcast to hear a new story each week.

The Camera is the New Keyboard

The way we share our lives is changing. Open Snapchat, Facebook, or Instagram and we’re now greeted with the “stories” of everyone we follow: brief flashes of photos or video from the user’s past 24 hours. Words are being replaced by images that tell a story. The goal is to make our social media profiles as much like real life as possible – quick visual glimpses into the normal day-to-day. Spurred by Snapchat, the other social media platforms quickly realized that technology needed to shift as we share more and more of our lives. Stories are now widespread across most popular social media platforms, and although it was originally a Snapchat concept, the other platforms quickly realized that it’s better to be a copycat than to be a has-been.

The Original Method

When stories were first told, they were not read or recorded – they were simply spoken aloud. The Moth, a non-profit organization founded in New York City, aims to keep the beautiful art and craft of Storytelling alive by organizing live audience events across the country.

After organizing many of these events and hearing a lot of stories, the team at The Moth soon learned more about what it takes to tell a truly great story. Exemplifying many of their tips is Kevin McGeehan, party planner extraordinaire (listen to his story to learn just how great of a party this was). In order for a story to be authentic and best understood, it should be told from the heart—not read from a page—it should hold some high stakes, and you must stick the landing (the end of a story can make it or break it).

V30: Intro to Storytelling

Welcome to a month focused on the principle of Storytelling. Since the beginning of time, humans have used Storytelling and narrative to record the past, define the present, and dream of the future. Storytelling is the thread that binds us together and helps create shared Experiences.

Over the next five weeks, we’ll be exploring the stories we tell within our organizations, both internally and externally. Organizational narrative is defined not just by the people within it, but by the culture they create and the stories they weave and share. A single story has the power to change the conversation, change actions, and change outcomes.

This month will help us understand why Storytelling matters, where story appears in the health care Experience, and how to integrate the ancient practice of Storytelling into our organizations and our lives.

Remembering There’s a Story in Every Face

Resident physician at Massachusetts General Hospital and contributor at The New York Times, Dr. Dhruv Khullar, is quick to admit that while he’s a successful clinician, he was not always great at seeing patients as people — and he sees that as an enormous problem. It took an eye-opening Experience with a dying patient to remind him that the patient’s story was what mattered—not the last time he’d had a bowel movement. As treatments and technology continually improve, we are slowly losing sight of the empathy, understanding, and ability to see patients as people.

For Dr. Khullar, one can only get better at practicing medicine—diagnosing and treating the ill and helping the well thrive—by understanding that the way to best serve patients is to “see not only who they are, but also who they were, and, ultimately, who they hope to become even at the end of life.”

Challenge team members to learn the story of someone with whom they interact in a clinical, administrative, or support position. Have team members share the stories that remind us of why we are grateful to do the work that we do.

The Story Economy

Much like economics, story matters on both the micro and macro scales. The first part of micro Storytelling, both for the listener and the teller, is being empathetic. We have to know our audience—their needs, what they’re trying to achieve, and what they care about—in order to shape a story that matters. It’s about connecting and understanding at an intimate level. Once we understand all of these things, we can craft a story that serves as a bridge for connecting with others. The good news is that we can cultivate empathy within ourselves to help us better shape these stories.

As we expand story from the micro to the macro level, we can see that the future of our economy across all industries depends on Storytelling. The economy is seeing an increase in narratives, and more and more brands are utilizing the power of a good story. Think of the difference between a mass-produced chocolate bar and one crafted by hand. People may no longer become loyal customers because they’re satisfied with a particular good or service but because the Experience evokes a feeling within them based on the story in their life, whether past, present, or future.

Think of a service or good you recently purchased or invested in because of the feeling it gave you rather than the need it fulfilled.

Tesla: When the Story is the Company

When Tesla set out to change the automotive industry as we know it, they didn’t do it with a car. They did it with a story. And that story has evolved. What began as an all-electric, environmentally friendly future without fossil fuels is now a promise of safety with autonomous driving technology and more accessible pricing. The very future of the definition of a car is being reimagined as a beautiful story of what is yet to come. Tesla’s market value shockingly surpassed Ford’s last year, not because of what they’ve already proven but because their stories are simply too good not to be true. Who wouldn’t want to invest in the future of clean energy, safety, ride sharing, and the future of transportation for the good of our planet?

As we set our sights on creating a bright future for health care, what do we want that story to be? How will we compel others to want to be a part of that story?

V29: Bringing Life to the Industry

Memorable Experiences don’t just happen by chance—they happen by choice. In Staging our environments, we can elevate the meaning of each performance. This week, we explore ways that leaders from across various industries are taking inspiration from our intrinsic human needs to help them stage purposeful and meaningful spaces and Experiences. Note how they use props and how they bring forth their authentic selves to truly lead.

Stage to Farm to Table

In an effort to win over the millennial audience from low-cost fast food restaurants, like Chipotle, Kimbal Musk, the younger brother of Elon Musk, is changing the game with a radically different affordable and nutritious option. His farm-to-table food concept called Next Door will be in 50 locations across the country by 2020 and will partner directly with farmers in the area with a menu highlighting what’s easy for local farmers to grow (and sell). These principles are trending across fine-dining establishments, but here’s where Musk differs: his average entree is priced at or below $10. He is also Staging the ideal environment for millennials to hang out including full table service, a happy hour, patio spaces, and weekly events.

To drive appreciative younger consumers into his spaces, Musk also started Square Roots, an urban farming incubator program that has installed “Learning Gardens” in over 300 schools across the country. The students who benefit from Square Roots are sure to be loyal consumers of Next Door in the future. “Next Door is about human trust — Where does the food come from? Is the farmer treated well? Is it nourishing for the body? Is it nourishing for the community and the planet? Our constituency really cares about all these things,” Musk says.

Musk is setting up a group of future consumers through educational programs and shaping the business model to be in line with qualities that matter to millennials, such as eating and buying local. In what way can the health care Experience be staged to better meet the needs of a certain generation or demographic? How might we better connect educationally?


Seattle’s first and only coworking space just for women is called The Riveter, and it emphasizes more than just ensuring female professionals can succeed. Driven to encourage women to stop sacrificing self-care for success, The Riveter’s co-founders made a point of prioritizing the infusion of wellness principles and practices into the space. From yoga studios to meeting rooms filled with vinyl records meant to be enjoyed, this place was staged to disrupt the presumption that you have to choose your work over your well-being.

Do our places of work make sacrificing wellness a norm? In what ways can we stage Experiences for our team members that reminds them to prioritize self-care?

Life-Saving Body Art

This piece is really about new ideas taking the stage. It makes us wonder – how might a tattoo save a life? Researchers at MIT Media Lab have a new project that might make everyone rethink how they feel about tattoos in health care. DermalAbyss explores the possibilities of tattoo ink that serves as a biosensor to measure changes in glucose, sodium, or pH. Those with the tattoos would merely have to look for a change in the ink’s color to know that there’s a shift in their body. It’s in its early phases, but this simple prop turns the body’s surface into an interactive display, setting the stage for a new level of awareness. To further dive into the idea of health care wearables, enjoy this incredible TED talk from UCSD’s Todd Coleman on a temporary tattoo that brings hospital care to the home.

In what ways can we stage Experiences for our team members, providers, patients, and guests that not only makes their Experience more personalized and enjoyable, but streamlines our internal processes?

V28: Setting the Stage – Tools and Props to Bring New Ideas to Life

As we continue to explore the principle of Staging, let’s build from the fundamental concept of “onstage/offstage” – the understanding that whenever we are in front of or in earshot of patients or guests we are in fact “onstage.” We are performing our caring art for others. Staging is about planning for all that shows up in the spotlight – preparing our space, our intention, and ourselves for positive interactions. Taking a few moments to consider how we will present ourselves and our environment can make a tremendous impact on the Experience we create.

With so much of our caring time taking place “onstage” it is important to make room for “offstage.” Take time to step out of the spotlight and recharge, reflect, and rejuvenate.

Musical Stairs

Challenge: No one takes the stairs.

Opportunity: Change people’s behavior by Staging an Experience.

Take these Piano Stairs in Stockholm. In an effort to address the design challenge of subway passengers only using the escalator instead of the stairs, a team from Volkswagen engineered stairs that, when stepped on, acted as piano keys. Their stage was irresistible, and 66% more people chose the stairs over the escalator. Travelers young, old, and canine enjoyed making music from their normally boring daily commute. It goes to show – we can change the behaviors of others just by Staging Experiences.

How can our teams use Staging to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary? How can we encourage positive behavior changes by Staging a radically different Experience from the norm?

The Language We All Speak

While we’ve been focusing quite a lot on how to stage Experiences, there’s a part of our lives that we can stage that you might not consider: our bodies. In an effort to learn about how the placement of your arms, hands, and legs speaks to how you feel, our friends at SoulPancake brought a body language expert to a park to analyze visitors. Our body language plays a large role in who we are as leaders, as it affects not only how our team members think of us but how they perceive the way we feel about them. For example, when we keep our arm and hand movements open, we build rapport with those around us much more easily than if we steeple our hands and use closed gestures. Take a peek at the video to see how you might be sending signals without realizing it.

How do you stage your body - arms, legs, and hands - when with superiors? How about when you’re with your team members? Based on the tips from the body language expert in the video above, how might we consider changing our body to stage ourselves as welcoming, confident, and open leaders?

Yes! And…

The concept of “Yes, and…” is at the heart of improvisation and represents collaboration at its best. What this looks like in practice is: 1) accepting what your partner (or colleague) presents to you regardless of how outlandish or unexpected (YES!), and 2) adding something meaningful of your own in a way that builds in a positive direction (AND!). When we practice  “Yes, and…” we leave all Experiences open to grand possibilities. Anything can happen when we say yes and add our own special magic.

Next time you are approached with a less than perfect suggestion or situation by a team member, try the “Yes, and…” technique instead of the idea-crushing “No, but…” language. See how others respond when you open the door to further thought.

V27: Spotlighting Experience Stagers & Tips to Success in Staging

Setting the stage in health care takes heartfelt intentions, organized and solidified team efforts, and empathic design. This week, we’re going to learn from some of the best about Staging Experiences in and out of health care. Through these examples, you’ll gain a better sense of how you can set the stage for you and your team members to do the best work for your patients and guests.

“Hospital Lighting” Gets a Health Update

The folks from Philips Hue want to change what you think about “hospital lighting.” While harsh, fluorescent lights may be conducive to procedures, they may have a counterproductive effect on healing. Enter the Philips Hue wireless, portable LED system that lets users select more than 16 million colors via the Hue app. Users can program Hue to create certain moods using color, mimic daylight cycles, or provide distraction for children with patterns on walls. Philips partnered with The University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital to install lights in the pediatric intensive care unit, and while the program is still new, researchers believe the lights are helping patients sleep more soundly and avoid delirium. In addition, the system has reduced energy consumption costs per room, allowing the hospital to direct the savings toward other improvements.

Historically, health systems have considered lighting from a functional perspective – what if we considered light from a patient’s perspective? What changes might we make? Where could calming blues and greens or warm, cheerful yellows make a difference for patients and guests in the healing process?

The Making of a Superhero

In health care, we have a very unique opportunity to set the stage for some of the most joyful and sorrowful times in our human lives. Spotlight for the Win Project gives children in special circumstances the chance to be their favorite Hollywood heroes, which, as you can see from their video, helps them understand that they are the real superheroes. Through the power of special effects, heroic storylines, and a lot of compassion, Spotlight for the Win Project sets the stage for these kids to face their fears with courage, bravery, and a bit of magic.

Whether our patients or team members, we all Experience some hard-to-face emotions in health care. What are ways that we can creatively set the stage to better face these emotions?

Staged, but not ScripTED

Does the name Chris Anderson ring a bell when you think of TED talks? Chris is the curator of TED, and his latest book, TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking, was also in this month’s action kit. His wisdom as to what makes a great TED talk can be applied to much of the work that we do. His biggest takeaway is really quite simple – give the gift of a single idea when giving your talk. Think about how you can apply this principle in your own presentations – how can you convey a single powerful idea?

You may already be familiar with some of the tools from his book, but here are the top four ways to stage a powerful talk:

1) Limit your talk to one major idea

2) give your listeners a reason to care

3) build your idea, piece by piece, out of bits that the audience understands

4) make your idea worth sharing

As leaders, we have the opportunity to stage Experiences for our team members through our words. Sometimes all it takes is one well-crafted, intention-filled presentation to shift perspectives in the room and boost morale.

The Perfect Day

One of the simplest ways we can practice Staging is by setting ourselves up for success by properly managing our time and responsibilities each and every day. This Psychology Today article provides some simple suggestions on how to be exemplars in time management. The author shares that when you set clear priorities that are in line with your big picture goals, use realism when it comes to defining what you’d like to accomplish, give yourself focused and uninterrupted time, say “no” to the things that don’t serve your goals, and stop procrastinating, you can stage very productive days. Productive days lead to a greater sense of satisfaction and ultimately a happier, healthier life. It’s time to take back your time.

Sometimes it’s easy to get lost in how much we have on our plate instead of focusing on how we’re actually going to accomplish the tasks and projects ahead of us. Try using the five tips above for five days straight. Afterward, reflect on what was hard, what was easy, what got better, and what still needs some improvement.

V26: Intro to Staging

Welcome to the theme of LIVING and the principle of Staging. Over the next four weeks, we’ll explore how we can intentionally stage Experiences with clarity and purpose. Staging naturally evokes thoughts of the theatre; when we think of our work as our performance within life, we find creative ways to view how we play our part and also how we set ourselves up for success on the stage. Here’s to a month of showcasing and spotlighting that which matters.

Theatre in the Sky

Forget the in-flight movie. Icelandair is totally rethinking the passenger Experience and taking the notion of Staging to new heights by transforming a flight into an immersive live theater performance.  As part of their 80th anniversary celebration, the promotional video for the special September 2017 to April 2018 program hints that music, dance, acrobatics, and theatre will be a part of the three-act Experience from London to Keflavik to New York. The best part? All of the hosts and performers will be Icelandair team members.

In what ways can we bring the literal practices of artistic performance into our places of healing? What good can this bring our team members, providers, patients, and guests?

We Need to Talk About Insurance

While the discussion of health insurance can be fraught with emotion, a research study out of California State University, Sacramento argues that the benefit of health insurance coverage deserves more attention than we’re giving it. As it turns out, having health care coverage can add to our overall happiness. We know it’s hard to believe given how many headaches and heated conversations it can cause, yet the study,  which focused on satisfaction and happiness, found those with health insurance coverage reported a higher satisfaction with their life. Factoring in demographics such as age, marital status, income, and even healthy habits, the numbers still pointed to health care coverage leading to a greater sense of satisfaction. In conclusion, they found that one’s health insurance coverage has direct ties to mental health — when you aren’t covered, you’re burdened with the nagging fear of what will happen when you do get sick or injured. So, next time you engage in a health care discussion, keep in mind that there are more factors at play.

How can we encourage our team members to stage the conversations they’re having with patients around the importance of health insurance? What other conversations do we have within our organizations that could benefit from Staging?

Staging a New Kind of Luxury

New York City boutique hotels are typically known for two things: luxury and high prices. Yet, experienced hotelier Ian Schrager is currently Staging a new Experience that makes luxury accessible to all travelers. Schrager’s latest work, Public New York, is a hip, 370-room hotel complete with a large bar and coworking space on the Lower East Side – for only $200 a night. He aims to ensure that each guest is treated with dignity and respect, something we all want to feel when we’re traveling in a new place. When asked about his new concept that leaves behind the “traditional” trappings of luxury, Schrager explains, “I think they [people] care about being made to feel comfortable, that their dignity’s intact and they’re being treated with respect and that they have a good Experience. They don’t care about those traditional signposts of luxury. They’re completely changed. Because people have changed. But for some reason the luxury approach in hotels hasn’t changed.”

How can we as leaders stage Experiences for all of our patients, no matter their age, race, or medical condition, and be sure that each is seen with dignity and respect through the eyes of all of our team members?

V25: Big Picture Ideals of Designing for Everyone, Power, and Play

Thank you for joining us for a month of Perspective Shifting. From the streets to the labs, from retail to genomics, we hope you’ve been inspired to view the way you and your team approach your work from a new vantage point.

In this last Perspective Shifting Spark, we explore big picture ideals of designing for everyone, power, and play from an entirely new Perspective. We hope you enjoy!

Alexa M.D.

In a recent Digital Trends article, Alexa may one day be more than a smart assistant – she wants to be your doctor, Amazon has created a new health and wellness team to focus on making Alexa more helpful in health care. While still a ways away from solving the challenges of HIPAA regulations and privacy laws, the possibilities of this announcement are enormous. Imagine Alexa helping a diabetes patient manage his or her medications, decipher medical terms and provide feedback on symptoms. Or giving feeding reminders to a new mom caring for an infant, sharing valuable information on growth and development, and even recording vital stats. As we start to unleash these powerful new technologies, it’s not a question of if Alexa can make an impact on health care; it’s simply a question of when.

How might Alexa make an immediate impact in our organizations today? In patient rooms as a virtual assistant Personalizing music and lighting preferences? Or what about in an operating room helping providers with safety checklists? Think of ways this Perspective Shifting technology could improve Experience for team members, providers, patients and guests.

Why Design Should Include Everyone

Thanks to Brad Rosen, M.D., at Cedar-Sinai Medical Center for sharing this incredible Perspective Shifting TED Talk from Sinéad Burke. At 3′ 5″ tall, Burke opens our eyes to the perspective of a little person and illuminates how design is a tool that creates function and beauty and also impacts people’s lives.

Throughout her talk, Burke shares the emotional Experience she faces in everyday places – an airport, a bathroom, a coffee shop – all designed without her perspective in mind. Each place sacrifices her humanity and opposes her dignity in different ways.

Shift your Perspective. Who are we not designing for?

You Were the “It” Factor All Along

When author and illustrator Keri Smith was asked to have her books featured in a giveaway contest put on by a teen magazine where the prize was some of her postcards filled out by celebrities, she said “no” because “our society has an unhealthy obsession with celebrity culture.” Especially with an audience of teens, she did not want to support the glorification of superficial qualities. While most would see the offer as an opportunity to expand their readership and followers, Smith viewed it as an opportunity to make a statement regarding who our celebrities should be. Why not choose those who reinforce the most moral good for society? Author of this month’s action kit book, How to Be an Explorer of the World, Smith encourages readers, no matter how old, to shift their perspectives when going through their everyday lives. Let’s start our own celebrity movement that celebrates “our own unique thoughts, perspectives, and gifts,” says Smith. “Let’s focus on genuine qualities in people, kindness, compassion, fortitude, determination, creativity, persistence, vulnerability, etc. Doesn’t that sound better?” We think it does.

Does your organization celebrate unique thoughts, talents, and perspectives? How can you shift organizational focus to create a movement that celebrates your everyday heroes?

Designing for Play

Everyday places are canvases waiting to be looked at with fresh eyes and transformed into something new. A team of Montreal designers uses this thinking to bring magic to everyday events and create unique, unexpected places for playing. Recently, the team placed an interactive installation of musical swings next to a bus stop. The swings made music when they moved in harmony. Everyday, total strangers come together and enjoy the swings while waiting for the bus. Play is alive.

In Europe, inspiring creative play areas such as the Swarovski Crystal playscape in Austria and Volkswagen’s Mobiversum are also transforming the concept of “play.” We’ll have to see if the trend catches on and more shared environments shift perspectives on what a “play area” can become.

How can we build play spaces (whether for mental or physical play) into our organizations? What creative good can come of this?

V24: Big Change from Small Perspective Shifts

Floral Bandits

In the wee hours of the morning, a group of vigilante florists have been transforming the trash bins, manhole covers, and random sites of New York into moments of beauty. Lewis Miller’s bouquet bins are a sight to behold. The New York City florist is recycling flowers to change perspectives and bring joy to the city’s passersby. Using oversized florals and richly colored botanicals, Miller’s team describes themselves as “storytellers through the art of floral design, transforming an arrangement into a love song and an event into an indelible experience.” The striking installations are causing people to stop in their tracks and lighting up Instagram. Who knew a trash bin could be so compelling? Explore the beauty of their images at designboom.

Take a walk around your organization and check out your trash bins. Really...try it. Are they all the same? Are they out in the open, conveniently located, and easy to find? Are they overflowing? How could they be transformed from ordinary or eyesore into something more extraordinary?

A Visible Shift

Some colors are more powerful than others. In the case of 555-nanometer-wavelength green, it’s a perspective shifter that engages the most cones in your eyes and is the most visible color to the human eye. A strong visual cue, this bright green is used by athletic clothing company Vollebak to ensure that athletes don’t go unnoticed when practicing at night. The bright green can be seen in many different levels of light and will make you as noticeable as possible. Need even more reason to wear Vollebak’s athletic layer? They have reflective dots – like the ones used by special effects producers – on the touchpoints, so that even someone who is color blind would notice you.

With so many patients in our hospitals, clinics, and health care systems, it is possible for some patients to feel unnoticed. What sensory cues can we put in place to ensure that we don’t miss any opportunity to engage with our patients and their guests? How could we make it easy to know and notice a first-time patient or a long-time, loyal friend?

Curating for Quality

In a world where we can find everything imaginable online, the brick-and-mortar retail space continues to refine and innovate their purpose. In an effort to become a place for people to spend time — not just money — concept stores such as Merci in Paris carefully curate fine pieces of clothing, home goods, dry goods, art, and accessories. Or, there is Nicobar in Bengaluru, India, where the customer is greeted with fresh air, an island vibe, and a small collection of seasonally-appropriate minimalist clothing. Upstairs, a communal table invites you to take a seat and chat, read one of the curated books from the shelves, or even send a postcard to a friend or snap a pic in the photo booth. We’re fortunate to have spent time at Merci in Paris, and it truly feels like a home away from home. From coffee to sunglasses, sculpture to pastries, you’re embraced with quality and that feeling that each piece was selected just for you. The traditional lines between store and cafe are blurring as retailers move to shift perceptions of the “brick-and-mortar” concept.

Our team members, providers, patients, and guests spend a lot of time in our workspaces. In what ways can we better curate our places to shift perspective, reduce stress, and inspire more productive, creative, and compassionate places?

V23: Perspective Shifting as a Whole

Perspective Shifting is not just an individual journey; it can also be a journey you take with your peers. This week we dive into Perspective Shifting for your team and across your organization. From interpersonal practices to big-picture shifts in strategy, we hope you find new ways to encourage a shift in perspective.

Cheers to Beers (and Tears)

Who knew that our most recent Perspective Shifting, tear-inducing inspiration would come from a beer commercial? Celebrating differences of opinion, belief, and self, this provocative Heineken ad encourages people to have difficult conversations in order to shift perspective and find common ground. Not only does the video demonstrate a great way to encourage Perspective Shifting among personal differences, but it also encourages Perspective Shifting within a traditionally surface-level industry. While most adult beverage ads feature scantily clad partiers in nightclubs, Heineken took a risk that we’re most grateful for – straying from the industry trends and truly humanizing their product. Cheers.

Our organizations are great because of the individual differences within. What can we take from this commercial in terms of encouraging our team members (and ourselves) to shift perspective when interacting with team members, providers, patients, and guests who may see the world differently? How can we pave the way to find common ground?

Waste Not, Want Not

Perspective Shifting doesn’t just help us see people differently; it also helps us see problems differently. And, it can help generate some pretty clever solutions. For example, researchers are tackling the food waste and food packaging issue that’s filling our landfills by creating packaging from the food waste. That’s right – researchers are using produce such as mushrooms, tomato peels, and kelp to create packaging for everything from pizza boxes to water bottles. So, instead of foam pellets, your glass bottles may soon be arriving in a molded material made from mushrooms. The new packaging doesn’t add to landfills because it is compostable and even edible, although as Eben Bayer, founder of mushroom-based packaging company Evocative said, “You could eat it…although we don’t encourage that.”

Whether wasted product or wasted time, all of us Experience waste in some capacity in our work. How can we change the way we look at what’s wasted to gain new insight?

Rethink the Wait

In an effort to improve the quality of time spent waiting for the bus to arrive, Singapore shifted perspective when it came to defining “what is a bus stop?” What if the humble bus stop could be a place you actually look forward to frequenting? “We wanted to redesign a commonplace thing we take for granted,” says Seah Chee Huang, director of the Singaporean firm DP Architects. This government-supported product resulted in beautifully designed spaces filled with books, swings, art, and greenery that act more like community gathering places.

The bus stops are smart in more ways than one, as they’re also connected to the library for digital book downloads and powered by solar panels. For spaces that are giving so much to the community that uses them, they don’t cost much to run, which is a win-win for citizens and their government—all the result of a new perspective.

Health care is known for waiting. In waiting rooms, in patient rooms, in parking structures, for appointments, for the doctor to arrive, for test results. How can we shift perspectives to rethink the wait? What creative solutions can we implement to reduce wait times or to make that time spent waiting more productive or enjoyable?

V22: Intro to Perspective Shifting

Intro to Perspective Shifting

Welcome to June, a month dedicated to Perspective Shifting. This month’s principle brings into focus the importance of intentionally changing your vantage – looking through a new lens – and standing in the shoes of another.

When we choose a new vantage for our work, we ourselves are able to see the Experiences we’re creating for our team members, patients, and guests in a less-than-obvious way – leading to new opportunities and discoveries. Try stepping back a few feet to take in the bigger picture. Choose to get up close and personal with a specific detail. Step into someone else’s shoes and see what their world holds.

We can change the stories we tell ourselves.

Ever have one of those Experiences that was so awful you just had to dash off a complaint letter pointing out every last horrible detail? One of our favorite posts from Seth Godin, “The self-healing letter of complaint,” explores how, instead of vitriol, we can switch to positivity, view an Experience in a new light, and actually write a letter that not only makes ourselves feel better but may also effect positive change. No matter how negative an Experience we have with a brand or organization, when we change our lens and think of what went well and what could be better (instead of honing in on how absolutely awful each and every moment was), we show that we care. And, believe it or not, you actually improve your own mood writing about the good rather than the bad. Godin closes his post with a line that rings true in our lives, whether at home or at work: “we can change the stories we tell ourselves” to get more out of any Experience.


We all have Experiences at work that don't go exactly as we hoped they would. Whether it’s the failure of a system or process, a missed opportunity, or a poor review, it’s easy to retreat to a state of anger. Stop for a moment and change your perspective. What if we only focused on what went right? How might we build on what went right to remedy what was less than ideal? What might we or our team members do differently? And how can we express all of this in a way that shows we care?

Losing sight, gaining perspective.

In 1983, John Hull was thrust into total blindness and experienced a complete perspective shift. He began what would become a 16-year-long audio diary and eventually a film, Notes on Blindness, as he grappled with understanding the Experience. While the film itself is a spectacular embodiment of the Experiences of someone who loses his sight later in life, a companion to the film is what we’re most inspired by: the virtual reality Experience. In an effort to immerse viewers into Hull’s Experience of blindness, a talented team of virtual reality art directors, producers, and filmmakers created this free accompaniment to the film. Using binaural sound (each side of the headset playing slightly different sounds much like we experience in day-to-day life) and abstract visuals, the VR Experience teaches those with sight how those without it interact with the space around them.

Think of a sense or awareness you might take for granted? How would your day-to-day Experience change if it were removed? How would your work be affected? What can you gain from these insights?

VR + Prison = Hope?

Virtual reality isn’t just a cool new technology—it’s the ideal medium for imparting empathy. This piece in Fast Company details how Oculus, a Facebook-owned venture, is funding a virtual reality film as part of its VR for Good social initiativeStep to the Line tells the story of Defy, a groundbreaking program for prisoners. Through VR, the film shows how Defy sets the stage for hope. Defy’s purpose is helping current and former inmates learn entrepreneurship and job skills through intensive training, resume preparation, mentoring by experienced businesspeople, financial assistance, competition, and, perhaps most importantly, nonstop support and encouragement, both on the inside and, later, on the outside. Viewers of the film can truly step into the shoes of the inmates and see what it is like to be in prison as well as see the way to a better future. It seems contrary to reference prison as the stage for hope, but what Defy is doing is pretty cool. This new film is shattering perceptions of one of the most stigmatized and overlooked populations in America.

What overlooked groups exist in our health care organizations? What could we learn by stepping into their reality and trying to understand them better?

Volume 21 – New Ways of Personalizing the Experience

Reimagining Brick and Mortar

Everyone’s favorite e-retailer continues to take it up a notch in their quest to reshape the shopping Experience.  In an effort to meet each of its customers’ needs in a more timely fashion than ever before, Amazon continues to innovate in the more “traditional” retail model of a physical storefront with AmazonFresh. Don’t be fooled, these new locations are anything but traditional. From cashier-free grocery stores to virtual reality driven appliance and furniture showrooms, Amazon is Personalizing the shopping Experience for its customers giving additional choices in the way to buy groceries. An additional bonus, having more physical storefronts will expedite the time it takes to get products from warehouses to the front doors of those customers who prefer to do their shopping online.

Which of your online processes could be better as an in-person Experience? How can you personalize these Experiences even further?

Alert: Take the Day Off

Unlimited time off is a benefit many startups wear as a badge of honor, but haven’t figured out how to implement in a way that works for the company and its team members. Meet Buffer. This global social media startup created a much-loved, personalized time-off plan by paying attention to how team members were (and weren’t) using their unlimited time off. After realizing that the plan was actually more limiting and team members were taking fewer days off, they switched to a policy of at least three weeks off per year. In addition to having no restrictions on when team members can take those days off, Buffer also encourages its employees to observe the public holidays of their region or country to meet the unique needs of being an international team. Alerts are sent when holidays are coming up, and employees are encouraged to take them. The goal is to reduce the number of people who only take a few days off each year and to encourage people to be fully transparent about when they are taking time off so they can truly disconnect and enjoy the benefits of vacation.

While this concept may be impossible to imagine or implement in the complex world of health care, take a moment to consider: what elements of Human Resources could be better anticipated and personalized to transform the team member Experience?

Southwest: Personalized Transparency is Best

On one of our recent business trips, we received a fully transparent and honest notice in our inbox that helped reframe a potentially challenging travel Experience. While we normally would be turned off by any kind of negative impact to our tight travel schedules, this felt different. Southwest knew we’d be traveling during the upgrade to their reservation system. They adeptly reached out to everyone traveling that week to provide details of the upgrade and guidelines for navigating any challenges. We were impressed that 1) Southwest used data to acknowledge, personalize, and prepare us for the potential impact and 2) Southwest acknowledged their imperfections head on. The best way to explain how we felt is known, noticed, and important. We didn’t feel like a cog in a wheel; we felt valued and respected!

Even at the worst of times, how might we acknowledge the existence, feelings, and needs of our team members, providers, patients, and guests? How can we personally communicate information in a way that feels carefully curated?

Volume 20 – The Power of Personalizing with Technology
”There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening, that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique,”
— Martha Graham

A Passion. A Prosthetic. And Beautiful Music.

Every child should be encouraged to follow his or her dreams, and, for 10-year-old Isabella Nicola who was born without a hand, her dream was the violin. Thanks to the dedication of her music teacher and a team of inspired undergraduates at George Mason University, that dream became reality with a fully covered prosthetic arm. This exciting progress in the technology behind prosthetic limbs was spurred on by Isabella’s passion and the need for a highly personalized prosthetic. Using the power of 3D printing technology, the design team took Isabella’s unique needs into consideration – size, ease of use, and even the color – and created a solution just right for her. Outfitted with her new arm, Isabella is able to control the bow and make beautiful music.

How can discovering the passions of your team members, providers, patients, and guests better inspire, inform, and influence the personalized care we provide them? What matters most to them?

Printed Treatments and Even Organs?

Some pretty exciting research using 3D printers is opening doors we never imagined. From cancer treatments to diabetes care and neural therapy, 3D printing is now a part of many research paths leading to truly personalized medicine. Although the technology is in its infancy, practical applications are already being approved and put into use. For example, doctors at North Colorado Medical Center’s Cancer Institute printed a highly specialized bolus that allowed them to target a radiation treatment for a patient and deliver the right amount of radiation to exactly the right place. Doctors were encouraged by the results and the ease with which the treatment could be applied.

This new technology could help improve the quality of care and even radically change how we treat vexing diseases. And, on the horizon, there are even more inspiring and paradigm-shifting applications. For example, our generation may be the last to have to go through the painstaking process of requesting, receiving, and accepting organ donations thanks to the increase in technical capabilities of 3D printers. Yes, you read that right—the future of transplants lies in printers. Researchers are exploring the concept of implanting cells into printed items and working to fabricate viable, compatible organs. Imagine getting exactly the care you need without the emotionally taxing (and potentially life-threatening) process of waiting on a donor list or, even more tragically, receiving a transplant and having your body reject it. If research progresses, this may be our incredible new reality.

Think of a process or procedure that leads to unknown outcomes that you feel your organization does not have complete control over? Is there an unconventional technology that can remedy this lack of control?

Rethinking the Check-In

For hotels and hospitals alike, one of the first Experience a guest has is often the arrival and check-in process, so it’s no surprise that boutique hotels are completely rethinking this important touchpoint, along with a variety of other personalized first-touch Experiences. The traditional hotel check-in process via a person-behind-a-desk begs the question “does there need to be a desk?” Andaz Hotels doesn’t think so. They are equipping their staff with portable computers – eliminating the desk – and allowing them to make a personal connection with guests in a comfortable lobby environment. Guests enjoy a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, effortlessly check in, and then are personally escorted to their rooms. Says Toni Hinterstoisser, general manager of the Andaz on Wall Street, “A host’s job is very different [from a front desk clerk’s]. They are supposed to be like the conductor of a symphony. We want them to anticipate your needs when you check in, make you relaxed, and be the person you call throughout your stay when you need help.”

How might you personalize the check-in Experience? What might we do to eliminate the traditional barriers to engage patients and guests more fully, surprise and delight, and show that we are focused on them?

Volume 19 – Exemplars of Personalizing

Prescription Glasses for Your Ears?

When a composer, an audiologist, and an entrepreneur get together, you get incredibly personalized products such as Even’s over-ear and in-ear headphones that tune the sound independently for each ear. Powered by their “onboard hearing test” which tests eight frequencies in your ears and then determines your “EarPrint” (the way you hear and Experience sound), Even’s headphones tune in real time to create an immersive sound Experience just for you. What some are calling the prescription glasses for your ears, Even headphones highlight the unique and beautiful differences in each person’s hearing and also protect your ears by not allowing you to crank the volume too high to overcompensate for hearing challenges. That’s music to our ears.

As health care professionals, we have the privilege of knowing our patients’ unique qualities, preferences, and needs. What existing technology in our spaces might we be able to change to meet those needs?

Stay and Shop

The Epiphany Hotel in Palo Alto, California, and Shinola leather goods out of Detroit, Michigan, may not seem like natural partners, but they recently joined forces to create “At Your Service,” a highly personalized shopping Experience. Fashion and hospitality are two industries that often take the lead in Personalizing products and Experiences for customers, but it’s a fresh idea for them to combine forces as such. The personalized shopping Experience that has been born from this unique partnership is a luxurious one; “Shinola At Your Service” begins with a private consultation with a personal shopper either in your hotel room or at Shinola’s Palo Alto location. Based on the consultation, a number of hand-selected items are presented to the guest, who chooses what they’d like to keep. From luxury watches to handbags or luggage, guests are sure to feel taken care of. The partnership extends to their highest floor–guests who book the luxury suite receive a personalized Shinola journal upon check-in. For Shinola, it’s a great way to test the waters as they prepare to move into the hospitality industry with a hotel of their own planned for Detroit in the fall of 2018.

What other organizations could we partner with locally to increase the level of personalized care for our team members, providers, patients, and guests?

Pimp my Ride

From bringing their not-at-all-dealerships into luxury malls, to making luxury electric cars more financially accessible, Tesla is shaking up the auto industry in more ways than we can count. One equally important, but perhaps less noticed way that Tesla has reshaped the industry is through personalization. When you visit any of their showrooms, you’re able to digitally design your car, inside and out, using their touchscreen technology. Some models even allow you to customize the center console with a quote, logo, or even special insignia. When you’re ready to make your purchase, it’s as simple as pressing “order” and working with one of their team members to finalize the details. Once you get your personalized vehicle delivered, the options to make it uniquely yours continue. Beyond the normal remembering of your seat position, the car can also be programmed to “precondition” the car to your preferred temperature at the same time every morning as you get ready to go to work, notifies you through the app if there’s a faster route home than the one you normally take, and automatically locks the doors when it senses the driver walks away. In this case, personalization is working hard to make your driving Experience more pleasurable all along the way.

Volume 18 – Personalizing in Action

We hope you have had a chance to explore the Personalizing action kit this month! See the Spark below to learn more about how MOO, one of this month’s curiosities, embodies the art of personalization and has evolved with the changing needs of the consumers.

Deeply Personal Tunes

If you’re an avid Spotify user, you may have found yourself falling in love with the “Discover Weekly” playlist. Updated every Monday, Discover Weekly is a curated playlist of songs made especially for you. The secret behind this deeply personalized list is an ever-changing algorithm that leverages Spotify’s two billion playlists and targets individual tastes. The software engineer behind this powerful algorithm, Edward Newett, attributes the success of Discover Weekly to the fact that it is tailored to the individual user. “We’re finding ways, through personalized cover art and also by adding a track that we think would be familiar to you – based on artists you’ve listened to – to draw you in initially.”

Spotify might just know you better than you know yourself.

What forms of personalization are we already using to track patient or team member information? How might we tap into that information to create an Experience for them that is truly personalized?

Changing the Card Game

MOO is changing the business card game by combining beautiful, old-school, personalized design with high-tech digital connections. While MOO prides itself on creating stylish, expertly crafted materials that help you start conversations, open doors, and strengthen relationships, they also realize that the business card as we know it could be more functional. By embedding Near Field Communication tap-and-go technology (the same technology that enables Apple Pay), users can hold the card up to a smartphone and exchange contact info, websites, and portfolios. No more fumbling for a pen or re-typing information. And, these users can instantly share the personal information of their choice. Richard Moross, MOO’s founder and CEO, says “It removes all of the friction of having to type in this URL, and you still get the beauty of the physical card that everyone gets and knows how to use.” It’s an ideal example of technology and personalization working hand in hand.

MOO’s intense dedication to customization also goes beyond their products. A unique perk they offer their team members upon completing two years with the organization is a handmade felt doll … Of themselves!  What may seem quirky is actually one of the most adorable displays of personalization we’ve seen in quite some time.

How might we evolve a current mode of personalization in our organization? What new technologies might we employ to improve the Experience for team members, providers, patients, or guests?

Speedfactory: City Shoes

Adidas’ state-of-the-art Speedfactory is enabling a whole new kind of personalization: city-specific shoes.  To better serve their customers, Adidas designers decided to experiment and create shoes that were personalized to the city of the runner. Since it rains in London, wouldn’t a runner there need a more waterproof sole? And do runners in NY who tend to hit the pavement harder need more cushioning? The team traveled to cities around the globe and asked runners about their patterns and needs and analyzed their gaits and running conditions. Then, thanks to cutting-edge technology at Speedfactory, a smaller, more nimble and automated manufacturing facility in Germany, Adidas was able to design and produce small batches of shoes customized for certain cities’ conditions. By innovating and perfectly pairing automation with leading-edge manufacturing, Adidas is better able to delight and satisfy their customers with a more personalized product.

How can Personalizing an Experience within your organization give you an edge against competitors?

Volume 17 – LOOKING at the Principle of Personalizing

The Principle of Personalizing

Welcome to May, the month of Personalizing. This principle unlocks the power to make our team members, providers, patients, and guests feel heard, seen, important, and loved. When we personalize an Experience and make it feel as though it was designed just for that one person, we invite them to fully embrace our team and organization. Personalizing leads and shapes the positive memories of the Experience presented because it makes the individual feel like they matter.

Think about it. When was the last time you had a fully personalized Experience, especially in dining or hospitality? Did you feel special? This month, we will showcase ideas that you and your team can utilize to bring that feeling of specialness (something we like to call “designed magic”) to the Experience you’re creating across your system.

Maybe She’s Born with It…

The beauty industry may not be your first thought of where to turn when learning about the powers of personalization, but we’re here to show you how it can be relevant!

Take a peek at the Lip Lab in New York City. This lipstick haven guides customers through the ultimate personalization journey. A Lip Lab Artist helps you create your own personal shade, with a custom finish and scent. It’s made on the spot, and you walk out of the store with your very own lipstick made especially for you.

Too far from your healthcare frame of reference? Maybe this is a little closer: Curology is a San Diego-based custom acne treatment company. After sharing information about your skin, along with photos, their team of medical experts formulates a bottle of topical acne medication specific to your needs, assigns you a medical expert to coach you through your healing, and helps track your progress.

Both of these exemplars demonstrate how taking the time to get to know someone can, in turn, both personalize and improve the Experience you create.

These companies customize products on the spot. How might we personalize an Experience for a guest who is already in the building? What simple questions might we ask them at check-in to help personalize a better Experience?

I’ll Have a Glass of the “Made Just For Me”

Like whiskey, cheese, and beer, great wine can depend not only on the quality of the fruit, the soil, and the weather, but also on the palate of the consumer. Startup Vinome aims to bring wine lovers the taste that is most delicious to their palate based on their genetic makeup.

After completing a DNA test and a series of taste preference evaluations, Vinome unlocks your own personalized online wine shop with selections curated just for your taste – then delivers it right to your door.

Wine based on DNA is thinking outside the box. Think outside your own box and brainstorm ideas for personalization. What about a pillow program? Music selections? A way to identify new parents?

Coming Back for Shake Shack

Danny Meyer, the culinary genius behind restaurants such as Shake Shack and Union Square Cafe, knows that his customer loyalty doesn’t stem from great food but from the feeling of recognition he gives his customers. Personalization is a great tool for recognizing a customer or guest – it validates their existence and the part they play in the Experience. When you acknowledge the humanity behind the customer, they are more likely to return to your organization again and again. Much like in the culinary industry, there are many opportunities for Personalizing in health care: remembering guests by name, understanding and accommodating dietary restrictions, and offering unique Experiences for guests celebrating a special day.

In what ways could we recognize and remember guests?

Volume 16 – New Ways of Looking

Make the Invisible Visible

Cinematographer and friend of The Experience Lab, Louie Schwartzberg, has an uncanny way of shining light on what otherwise might be ignored or unseen. This video from STIR 2016 showcases his use of stunning time-lapse photography, as well as high-speed and nano-photography, to capture the movements in nature that are too small, slow, or fast for our eyes to process with normal vision. “I love to use film to take us on a journey through portals of time and space, to make the invisible visible… Who knows what waits to be seen, and what wonders will transform our lives?”

To learn more about bringing Visual Healing to your organization, please contact us at experience@advisory.com.

What details in our organizations could we be missing with our naked eye? What tools can we use to notice on a more detailed level where we have opportunities to grow, or where unexpected beauty exists?

The Future in Sight

Apps allow us to control our homes. Our music. Our communications. Our social lives. Why not our vision as well? Enter the Smart Glasses that can automatically adjust their focus with the press of a button. These liquid-filled beauties are controlled by a mobile app that only needs updated prescription information to remain accurate for the user.

“The major advantage of these smart eyeglasses is that once a person puts them on, the objects in front of the person always show clear, no matter at what distance the object is,” says Carlos Mastrangelo, the electrical and computer engineering professor leading the research along with doctoral student Nazmul Hasan.

This is good news for our ability to notice because Noticing, of course, requires seeing things clearly. By the age of 45 most of us will need glasses for reading, and those who do wear glasses will be changing prescriptions on a nearly annual basis. That’s a lot of time and money to ensure that we can see clearly. With these new smart glasses, you’ll never have to replace a prescription again, and you’ll be able to shift perspectives however you choose. These clunky spectacles may look a little odd to you now, but don’t fear; the team is still working on streamlining the design. The future is bright!

Why You Gotta Be So Rude?

Researchers have noticed that rudeness does more than affect doctors’ moods – it actually impacts performance. This New York Times piece examines the research and illustrates how health care professionals change how they behave and perform, despite their perception that they are immune to rudeness. Rudeness creates a negative environment, and it’s important to notice the energy around us and from where various influences come. To help prevent the negativity, we can look carefully for potential sparks for those behaviors. What sets people off? How is stress playing a role? What pressures can we help alleviate? Rudeness affects our spirit, morale, and behaviors. We need to notice it before it gets in the way of health and in the way of healing.

What might upset parents or patients in our hospitals? What about nurses and doctors? How can we help maintain a more positive environment by eliminating negative cues?

See the world differently? It could be in your genes.

Is your brain missing the art appreciation chip? It could be your genes. In this fascinating New York Magazine piece, the author explores a recent study in the Journal of Personality (and highlighted in New Scientist) that demonstrates how artists and creative people really do see the world differently.

In the study, volunteers took a personality test measuring their levels of extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness to Experience, as well as a vision test called the “binoculary rivalry” in which each eye takes in a different color and/or image. While most participants reported seeing one color at a time, others saw something else–the two dots merged together into a single, two-colored image. This handful of people also tested very highly on the “openness to new Experience” trait which is closely linked to creativity. The researchers argued that “openness is linked to differences in low-level visual perceptual Experience.” Lead author and psychologist Anna Antinori wrote, “Their brains are able to flexibly engage with less conventional solutions … We believe this is the first empirical evidence that they have different visual Experiences to the average individual.” We may in fact be hard-wired to notice things differently.

As leaders in your organizations, how might we utilize out various team members' abilities to see the world differently?

Volume 15 – Noticing Details Big and Small

Seeing with Sound

Sonic astrophysicist Wanda Diaz Merced studies the stars in an unconventional way—through listening. When she lost her sight halfway through her career, instead of losing hope, she got creative and found a new way to notice the stars about which she was so passionate. We often notice with our eyes, but how can we use our other senses to notice? Think about our workplaces and the Experiences we create there. How do other senses, such as sound or smell, shape the Experience of our internal and external customers? Think about your waiting spaces, offices, and lounge areas. Do they smell sterile and isolating? Do they feel warm and inviting? Are they loud or soothing? What kind of impressions do you get when you immerse yourself in those spaces and close your eyes?

The Anti-Noticing

While we may feel more distracted now than ever, the notion of distraction has been around since the beginning of humanity. Plato, Shakespeare, Homer, and even the Greek god Hercules, acknowledged and used distractions. This provocative piece in the Harvard Business Review by Michael Lipson explores the history of a distracted mind and shows how we can examine our own distractions to understand how to create greater focus.

Whether the tactic is used in meditation, in a meeting, or while trying to meet a deadline for an important report, Lipson, a clinical psychologist, agrees that when we intentionally acknowledge and notice our distraction, we have a choice to refocus on the task at hand instead of floating idly into mind-space.

This Week in “Big E Experience”: Keep Climbing

These days, air travel usually involves delays. Catalysts in The Experience Lab spend much of their time on Delta Airlines and learned first-hand how challenging it is when weather, technology, and systems do not go according to plan. Last year, Delta was featured in AdWeek thanks to its focus on both internal and external customer Experience. Their “4 AM” campaign was designed with early morning travelers in mind: “The idea is that the people who are transforming the world are the ones who are eager to get out in it. It’s not about us—it’s about what’s going on at 4 a.m. that these people are going to deal with.”

Delta handled their challenges from a weather event and crew shortages in a similar manner. As they remedied a broken situation in their logistics and operations, they also worked to understand what their customers were experiencing. With snacks and food for guests, extra apologies, larger-than-normal vouchers for displaced travelers, and employees working around the clock, they focused on customer Experience–knowing that they couldn’t make everyone happy but that they could improve the situation.

Delta shared many details of how they are learning from this Experience. It’s what we call “Experience Resilience,” and it’s as important in health care as it is in the airline industry.

In what ways does the happiness of team members find its way back to patients and guests? What broken situation has your team worked to remedy, and how could understanding Experience have helped provide a solution?

Spark Volume 14 – Noticing as a Leader

While the word on its own sounds passive, “Noticing” holds immense power in leadership. When we take the time to truly notice the actions, behaviors, and consequences of our own work and the work of those around us, we become responsible for addressing what we see, whether good or bad.

Noticing creates room for praise, for gratitude, for mentoring in the moment, and for growth opportunities. It takes an insightful individual to notice; it takes a leader to act on what he’s noticed.

The Beauty of Grating Cheese

To notice is to thoughtfully acknowledge what some may deem invisible. This thoughtful episode of This American Life uses its mastery in storytelling to address many topics that the average human may not notice. Most connected to the work we do is “Act Three: Stiff as a Board, Light as a Feather” where the then terminally ill David Rakoff, challenged by the loss of the use of his left arm, finds beauty in normal living that we don’t acknowledge or see until it’s too late—things like being able to grate cheese normally. So simple, so obvious – until you try it with one hand. David’s lighthearted approach to a challenging situation demonstrates how he saw life through a different lens and noticed how things worked in a wholly new way.

What are some tasks we do every day that we simply take for granted? What tools help us? What would happen without these tools?

To Thine Own Self Be True

What’s your superpower? Your kryptonite? How quickly could you answer those questions? This simple three-step guide to becoming self-aware from The Harvard Business Review doesn’t just talk about how important self-awareness is (that’s not a new insight), it talks about how to actually accomplish it. Great leaders don’t only notice those around them, they notice themselves through the careful practice and cultivation of self-awareness.

To boil it down, self-awareness really only requires three simple steps:

  1. We must understand our own makeup – our personalities, our strengths, and our habits.
  2. We must make a focused effort to observe our decisions and decision-making processes. What do we discover upon making these (sometimes difficult) observations?
  3. We must turn awareness outwards and use it as a tool for team building. When we know what our strengths and weaknesses are, we can better fill in the gaps on our teams.

Presence. Period.

Providers must not only be there for their patients, they must also be there with their patients. This provocative piece by esteemed medical thought leader Dr. Abraham Verghese encourages providers to notice not just a patient’s symptoms, but the patient as a whole, living, loving being.

Seeing the whole person requires careful and attentive Noticing. Verghese shares his experience of stopping in an art museum and slowly being pulled in as he observed the works. Time and again he stopped by, and each time discovered something new, saw something else, felt a new emotion. He applies this thinking to his medical work – what can you see when you truly notice? Did you notice the cigarette box outline in the pocket? The mother who had a skin condition? The look in a patient’s eyes? We must take in the whole person to make the Connection – we must be present. Patients and guests don’t only deserve this Noticing, they require it to heal and to thrive.

How present are you with your team members? Are you observing what is going on or are you more focused on the vibration of your phone in your pocket? What knowledge do you glean of people’s lives when giving them all of your ''Noticing'' energy? What are the invisible, but powerful, forces in our work that deserve noticing? Is it a daily technology that makes it possible to complete a task or project? Is it the cleaning crew that works the night shift to ensure a safe and clean space? What good might come from acknowledging them fully? How can you shed the right kind of light on these people or practices to ensure that you are not the only one who notices them?

SPARK Volume 13 – LOOKING at The Principle of Noticing

In today’s world, we are exposed to an endless amount of stimuli every day. It sometimes feels impossible to Notice: to truly see what’s there and what’s not. And, many times we don’t even realize that we become blinded to the everyday wonders around us. When we Notice the people, our environment, and our own actions in their purest form, we discover new beauties, new opportunities for growth, and new solutions.

Welcome to a month of opening your eyes to the magic that is already there; you may be surprised at what you find.

This Month in Big E Experience: Brain Training

We get it – Noticing can be hard when there’s so much on your plate. Not to fear. There’s an easy way to “win” the Noticing game: mindfulness. Mindfulness expert Cara Bradley equated Noticing to your brain’s bicep curl. Noticing encourages focusing on where you’re meant to be, both physically and mentally, in the present moment.

In fact, the entire purpose of meditation, one of the most common practices of mindfulness, is Noticing. Noticing breath. Noticing thoughts entering and exiting your brain. Noticing the ache in your hip or the itch on your cheek. When we notice, we tune into the most innate, raw, natural state of ourselves and our surroundings. And Noticing is catching on in the corporate world, too. As Bradley notes, “injecting a corporate culture with a fresh dose of mindfulness not only improves employees’ focus, but also their ability to manage stress and collaborate. Who wouldn’t want that?”

Take three minutes to practice Noticing within yourself. Sit in a comfortable position and set a timer on your phone. Close your eyes and breathe deeply – in through your nose and out through your mouth. Notice what the air feels like as it’s entering your nostrils. Notice where you feel like your breath is headed within your body with each inhale. Upon exhalation, notice what you’re letting go of besides the air. Is it stress? Is it concern? Is it a shopping list? Notice as you let them go and thank them for being there.

What Are You Missing?

World-renowned violinist Joshua Bell experimented with the power of Noticing when he played for 43 minutes in the Washington DC metro during rush hour – completely unnoticed. Over the course of the performance, only seven people stopped to listen, and he collected only $32 in his violin case.

This is a fantastic example of the need to notice the music all around us – to take the time to take time. With only so many moments in our day, it’s critical that we give ourselves permission and lead with the Intention to notice not just our surroundings but also the diverse elements that make up what’s surrounding us.

Think of a time you missed out on something because you were distracted, either personally or professionally? What got in the way? How might you stay present next time?

Empathetic Signage

“Children play here. Pick up after your dog.” If you noticed this sign on your morning walk, would you feel more compelled than usual to clean up? This is the power of empathetic signage, which business thought leader, Daniel Pink, masterfully brings to life in this recording of his PechaKucha presentation on signage. When we design solutions with human emotions in mind, we not only encourage empathy, but also lead customers and team members to change their behaviors for the better. Creating this type of signage and reaction takes dual-sided Noticing: not only did you have to notice the heart-wrenching dog sign, the individual who designed the sign had to notice that you are, in fact, human.

Spark Volume 12 – Reimagining Orchestration
 “You are a valuable instrument in the orchestration of
your own world, and the overall harmony of the universe.
Always be in command of your music. Only you can control
and shape its tone. If life throws you a few bad notes or
vibrations, don’t let them interrupt or alter your song.”
― Suzy Kassem

One of these Dots Is Not Like the Other

Orchestration is the invisible thread that pulls us together and ensures that every small part of our work, whether service, a team member, or a software system, unites as a cohesive whole. This month we explore ways to understand our own power as leaders, the keepers of the thread, of the “Big E Experience” works in our health care systems.

A Delightful Box

Monthly subscription boxes are all the rage, so making yours stand out is a challenge. Beauty product company BirchBox brilliantly realized that its sustainability as a business depended on placing the Orchestration of the customer Experience in the most savvy hands – those of its customer. Birchbox launched as a transformational company, giving consumers the beauty counter-sampling Experience, curated and shipped to their home each month. Because they are a mostly digital interface, BirchBox knew that in order to avoid fading into a fad they needed to become relevant, and what better way to do that than to put the entire power of the company in the hands of the consumer? Using customer input, they are able to tailor the Experience to the customer’s beauty preferences and then offer products that the customer might not have found themselves. By orchestrating and personalizing the Experience, BirchBox can delight its customers every time they open a box. Founder Katia Beauchamp divulged that she believes “if you’re going to do something discretionary, it’s the retailer’s responsibility to make it really delightful.”

How can we orchestrate a personalized Experience for our internal and external customers? As a leader, how can you invite others to provide input?

Loves me. Loves me not. Loves me.

The good ol’ “I love you” or “I’m sorry” flowers at the door are being totally reimagined by Austin-based flower delivery company Urban Stems. A phrase we normally save for the dining or hotel Experience, “perfectly orchestrated,” can now apply to the floral industry as well.

Urban Stems allows you to pick the type of bouquet being delivered based on color, occasion, and price. Upon making the delivery, the delivery person takes a photo of the flowers with the destination in the background to confirm that they were hand delivered. It’s a personal touch that feels as close to delivering them yourself as technology allows.

What Experience could you re-orchestrate to make better? How is flower delivery handled? What is your visitor process? Brainstorm areas where small changes could make a big difference.

Don’t Go to the Show; Be the Show

In an era where smartphones and other devices are dramatically changing how concert-goers Experience a live show, musicians need a way to engage the consumer like never before. Enter Taylor Swift. The pop sensation forever changed the live music Experience with her 1989 World Tour by introducing a wearable bracelet that came to life with the music and made the viewer a part of the concert through its magical light show. Bracelets were handed out to every single concert-goer, so whether you were in the front row or in nosebleed seats, you were an important element of the Orchestration. Users could not control the bracelet, so each occurrence of its pulsing and changing colors was a delight, creating a personal and stadium-wide Experience. All orchestrated by the music. Talk about shaking it up.

SPARK Volume 11 – Orchestration Done Right

A well-orchestrated Experience is the mode by which two feelings are delivered: surprise and delight. We create a lasting impression for those we serve when we stage a positive and memorable moment.

Disney’s Experience Spark

Never underestimate the power of a pin. A simple birthday pin is the spark to some of Disney’s most customized and memorable guest Experiences. Disney prides itself on the Orchestration of intentional, personal details. When “cast members” at Disney see a birthday pin on a guest, they know to create a birthday Experience during interactions with characters, restaurants, and rides. It’s clear that technology allows for more of this type of customized Orchestration to happen (think RFID hospital bands providing medical and personal information to each team member with whom a patient comes into contact). What can’t be overlooked, though, is the simplistic power of physical and human design. This little pin triggers the Disney cast members to stage a positive and memorable moment that often becomes the hallmark of the Experience.

What are easy ways for you to set a custom Experience in motion? Speaking of birthdays, how are you making your team members’ personal days special?

Transparent Leather

What do you do after facing a scandal? “Throw open your doors and share your guts” might not be your first choice, but it was for Detroit-based Shinola, a luxury leather retailer. In order to keep their customers and earn back their trust they added a small glassed-in workshop to their Detroit flagship to promote the transparency of how their products are made. Then Shinola even went a step further to ensure they were transparent to all of their customers.

Using the power of virtual reality and celebrity influence, Shinola orchestrated a 360-degree tour of their main factory in Detroit featuring actor Luke Wilson to encourage all customers to look into the “guts” of the company. Aligning their brick-and-mortar goal to be transparent with customers with their international online customer base required Orchestration across locations and across platforms, but it paid off. Shinola remains one of the most sought-after leather goods companies in the nation.

Why Behind the Scenes Matters

You can learn the value of honoring and valuing each individual part of the “machine” that is your organization from dishwasher Ali Sonko. One of the highest paid team members at Copenhagen’s Michelin-starred restaurant Noma, Sonko was made a partial owner of the culinary “temple” last year. Why? The owner of Noma explained that Sonko, who has remained a dishwasher his entire 13-year career at the restaurant, “holds as much respect as the best head chef… because of his engaging personality, his work ethic, and his dedication to doing the job right.”

As we hinted in our introduction to Orchestration, the sum of the parts is only as strong as each individual stakeholder; an organization is not just judged on “Experience” as a whole, it’s judged on how each nurse, each administrator, and each facilities specialist adds to the patient’s Experience.

Orchestrating Without Words – The Ignorant Maestro in Action

How much can you say without speaking? This charming TED Talk with conductor and author of this month’s book, The Ignorant Maestro, Itay Talgam, shows us how six great 20th century conductors rise to the challenge with their own unique styles. Great conductors use small gestures to create perfect harmony while bringing out the best in their musicians. Each player feels special and valued, plays their unique part, and is absolutely essential to creating the great joy of music.

Use this video to spark conversation around the book and leadership styles. How can you enable others through your leadership? How can the Experience of working together become joyful?

SPARK Volume 10 – Orchestration as a Leader
”Action without orchestration is burn out; orchestration without action is
management; action with orchestration is leadership.” 
― Orrin Woodward

Finding the One Moment

This mind-blowing video, “The One Moment,” from Chicago rock band OK-Go shows more than musical Orchestration – it shows life’s Orchestration. OK-Go’s thoroughly crafted music videos paired with upbeat, catchy songs tend to go viral immediately when they hit YouTube. They have a knack for striking a human chord right along with their musical chords. With more than 22 million views, this video and its Rube Goldberg machine-inspired wonder and is well worth the watch.

The song behind the incredible video digs into something deeper that parallels perfectly with the visual cues. Frontman Damian Kulash explains in the video’s credits that the song is a “celebration of (and a prayer for) those moments in life when we are most alive. Humans are not equipped to understand our own temporariness; it will never stop being deeply beautiful, deeply confusing, and deeply sad that our lives and our world are so fleeting. We have only these few moments. Luckily, among them there are a few that really matter, and it’s our job to find them.”

When we are the leaders, or conductors, of the work we do every day, we have the potential to surprise ourselves and our team members alike. How can you orchestrate surprise and child-like wonder into some of your everyday processes?

Coffee that’s Creating Buzz

San Francisco-based Philz Coffee isn’t just perfectly orchestrating their own customer journey, they’re orchestrating the internal customer journey as well. Purveyors of “slow coffee” that is hand-brewed to order, Philz is disrupting our expectations of the coffee-ordering and -drinking Experience.

They’re also disrupting the traditional journey of their internal customers – their employees – by orchestrating a whole new kind of application process. Applicants are invited to make a video and answer the question “why do you want to work at Philz?” Philz’s aim is to encourage applicants to share their stories and add more personalization that could never be captured on a resume. When candidates make their videos, they feel a more meaningful, personal connection with their potential future employer. For a company with a mission to “better people’s day,” helping applicants connect to and enjoy the hiring process is the perfectly orchestrated Experience.

How can you extend a well-orchestrated Experience from your customers to your team members?

Engineered Moments

Doug Stephens, founder of Retail Prophet, wrote in an article that the future of retail lies in “engineered moments” (aka Orchestration). Customer Experience must be engaging, unique, personalized, surprising, and repeatable in order to expand from being a series of well-orchestrated moments to a memorable brand.

We can extend these secrets to retail success into health care with great ease. Instead of selling product, our trade is wellness.

SPARK Volume 09 – Orchestration as a Leader
”You can’t play a symphony alone. It takes an orchestra to play.” – Navjot Sidhu


Welcome to March and our exploration of the leading principle Orchestration. An Orchestra is a beautiful metaphor for Experience Design as we are all players in the symphony of healing. As a leader, you are the conductor. You set the intention for how your team or organization moves forward, and you cultivate the success of those surrounding you. You set the tempo, bring the strategy or score to life, make adjustments to tone and feeling, and inspire individuals to create a harmonic whole. It is a role that takes constant attention and care; a role that requires you to recognize the part that each individual plays and what gifts and talents they bring to the greater result.

Orchestration and the Symphony of Healing

This month, we dive into the concept of what it means to intentionally connect the dots to ensure a seamless, harmonic, orchestrated Experience. We also explore the parallels of music and conductors. How does a conductor lead without speaking? What are some of their techniques for bringing out the best in their musicians? How is the whole of a symphony greater than the sum of its individual instrumentalists? As we explore the principle of Orchestration we will also look inward at our own organizations. We, too, are not defined by a single “instrument” or “musician”—our brilliance is when physicians, nurses, technicians, and administrators work together for a harmonic whole. We are defined by the Experience created by our entire orchestra of virtuosos. Just as one violinist may be the very best in the field, it’s the coming together of all instruments that makes an orchestra magical. So it is for us—a bedside caregiver is only as great as the many experts who come together in service of the entire Experience for that patient.

How to Lead Your Orchestra

There are invaluable lessons to be learned from conductors, and, in this piece, author, thought leader, and publisher Michael Hyatt shares the eight lessons that he gleaned from renowned conductor Hugh Wolff. These simple lessons can be applied to all of our work as leaders of teams: you must have a plan, recruit the best players, make your work visible, lead with the heart, delegate intelligently, be aware of your gestures and impact, keep your back to the audience, and share the spotlight.

Leading in this way creates a harmony not only in the way we work but also in the way our work is seen and understood. Whether you lead a team of business minds or health care practitioners, these eight guidelines ensure your success among your team members and hearken back to starting with Intention and finding ways to connect the work and the people behind the work.

How are you conducting your team? What are you saying without speaking? When is the last time you openly shared the spotlight?

What does a Healing Orchestra Sound Like?

“Unnecessary noise is the cruelest absence of care,” observed Florence Nightingale, long before hospitals reached their current cacophony of noise that, according to this fascinating article, can hit more than 100 decibels at night. 100 decibels! The good news? We can tune into the soundscape and make improvements.

With every beep, whirr, and ring, we have an opportunity to better coordinate and expedite healing. With the evolution of hospital design, more attention is being paid to the overall sound Experience and how it affects healing. Hospitals and doctors are coming together with researchers and musicians to explore the ideas of alarm fatigue, nighttime disturbance, and the role that technology can play in making improvements.

Friend of The Experience Lab, Yoko K. Sen, takes our focus on the sensory Experience in health care to the next level with her innovative Orchestration of noisy medical tools, ensuring that not only patients but also team members have a space to focus and recharge. Yoko is helping to push wearables to the forefront to mitigate the alarm fatigue and is seeking new ways to turn the discordant noises of the hospital into a gentle healing symphony.

Join: Yoko Sen is conducting Sound Salons as part of The Experience Lab. Please let us know if you are interested in joining one.

What does your office sound like? What does your hospital sound like? How does it make you feel?

SPARK Volume 08 – Connecting Point B and Point L

One of These Dots is Not Like the Other

Using disparate examples of football, transportation, and security, this Forbes article delves into the power that Connection has on the road to innovation. Connecting unexpected elements of our industries (e.g. Uber’s Connection of smartphones to freelance drivers) paves the way for brand new opportunities to build trust and loyalty with customers. Connection is a powerful leadership tool – leaders must serve as the vision between point B and point L even though our gut instinct is not to connect the two. Through connecting seemingly unlike dots, we find new purpose and new solutions.

The Trust Economy

Success of innovative Connections depends solely on a new form of currency in today’s economy: Trust. This TED Talk by Oxford University’s Rachel Botsman explores how the world’s most successful companies not only have built customer trust but truly depend on trust from a financial perspective. Take Airbnb – the company would be nothing if they weren’t able to foster a sense of worldwide trust between strangers (the host and the guest) through their platform.

How are you actively fostering a sense of trust, not only for your patients but also for your providers, team members, and guests?

In the Spotlight: Lesley Wilson on Connection

Associate Chief Experience Officer at UC San Diego Health

The Experience Lab (TEL): What does the principle of Connection mean to you and your organization?

Lesley Wilson (LW) Connecting is one of our four foundational Experience Intentions at UC San Diego Health. We use the notion of Connecting as ‘being a bridge’ in our theme and declaration. When we explain and explore this concept with our teams, it’s not only about human connections with one another, but it’s also about how we show up and connect with our patients and guests – as well as connecting to the purpose of the work we are doing. And it always includes empathy and hospitality throughout. Hospitality lives in connecting.

TEL: How do you apply the principle?

LW: We create actionable and tangible ways to bring Connecting to life throughout our organization.  From finding new ways to connect during rounding, to revisiting our communication framework, to exploring how to best connect through our email communications—we seek to create bridges. We also focus on Big E Experience; everyone’s Experience matters, and we have created Joy Events within our Connecting Intention that encourage our team members to interact with one another in thoughtful, creative ways.

We have also created a forum for monthly Experience leadership sessions where we invite leaders to come together in person, despite all the latest technologies available, because we are committed to the human interaction. We value seeing each other and having face-to-face conversations. We focus on topics such as hospitality, partnership, and fostering trust—and we practice techniques like the improv tool ‘Yes, And…’ all with the aim to create a shared understanding. Because once we have a shared understanding, we can bridge to what’s possible.

TEL: What advice do you have for other Lab Partners?

LW: We are still so early in this journey. I think we are very often eager for the next tools or tactics, and yet what we really need is teaching, sharing, and discovering WHY this work is so important. You can ask someone to be a connector, but it has to tap into a deep human level, that raw emotion and feeling, to make a connection. Rather than train, let’s aim to inspire people to want to make that connection—to want to look up and smile—and take the opportunity to be the bridge for others.

Connecting Back to our Roots

Relying on technology to build Connections is not a surefire win. We know that while humans are hardwired to connect, technology designed to foster those Connections has, paradoxically, created a disconnect among us. Connection must be built in a nuanced way, because relying too much on the creative connective properties of the tech world separates us from our most innate human Connection to each other. It might not be easy to find a happy medium, but when we hit the right compromise of using technology to actually enhance in-person, human Connections…it works.

SPARK Volume 07 – Connection in Action Inside/Outside Health Care

The Conversation Placebo

Can a doctor heal patients just by talking with them? Sounds a little bit dubious, but not so far-fetched when you consider the power of conversation and Connections. In this provocative NY Times article, author Danielle Ofri explores the important role of conversation in the patient-physician relationship and argues that words can create a placebo effect. Connection that takes place when conversation leads the way is more powerful than we know. In fact, face-to-face conversation encourages one of the most important Connections in our industry: the healing Connection. A few years back, Canadian researchers found that the mere act of having understanding and encouraging communication with patients decreased their pain by 55%. The “conversation placebo” relieves suffering and expedites recovery.

This literal application of the conversation placebo can be applied in more environments than just the patient room. When we use intentional, fully present conversations as a tool to connect with our team members, their anxieties, concerns, and obstacles are alleviated.

Take Time for Tea Time

Tea time did not become a ritual just for an afternoon pick-me-up. In fact, the tea ceremony dates back to the 9th Century and is not focused on the consumption of tea at all; tea is for serving. It’s a symbol of hospitality and of creating a positive Experience for your guests. It is a simple and restrained ceremony designed to create harmony. Each movement is carefully considered from both the host’s and guest’s point of view. It is a time set aside to honor the past through tradition and celebrate the present through thoughtful human Connection.

There’s great reciprocity in the tea ceremony – and in the work done in health care. In the hospital or medical office, there is always the server of the tea (the provider) and the individual being served the tea (the patient, guest, or family member). Our organizations should be a symbol of our hospitality as well. We must ensure that the sole purpose of the Connections we make in our organizations is not driven purely by the desire to “fix” whatever is “broken” with our patients and guests. Instead, the goal should be to honor their past, be in the present, and ensure that they have the most positive experience possible.

What possibilities are realized when you take the effort, time, and care to sit down with one of your fellow team members for tea? How do you ensure that you are creating the most memorable Experience for them and honor their needs?

EQ, Not IQ

“According to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report, emotional intelligence will be one of the top 10 job skills in 2020.” We found this eye-opening stat in a great piece in Fast CompanyWhen we place value in someone’s ability to forge Connections and label that as a strength, we build great leaders and great teams. What once was deemed a “soft skill,” emotional intelligence is increasingly one of your greatest professional assets.

Celebrating you and your team’s ability to lead in a way that’s not only cognitively but also emotionally intelligent helps create meaning in your work each and every day. Emotionally intelligent individuals are not only better at connecting with others, they’re better at connecting a problem to the best solution.

When we tune into the way in which we are connected to everyone and everything around us, we create more compassionate services and servants. Our Connection to the universal “we” helps us find greater meaning in our purpose within our organizations.

Share a Cup

How do you get people to connect and share success stories with each other? You set up a giant cup of coffee on the street and ask people to hop in and chat, of course! It’s incredible what you learn over, and sometimes inside, a cup.

SPARK Volume 06 – Applying Connection as a Leader

Making a Magical Connection

It takes at least seven minutes to have a true, Connected conversation. In an age where technology buzzes, pings, and interrupts us on a nearly continual basis, this finding by social psychologist Sherry Turkle inspires us to think about how we can practice Connection. She discusses conversation and gives us some ideas about how to make it happen in this podcast from the Note to Self series “Infomagical.”

What does it take to have a truly human, face-to-face interaction for seven minutes these days? Why seven minutes? It takes that long to get past the settling in – the initial chat – and really dig into the meat of the conversation.

As leaders, when we encourage our team members to truly connect, and take the time to do it right, we create a Connection culture – a culture where Connections are sought after because they create valuable interactions. We know it’s not easy to remove all of the dings,  mental distractions, and alerts, urging us to send a text. It seems so much easier to shoot off a quick note and be done with it. But, creating human Connections opens the door to so much more – and is truly time well spent.

Try this: Have a full seven-minute face-to-face conversation with someone - no phone, computer, or device - and discuss something you've heard, read, or watched. What is the hardest part about this exercise? What did you discover that you would have missed if you had Connected for only a minute?

Google’s Search for the Magic Team Formula

The folks over at Google launched an extensive project – codename “Project Aristotle” – to determine the magic formula for teamwork. After years of intense analysis, they discovered the key is just plain ol’ being nice. It’s not so much about who is on the team, but how team members interact and what kind of environment that creates and fosters teamwork.

Google shows us the incredible importance of taking the time to understand others – finding a way to relate and then making yourself understood – in other words, making a Connection. With Project Aristotle, the Google team thought it would surely be the mix of people on the team that determined its success, and then they spent several years proving themselves “dead wrong.” Once they began to realize what was going on, they tested the concept with a team leader, who had recently been diagnosed with cancer. After initial silence, the team began to share stories, connect, and create a safe environment where members felt comfortable sharing their own stories. Once everyone shares the belief that it’s safe to take risks and contribute ideas, that’s when the magic happens. Read the whole story here.

How do you make Connections to create a sharing environment for your teams? How could you better invite people to connect?

“I’m sorry. We’re out of snapper.”

Bridging Hospitality and Technology

When Experience Design expert and restaurateur Danny Meyer reopened his infamous Union Square Cafe, he did so through the lens of Connection. Bridging the gap between dining and technology, Meyer partnered with a reservation system startup to create an Apple Watch app that pings every manager in the restaurant when there is a potential moment for service recovery. For example, if a menu item runs out in the kitchen, the managers can inform their guests ahead of time and provide them with an alternative suggestion so as not to disappoint.

This technology, aimed to enhance human Connections, also provides opportunities to create small moments of surprise and delight for diners; when the managers are pinged that the guests are signing their check, the host can retrieve the guests’ coats and have them ready when the guests exit.

If technology can create Connection in fine dining, how can it be applied to health care? We have so many opportunities to enhance the Connective Experience we create in our organizations – sometimes we just have to think outside the box.

Brainstorm! What could an app be programmed to tell your team members that might enhance their daily experience? How could it be programmed to enhance the patient experience?

SPARK Volume 05 – The Power of Connection

Connection. It’s the energy that ties you to a person, a place, a memory – a relationship to your team members, to yourself, and to your work. It is one of the most vital aspects of our existence.

When we use last month’s principle of Intention, as a guide and decision filter, something powerful happens – we are connected to a greater whole. It’s no surprise, then, as we wrap up our focus on Intention that we are moving next into the principle of Connection.

As leaders, we are the connective tissue and the bridge between people, between partners, and between goals. Understanding and creating a connection across all of the disciplines in the work you do ensures that all of the pieces fit into the whole we’re aiming to make: a better Experience for our team members, providers, patients, and guests. A better healthcare Experience.

While Intention is a practice that can be done solitarily, Connection, by definition, requires an “other” – another person, another team, another goal we’re trying to reach. When we make the connection and connect the dots, we are bridging the gap of the unknown. We are the glue.

Healing requires connections. Between doctors and patients. Between patients and family members. Between the many members of care teams. These are the connections that define your patients’ memories of your hospital. When their family thinks of your organization, they remember the way your triage team held their loved one’s hand and told them they were going to heal.

Write down the people and things you feel the strongest Connection with. What strength are you providing the people and what sustenance are they providing you? How do you maintain this Connection over time?

Eyes on Connection

We can’t stop watching this intense video by artist Marina Abramovic. As part of a retrospective at the MoMA, Marina created a live exhibit in which she would simply sit and look into complete stranger’s eyes without speaking for one uninterrupted minute. Strangers can form deep Connections with their eyes alone. What she didn’t know was that her former lover and fellow artist, Ulay, whom she hadn’t seen since the 1970s, was waiting to look into her eyes again.

What it sparks: Without uttering a word, we can feel the sparks fly and the Connection crackle between Ulay and Marina. Researchers at Cornell University recently scientifically proved that looking into the eyes of another fosters a sense of Connection. The study found that “only actual eye contact fully activates those parts of the brain that allow us to more acutely and accurately process another person’s feelings and Intentions.” When you take a moment to truly see someone, you will understand the power of eye contact in making a Connection. Try it with your team. Pair off. Look with just your eyes and no words and see what kind of Connections you can make.

The Power of Human Connection

This beautiful and powerful thank-you note and subsequent New York Times article brought us to tears. Last October, Peter DeMarco wrote an incredible letter about his wife, Laura Levis, after her passing. He vulnerably shared their experience at Cambridge Hospital by way of a thank-you note to his wife’s care team. What he shared not only underlined the importance of how the team treated her family and him, the grieving, frightened, madly-in-love patient advocate, but also, a Connection that might be overlooked: the way the care team allowed Peter to connect with Laura.

“There is another moment – actually, a single hour – that I will never forget…when I returned, [her nurses Donna and Jen] had shifted Laura to the right side of her bed, leaving just enough room for me to crawl in with her one last time. It was our last tender moment as a husband and wife, and it was more natural and pure and comforting than anything I’ve ever felt…I will remember that last hour together for the rest of my life. It was a gift beyond gift, and I have Donna and Jen to thank for it.” Read the whole piece here.

Think of a time in your life that you made an incredibly powerful connection. Did someone else help you make that connection? How could you enable connections every day?

Grab and Go Shopping Arrives

This past week, Amazon continued to show us what LEADING for Experience is and opened its doors to a whole new way to shop. And, the world sat up and took notice. Amazon Go, the first-ever no-checkout convenience store uses the Amazon Go app to check in shoppers as they enter. It is an example of Connection at its best – Connecting to the convenience of what consumers want.  You simply walk around, take what you want, and walk out. No one chases after you because AI algorithms track you and everything you pick up and keep. If you put something back, cameras track that too. When you leave, the app simply charges your Amazon account for whatever is in your bag. Although it’s still in beta, Amazon Go is truly flipping the industry on end and changing the Connection with customers with this cutting edge, highly orchestrated Experience. We can’t wait to see what’s next.

SPARK Volume 04 – Intention-filled Leadership

Manifest Destiny

How long does it take for an Intention to really manifest? Staying true to your personal or organizational Intention – and using that Intention as a decision filter and guide – isn’t easy. In this, your fourth Spark, we explore new dimensions of this Experience principle. Putting Intention into action takes time and requires continuous focus, effort, and attention. Using Intention as your guide is like creating a new habit. Studies show that it takes from 18 days to more than 18 weeks to truly create change or forge a new practice or habit. With time, using Intention as your North Star and organizational guide becomes second nature and makes it easier to create meaningful and memorable moments for Experience team members, providers, patients, and guests.

Proof in the (Apple) Pudding

What it is: This amazing video from Apple gives us a little insight into how Apple works its magic. Over and over again, they have demonstrated what it means to design with Intention – to design products with clarity of purpose and ultimately create experiences, feelings, and memories that matter. Why is Apple so successful? Because they design their products and brand, and lead the industry, with Intention at every level. Overarching intent is easy. The hard part is driving that conscious decision-making through every little choice in the process. Good designers have a clear sense of the overall purpose of their creation; great designers can say, “This is why we made that decision” about a thousand details.

What it sparks: We were struck by the simplicity of this video which perfectly reflects the simplicity and intuitive nature of Apple products and their user Experience. The viewer can’t help but be mesmerized by the crisp and beautiful black and white animation and clear message. The video helps us understand Intention through a very simple question: What do we want people to feel? Apple asks that question and then designs every single element through that Intention. And when we have a clear Intention – when we know exactly what we are aiming for – to stay true, we may have to say “no” a whole lot more than we say “yes.”

What are you currently doing to manifest your organization’s Intention? How do you use that Intention to say “no” to that which does not fit? How does Intention help you make decisions about your people, your processes, and your physical places?

Long Live Intention

What it is: Organizational leadership through Intention is not new in business.  In this McKinsey award-winning Harvard Business Review article, the authors discuss that by using Intention-setting as a strategy, we set stretch targets and are forced to innovate to get there. Their case is made by comparing many straight-revenue, cost-cutting-focused Western companies with their Japanese counterparts who “invariably began with ambitions that were out of all proportion to their resources and capabilities…”

What it sparks: What the article is explaining is that these “winning” companies started by setting an Intention to be the best version of themselves. We can do that too and start small: with ourselves. What does the best version of you look like as a leader? How can you set an Intention to be that version of yourself every moment?

Try this: Have your team visualize their best selves – set free from budget or time constraints. Ask them to answer why this version of themselves is better than where they are now. It could be more patient. More compassionate. More grateful. More resourceful. Now take the “whys” and help them shift those into an Intention for doing the work.

Try this: Have your team visualize their best selves – set free from budget or time constraints. Ask them to answer why this version of themselves is better than where they are now. It could be more patient. More compassionate. More grateful. More resourceful. Now take the "whys" and help them shift those into an Intention for doing the work.

SPARK Volume 03 – Allow Intention to Be Your Guide

Are you enjoying the opportunity to explore and examine the power of Intention?

Communicating and leading with Intention is one of the most powerful ways to catalyze positive change in your teams and across your organizations.

“Is everything OK with your dinner?” Finding Happiness through Intentional Communication

“Unhappiness compounds…the solution is pretty simple: address the unhappiness.” That cut-to-the-chase advice comes from marketing guru, internet pioneer, entrepreneur, and best-selling author, Seth Godin. His blog inspires us to dig deep and think about true communication – air out the unhappiness.

Unaddressed, unhappiness compounds into frustration. And frustration is a soul killer – as Seth puts it, “the destroyer of worker and customer relationships, loyalty, and progress.” The interesting thing is that just the act of acknowledging unhappiness is sometimes all it takes to improve it. But, you have to communicate! And, true communication – actual Intention and action in digging deeper – is difficult work. Don’t be like the waitress who by rote asks “Is everything ok with your dinner?” but really has no intention of finding out. Dig deeper. Find out if everything really is ok. It’s hard work, but it’s worth it. Read more of Seth’s wisdom on his blog.

When was the last time you really tried to unearth unhappiness? How can you listen better to improve communications?

Super High-Tech Bands Delight Carnival Cruise Guests

What it is: Carnival Cruise Lines’ “Ocean Medallions” are reimagining the guest Experience on Carnival Cruise Lines. And people love it.

Two former Disney executives brought their expertise of high-tech personalization to Carnival with the use of wearables and an app to match. [Aimed to serve as a real-time concierge,] the “Ocean Medallions” allow passengers to travel effortlessly throughout the ship and serve as a room key, payment method, food and beverage ordering service, and, perhaps most impressively, a notification mechanism for team members to know who is watching live performances. (Imagine watching a live show and having the actors call out to your children by name.) Their intention? Not surprisingly, “to delight and surprise [their] guests.”

What it sparksHow might we use Carnival’s Intention to “surprise and delight” as a spark to innovate in our own industry or organizations?

Consider a specific element of the team member, provider, patient, or guest Experience and use surprise or delight as your design tool and decision filter. What touches – large or small – could be built in to provide an unexpected joy?

How the Power of Intention Can Help You Learn Better

This insightful PBS piece reveals just how powerful listening and observing with Intention can be. When we root our listening and observing with a clear purpose, we create rich, remembered, meaningful experiences. We can’t just hear what our colleagues are saying, we must make meaning of it. We can’t just “see” our surroundings, we must approach what we’re seeing with purpose. Read it here.

SPARK Volume 02 – Bringing Intention to Life

This week, we’ll continue our deep dive into the power of Intention. If you missed last week’s Spark, get caught up here.

Walking the Walk: Living Out Intention

The importance Intention holds has existed for much of history. Socrates shared that “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” And that is what we are here to do. To build anew. To heal health care. From the Inside Out.

Remember how we choose to define Intention in our work: the values and priorities that allow a person, a team, a process, or a system to heal.

Socrates didn’t have just one quotable line when it came to Intention; it’s clear that his work and life were devoted to exploring the power of Intention in action. A powerful example of this shows up in his Socratic Paradoxes:

  • No one desires evil.
  • No one errs or does wrong willingly or knowingly.
  • Virtue – all virtue – is knowledge.
  • Virtue is sufficient for happiness.

What we see here are four statements that describe the good of humanity because of their usage of Intention. It is through setting an Intention and living that Intention that we find our way to happiness, goodness, and success.

How are you building the new instead of fighting the old on your journey to transform health care from the inside out? Are there certain challenges or obstacles in your work that you dwell on instead of seeking out opportunities for new growth and new potential?

The Power of Why We Work

If your experience program is focusing too much on metrics and not enough on change, it is most likely missing the mark. In a December 2016 Harvard Business Review article, Ryan Smith and Luke Williams, co-founder and head of Customer Experience at Qualtrics, unbundle aim and Intention from measures and metrics. They suggest that:

  • Experience must be based on change that is rooted in the why of work.
  • Experiences must add value, have purpose, and be about meaningful change – not just about measurement.

All organizations rely on data to mark progress toward goals and ensure that Intention is activated in service of a better outcome. When it comes to Big E Experience in health care – creating meaningful and memorable experiences for team members, providers, patients, and guests – our Intention sets us on the positive path for change and our data helps us verify we haven’t strayed from the path.

Extra (Extra, Extra, Extra, Extra) Ordinary

What it is: Writer, Director, and friend of The Experience Lab, Brad Montague, set a very clear Intention when he began his work with younger brother-in-law Robby: to bring childlike wonder to the lives of all humans, no matter their age. The result of their Intention was a wildly popular YouTube video series called Kid President. Kid President shares uplifting and inspiring messages to remind all viewers that we can use the power of positive Intentions to leave the world better than we find it.

When we think of bettering the world, we often think of heroes. Watch this Kid President video as a reminder that heroes are made when ordinary people – like all of us – decide to be extra-ordinary (or extra, extra, extra ordinary).

What it Sparks: Health care is a life-changing industry filled with heroes who literally save lives every day. When we don’t live each day with the Intention to see those we lead and those we serve as heroes, we risk critical players on our teams falling into the shadows.

How are you using Intention to guide the way you truly see each and every team member as a hero in your organization? How are you ensuring that each team member realizes his or her true hero-ness?

SPARK Volume 01 – Beginning with Intention

We are thrilled to welcome you to The Experience Lab! Please enjoy your Spark Volume 1, the first of your weekly Experience Essentials Sparks. This freshly curated collection is meant to inspire you to think, encourage you to take action, and provoke change. Share it with your team. Add something new to your day. Try incorporating just one new element and see what happens.

Sparks will be sent to your inbox every Tuesday from essentials@advisory.com.

The Power of Intention in Yourself and Your Teams

January is a time of fresh starts and what better time is there to talk about intention? Setting an intention is at the heart of leading a cohesive, connected and orchestrated Experience for all.

When you search for “intention” in the dictionary, you may be surprised by what you find.

At The Experience Lab, we define intention as the heart of what we call character – the values, norms, and priorities that drive actions and choices. To set intention is to create a clear direction that serves as a filter for how you and your organization will move forward amidst a sea of choices. Interestingly, when we checked with Merriam-Webster, we found some additional definitions.

While the most used definition is “a thing intended; an aim or a plan,” an alternate meaning is “the healing process of a wound.” So, intention has been part of medicine all along! It refers to the scientific way that our bodies heal; the initial union of the edges of the wound. When we combine the two meanings of intention, we get to the very fitting and powerful definition we’d like you to use when enjoying this week’s SPARK:

The values and priorities that allow a person, a team, a process, or a system to heal.

Let’s visualize the healing of the wound – the coming together of its edges. In our organizations, the edges of our wounds are often our people and our processes. When we allow ourselves to set an intention that guides our work each day, we are giving our people and our processes permission to come together. When our people understand the why behind decisions or changes being made, they can accept, adapt, and heal.

So, get very clear on what your intentions are. Set your north star. Take aim. Then make it happen. Intention is how you can bring your organization together.

Manifesto x 2

What it is: Sitting on the steps of Union Square in New York City, brothers Dave and Mike Radparvar decided to write down how they define success. The goal was to create something they could reflect on, and the result was a viral smash success and the launchpad for their brand, the Holstee Manifesto.

What it sparks: A manifesto is a megaphone for intention. The Holstee Manifesto speaks the unapologizing truth about what matters most and is a perfect example of how a series of intentions built a successful business model. There wasn’t a product to sell or a service to provide until the Manifesto was defined, published, and shared with the world. We never know with how many hearts and minds our intentions will resonate. The Holstee Manifesto has now been translated into 14 (and counting) languages.

Getting inspired by manifestos? Want to understand the journey more? Explore The Unbusy Manifesto, another great example of an intention-filled manifesto from Jonathon Fields.

If you wrote your own manifesto, what would it say? What matters most? Writing a manifesto is a journey, but why not start? Invite input from your team and see what resonates.

Sing and Dance While the Music Plays

How do we look at our life? Is it a journey? Where are we trying to go? If we focus only on end goals, what happens to our life every day and what do we miss? This powerful video shares British philosopher and theologist Alan Watt’s thoughts on the journey of intentional living as it relates to music and dance. Perhaps it’s not where we are going, after all, it’s how we get there: the pure enjoyment of playing the music or performing the dance. We love this video and invite you to watch it; because the easiest way to reflect on the intention you have for your work is to first reflect on your intention for living. Start now.

What would you notice if you started living more for right now? Instead of only focusing on the long term, write down three things you intend to do today that could add to your happiness. Then do them.