Principle: Joy


Joy is not just an emotion. It’s a positive response that lights up your soul and emanates when something good happens to us or those around us. We find Joy in facial expressions, smiles, and laughter as well as in our hearts and our actions. It is a choice that we can make every day when we choose to show up in a place of possibility. And the beautiful thing about Joy is that it is contagious. As we bring Joy to life, it spreads to others. Scattering, spreading, and sharing Joy is delightfully simple.

How Joy Fits into LOVING

Joy is at the heart of LOVING. When we make the conscious choice for Joy, we choose to LOVE. And when we choose to LOVE, we change the world.


Why We LOVE Mr. Rogers

When looking for a little comfort and Joy, we can always count on Mr. Rogers to deliver. This piece from The Greater Good helps us consider why, particularly now, he is such a magnetic force of good. Yes Mr. Rogers modeled kindness and helped us think about our feelings, yet what really mattered most is what he stated over and over again: “You are special” and “I like you just the way you are.”

During every show, he told each and every one of us that we are worthy of LOVE just by being our true authentic individual selves. He confirmed that we are enough. And in a time that all too often seems to be bubbling over with that which is less than civil, less than kind, less than lovely – this is a perfect truth to remember: we are all lovable.

Oh, Joyful Sound!

A team of neuroscientists set off to find the most joyful song ever recorded and found that there was one song that met all of their happiness criteria: “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen. After studying the lyrics, tone, tempo, and key, the University of Missouri team found that the secret to a feel-good song is in its beats per minute (BPM). Clocking in at 157 BPM, compared to the typical pop song’s 118 BPM, “Don’t Stop Me Now” is an instant way to uplift the soul. A hit since its release in 1978, the song proves that Joy is enduring. In addition to proving that there are patterns to finding Joyful sounds, these researchers’ work shows that there is science behind the power of Joy. Joy is not just a feel-good, emotional state; Joy is backed by data, by reason, and by evidence. And it can be created.

How often are there opportunities to utilize music and sound in our work? What emotions do these songs evoke? How might we bring Joy into the mix?

PA with Moves

While neurosurgical physician assistant Tony Adkins of Children’s Hospital of Orange County is a highly skilled PA, there’s one particular difference that really sets him apart: his dance moves. Working with his young patients who are struggling to get through everything from spinal surgery to brain malformations, Adkins aims to give these children a reason to be Joyful again, to rejoice. Known as the “Dancing Doc,” he’s found that patients and their families feel uplifted by dance, and their care actually progresses due to a decrease in anxiety and an increase in mobility. When working with patients of all ages, we can choose to instill a sense of Joy into the care provided, for the feeling and for the healing.

What are some unexpected ways to surprise or delight our team members, providers, patients, and guests? While we strive for our processes and procedures to function like a well choreographed production, in what ways might we encourage improvised outbursts of Joy?

Art Rx

Patients in Montreal may be surprised when they LOOK at their prescription and find that they’ve been prescribed art. Made possible by a partnership with the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the physician members of Médecins francophones du Canada, physicians can now write prescriptions for free museum visits with the hope that patients can have a “relaxing, revitalizing experience, a moment of respite.” A growing body of research tells us that art can boost mood and impact wellbeing as well as provide a positive Experience away from illness. In a time when we’re much more aware of the negative effects that stress and anxiety have on physical wellbeing, its ingenious to lean on the healing powers of art to increase Joy in patients.

How might we make art and alternative forms of Joy in healing accessible for our team members, providers, patients, and guests? In what ways could artful and Joyful Experiences be incorporated into our work, our care, and our communities?

Where Joy Hides and How to Find It

Have you ever stopped to think about why certain elements seem to create such universal Joy—rainbows, balloons, children laughing? Enjoy this TED Talk where Ingrid Fetell Lee shares the foundational roots of Joy and illuminates ways we can all find and create more of it.

Pop Up Some Joy

In The Experience Lab, we are always on the lookout for pop-up Experiences that create Joy and happiness. The ones we LOVE are the unexpected places and spaces designed simply to impart a feeling. HAPPY PLACE is a traveling, interactive, immersive installation that does just that—bring and spread positivity and Joy. Similar to Color Factory, HAPPY PLACE exists “to provide an oasis for people to come together and embrace moments of happiness in their everyday lives.” Who wouldn’t benefit from more of that?

What unexpected and Joyful new pop-up Experiences might you create for your team members, providers, patients, or guests?

In the Spotlight with Joy Rebel Brad Montague

When it comes to the principle of Joy, there is no better exemplar than one of our favorite humans in the world: Brad Montague. Brad is the creator of Kid President and the founder and chief dreamer for the Montague Workshop. He not only coined the phrase JOY REBEL—he is the greatest JOY REBEL we know.

As you know, in The Experience Lab we are passionately committed to designing for and with Joy while engaging and inspiring leaders and caregivers to become possibilitarians for their organization and the industry. How would you define the principle of Joy and what it means to be, as we like to say, a possibilitarian?

Brad Montague (BM): You and your Lab Partners have been on a really big adventure together—shaping the future of health care and the health care Experience. And it brings me great Joy knowing that there are humans like you in the world doing this important work. You all help me understand what you mean by the word possibilitarian. The way I see it, a possibilitarian is anyone who sees that the world still pulses with possibility—someone who can LOOK at a hopeless case and still see hope. In your work, it’s people who aren’t just about health care, rather about human care. Possibilitarians are out there helping others be stronger, be better—and as Kid President would say, “gooder.” You don’t just see the work as is—you see it as it could be.

Seeing the world through a lens of possibility means drawing on who we once were as children. Remember the beauty of LIVING in a childlike space where your eyes were filled with wonder, awe, and there was infinite possibility?

Remember those people who had a deep impact on you? And they might not even have known it! Who did you need as a child? How can you be the person who you needed when you were younger?

Sometimes I do this exercise with folks and have them think about a person who changed their world for the better, someone who showcased a new possibility. Think about that person and fill in, “I am ________ because you were ________.” Try it! Fill it in. And better yet, fill it in and send it to the person you wrote about.

Can you share a bit about the work you do to bring more Joy to the world?

BM: Let me answer your question with a question, “What do you see every day when you are with other human beings?” My life’s work is seeing the world through the eyes of a child. I try to see the way I did as a child—with wonder. I spend my time being around kids, in classrooms, and at camp. I LOVE having kids open up and share what’s important to them.

Being a better grown up requires thinking more like a child. I’m not telling you to be childish but childlike. Think about how can you see the world with such wonder? What are you afraid of? What do you care about? How can I be a better grown up?  When you are childlike you see the world with wisdom, wonder, and whimsy.

When you remember what it’s like to be a child you begin to no longer see a box but a spaceship. You see possibility instead of mud puddles. You see potential in every problem… becoming  probertunities. Kids I know see homelessness and gather socks with such Joy! It happens in October, Socktober, and in every state. Kids choose to make great things happen for other kids. Another group of kids I know started a soup kitchen. One started a beauty pageant with kids who have special needs. And they aren’t doing this out of guilt but pure Joy, beauty, and LOVE. I am fueled by LOVE.

Sonia Sotomayor once sat next to me at a dinner party, and she asked me, “What do you love, about what you do?” This simple question unlocked me! I had never thought about that. I told her, “I love going to the classroom and seeing kids open up.” She told me, “I help give a voice to people who don’t think they have a voice.” Wow! So I ask you, “What do you love, about what you do and is that love visible?”  

What is your advice and hope for our Lab Partners?

  • BM: My hope is that your time in The Experience Lab launches you out to fly and help others fly, and that the work that has happened in The Lab is known and felt by all the people you touch. Never forget we need each other, because no one flies alone.
  • Next time you meet someone, instead of asking, “What do you do?” ask, “What do you love, about what you do?” Instead of getting a job description, you’ll hear inside their hearts. Then ask yourself, “What do I love, about what I do, and is that love visible?”
  • Remember, this is a Joyful rebellion. Live differently, not because you’re mad at how things are, but because you are swelling with Joy at the thought of how things could be. Rebel against the mundane, the mediocre, the middle-of-the-road to bring beauty, magic, and Joy to your work and the world. Draw your circles wide. It’s the difference you can make and the LOVE and Joy that you can show.

Joy at 17

Ben Maksym, a 17-year-old poet from Vermont, penned an exquisite short poem of simple Joy.  In adolescence, the bridge between childhood and adulthood, Joy can be forgotten amidst the many insecurities, questions, and changes that occur. But Ben found clarity in the simple: the daily Moments that create Joy.

Waking up on a tired day
and lying. Not moving, just sitting.
To have no duties, no arduous ordeals

to deal with. That is joy.

Making a joke, seeing others
smile, not just to be nice, or to indulge,
but because they’re actually amused.
You smile, too. That is joy.

Stroking a dog or cat or
animal of any size, shape, type,
that loves you. Not having them

run, tense, fear. That is joy.

To hear “I love you” of your
own effort, work, and patience;
to respond in kind. That is joy.

Dancing, singing, loving,
with your own child.
Seeing their sunlight smile. That is joy.

Where do we find simple Joys in everyday life? As we tap into our childlike spirit of wonder, what Joy comes into focus? How might we honor and celebrate that Joy?

SPOTIFY Playlist: Joy

Allow the songs on this playlist to unlock your Joy. Emulate LOVING practices for yourself and others when listening.

Principle: Moments


The Moments of our lives—great and small—weave together to create the Stories and memories we hold in our hearts and minds. While it is sometimes easier to recall the big Moments—firsts and lasts, wins and losses, Joy and sorrow—it is the micro-Moments that make up everything in between. These everyday Moments are ripe with opportunity to craft with greater Intention—and mold into something more meaningful and memorable.

In health care, all Moments matter. Each interaction with a team member, provider, patient, or guest offers the chance to lovingly impact a day—or a life. One Moment is all it takes. And we can choose to design, curate, and bring to life Signature Moments—those thoughtful Moments and Experiences that uniquely define the spirit of the work and the organization.

How Moments Fit into LOVING

Any interaction, when treated with LOVE and compassion, has the potential to become a defining Moment. When we are present and bring our LOVE, energy, and empathy, we can make the most of each Moment. Every day is filled with opportunities to make LOVE visible. What will you do today to create a meaningful and memorable Moment?

Time Warp

In spite of our common limitation—just 1,440 minutes in a 24-hour day—how you think about time can affect your perception of it. The good news is that we can easily shift how we think about it. Sometimes, days feel long. Other times, time passes quickly, and we wonder where the time went. “Research finds that almost everyone feels that time speeds up as they get older,” writes productivity expert Laura Vanderkam.

“Asking one simple question can help nudge life out of this sameness: Why is today different from other days? If you can answer that question, then you are more likely to remember today. And ultimately, having more memories will make you feel like you have more time.” She suggests that even introducing one small change can make a huge difference as to whether or not you’ll remember that day.

Our work days can feel repetitive and the sameness might lead to reduced engagement in the Moment or the day. For the next week, at the midpoint of each day, challenge those around you to ask a question that can help slow time. What Moments will you remember? What Moments will you make memorable for someone else? How does this shift your perception of each day?

The Illness of Incivility

In this eye-opening TEDx talk, Christine Porath shares how incivility – being rude or disrespectful – isn’t just unkind; it’s causing a “sickness” in organizations. When people are exposed to uncivil Moments, Porath discovered a correlation with decreased job performance and productivity as well as increased unscheduled time off. Interestingly, even those who witnessed these uncivil of Moments felt the same ill effects. Creating kind Moments is not just good practice, it’s critical for fostering a healthy, supportive, and productive environment for team members and organizations to thrive.

How might we make creating LOVING Moments a strategy within our teams or our organization as a whole? In what ways can we tap into how our organizational civility (or lack thereof) is Noticed, perceived, and felt? Through team member engagement, patient surveys? How will we help create Moments of kindness?

A Moment for Thank You

Handwritten thank-you notes have magical powers. Gina Hamady, a mother of two, launched a gratitude project born from the sheer positivity she felt from writing handwritten thank you notes. Gina assigned a theme for each month and committed to writing a note a day for a year. She discovered that recognizing Moments and sharing their impact with others created mutual Joy. This very small and easy practice made others feel seen and acknowledged. Writing thank you notes also helps us become more attuned to the kindness all around us as well as the under-the-radar Moments we might have previously missed.

[Need more fuel for Moments of gratitude? Watch this TEDx talk: on 365 Days of Gratitude.]

Make time to write a handwritten thank-you note for someone who creates a memorable Moment over the course of the next five days. It could be a busy nurse who held the elevator, a recovering patient who inspired shared laughter, or the chef who always remembers preferences or favorites.

The Moments That Never Happen

This gripping Volvo ad not only honors the Moments that happen throughout life—LOVE, grief, and growth–but also the Moments that don’t happen. In an effort to bring attention to the safety of their vehicles, the advertisement artfully tells the Story of a young girl imagining the wonderful life ahead of her on her first day of school. The close of the three-minute piece emotionally reminds us that just one Moment could make or break the future—her future.

In health care, even more so than in the automotive industry, we have opportunities to gift new futures to team members, providers, patients, and guests—young and old. After watching the ad, consider what single Moment could change the future of those around you—safety procedures, communication protocols, advanced technology? How can these critical Moments in health care be reimagined?

Experiencing A Moment Through An Elderly Patient’s Perspective

At Weill Cornell Medicine, a professor invited elderly patients to speak to second-year medical students to prove there’s more to aging than meets the eye. When envisioning the Story arc of our lives, there are certain highlight Moments that may serve as mile markers: first kiss, first job, going to college, getting married, having children—and then the mystery of getting older. In medicine, it’s easy to forget that there’s more to the life of an elderly patient than just their ailments; the elderly aren’t defined by just the fact that they’re old. The Moments that the elderly share with their physicians (their love lives, passions, and hobbies) assist these physicians in Shifting their Perspective to allow them to see the whole human—not just the body or illness being treated.

When interacting with team members, providers, patients, and guests, what Moments are we missing in their lives? Is there a way we can better honor the humanity of all those who interact with our health care systems to honor their humanity?

In the Spotlight – Sonia Rhodes, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Experience Lab, on Signature Moments

People don’t remember days, they remember Moments. In this Moment, there is captured meaning, and we just need to let it out. We can be the defining Moment in someone’s day–in someone’s life. One Moment is all it takes.

In The Experience Lab we know that Experiences come to life in Moments. And it is in Moments where the potential exists for lifelong memories to be made…one Moment is all it takes. Sonia Rhodes, Founder of The Experience Lab and long time Experience evangelist, shares thoughts on the power of Moments and how to create Signature Moments for those we LEAD and serve.

What does the principle of Moments mean to you?

Sonia Rhodes (SR): I LOVE the depth and dimensionality of the principle of Moments—Being in the Moment. Ensuring a Moment matters. Making the most of a Moment. And understanding that in health care we are the Stage from which defining Moments take shape every day. Moments are the currency of Experience because no matter what we strategize, design, and architect for creating a better Experience, it all comes down to each one of us—and everyone on our team—choosing to make those plans and Experiences real in each and every Moment.

How would you describe a Signature Moment?

SR: Signature Moments are Intentionally designed Experiences Orchestrated to create a positive and lasting memory for team members, providers, patients, or guests. Signature Moments have the potential of encapsulating the entirety of an Experience in the essence of a designed Moment—making that Moment distinctive, meaningful, and often a “wow.”   

And “wow” doesn’t mean a big “WOW” or extravagant and over the top, rather a Signature Moment means thinking ahead, anticipating, and going three layers deep into how a Moment might unfold so someone says “wow, I can’t believe they even thought of this.” Or “of course they would pay attention to this important detail.” That type of “wow’ is what we aim for when we design our own Signature Moments in The Experience Lab.

Can you share some examples of Signature Moments?

SR: In The Experience Lab we have a number of Signature Moments—some we’ve Intentionally designed and others our Lab Partners have defined as a Signature Moment to them. We are known for starting and ending our gatherings with ceremony and ritual, providing new Lab Partners with a lab beaker filled with flowers to signal the beginning of our partnership and celebrating and remembering Lab Partners with Personalized and special greetings on their birthdays.

Designing Signature Moments takes a clear Intention and the ability to Shift Perspective. We ask ourselves what we could do to elevate this Moment? What should be honored? Celebrated? Acknowledged? Or, what could happen in this Moment that we aren’t planning for, and how might we be ready? A small example is that in The Experience Lab we know we can’t control the weather or rain—but we do know we can be prepared with umbrellas just in case—and not just any umbrella—when it rains we provide our Lab Partners an Inside Out umbrella. This umbrella stands up to wind and operates Inside Out—ensuring you don’t get soaked when you close it, of course.

For our Lab Partners, we encourage considering how Signature Moments might be designed for your various audiences—for team members, providers, patients, and guests. For team members, we’ve partnered in designing truly memorable Signature Moments for the first day of work and badging ceremonies. For physicians, we’ve helped expand the notion of Physician Preference cards to include preferences for music, beverages, and inspiring quotes. For patients, we’ve helped bring to life special touches like warm washcloths delivered by a housekeeping host every afternoon to homemade banana bread delivered by food service team members on the day of departure; and a truly memorable Signature Moment for endoscopy patients where this often feared procedure now feels more like a spa with just a few simple elements.

What advice do you have for our Lab Partners?

SR: Begin with a question. What could make the difficult Moment– the invisible or overlooked Moment–be more thoughtfully designed? What could make a Moment feel better or be filled with surprise and delight? Identify the Moments and enlist others to help consider how that Moment might be designed anew.

Start small.  Sometimes the really big ideas can be a speed bump—too many steps, too many approvals, too much money. The reality is the Moments that often matter the most are the small thoughtful touches that simply required attention and LOVE. Start where you have the ability to play and experiment to make change happen. Consider what routine Moments might benefit from a little magic—like parking validation —could the stamp be a positive quote? Or the delivery of fresh linens and towels in a patient room—could they be folded in the shape of an animal? How might the Moments you make differentiate your organization?

SPOTIFY Playlist: Moments

Honor the Moments you’ve made and create new Moments with those you LOVE. Press play for a collection of songs celebrating the Moments we can make together. 

Principle: Wholehearted

Every day we have the opportunity to demonstrate the theme of LOVING by how we show up in our homes, in our work, and in our world through the principle of Wholehearted. When we bring our Whole Heart we show up with empathy, widen our circles of compassion, and share a willingness to accept our own vulnerability as we courageously open ourselves up to others. By LEADING Wholeheartedly, we are an invitation for others to join us and signal that we are sincerely committed– that we are all in.

The heart is a symbol often used in health care representing life, yet it is also a globally accepted symbol for love. Combining the two, we see that health care isn’t just about LIVING – it is about LOVING – with our whole heart.

How Wholehearted Fits into LOVING

Wholeheartedness is the first principle of LOVING — signifying a commitment to bring your Whole Heart, knowing that you are worthy, and that you are enough. While LOVING is an integral facet of our personal lives, it can often be forgotten as a part of our workplaces. LOVING binds us together and guides and informs all the other them in –LEADING, LOOKING, and LIVING. Wholehearted provides the lens to help define how we do what we do. Throw your heart into it, and the rest will follow.

Be Kind

When a quirky, elderly lady approached the register at a local bookstore, the team member helping her had no idea she would be the most influential customer she’d ever had. In this random-act-of-kindness tale, the customer perfectly portrays what it looks like to Wholeheartedly move through your day with LOVE for the people you come into contact with. She surprised the customer behind her in line by purchasing all of his textbooks (and some chocolate) and then reflected that “it’s important to be kind. You can’t know all the times that you’ve hurt people in tiny, but significant ways. It’s easy to be cruel without meaning to be. There’s nothing you can do about that. But you can choose to be kind.”

How can we actively choose kindness and bring our Whole Hearts to our interactions with team members, providers, patients, and guests? What might we improve in our systems to design for kindness?

Heart Not In It?

There are times when it may feel like our Whole Heart is no longer in our work, and it may happen more often than expected. A 2017 Gallup poll found that only one third of workers feel consistent passion for their job. But just because the passion isn’t there doesn’t mean you can’t rediscover it. One way to regain footing is to come to terms with what you’re trying to get out of your work. Is it a career? A job? A passionate calling? Next, consider tweaking your work. Could something be redesigned to gain a greater sense of meaning or satisfaction? Finally, is there something else besides work that could help ignite your passion and change your overall mindset? Sometimes it isn’t really the work; it’s our greater sense of self that might need revisiting. As leaders, we can help our team members see and tap into their feelings. We may even be able to reinvigorate them by design their roles anew or sparking a new passion.

How are our organizations set up to LOVE our team members when they’re Experiencing a lack of passion for the work? Do we push them away or do we give them more reasons to show up Wholeheartedly for their team members and patients?

What Stops Compassion?

In this TED Talk, psychologist and author Daniel Goleman dissects how we choose whether or not to LEAD with compassion each day. While we may be prewired for compassion, we continue to conduct a cost-benefit analysis before performing an act of kindness for another. What would it take to help? What might be gained? In those Moments of weighing all the minutiae, we miss out on the opportunity to simply choose to be Wholehearted in the way we move through the world.

What does compassionate action look like in our unique positions in the health care industry? How, like Goleman, can we break from our daily grind and discover a new way to extend our Wholehearted selves? What can we Notice today?

Wear Your Heart on Your Sleeve

Do you know who made your favorite t-shirt? Not just the brand, but the human who physically created it? Thanks to clothing startup Known Supply, now you can. Aimed to highlight the real lives behind factory doors and the products they create, Known Supply sews the name of the individual that created the t-shirt into the label. Pop onto their website and search the t-shirt maker’s name to learn his or her story and even thank them. This move wasn’t just aimed to bring awareness to customers, creating a Connection between them and the maker of their clothing; it is also aimed to bring the seamstresses Wholehearted ownership over their work. What a prideful symbol of transparency!

There are so many hands and hearts that contribute to the care that a patient receives in our clinics and hospitals. What are some ways our organizations can honor the humanity that goes into our Wholehearted work? How might we “sew the names” of our team members into the caring we provide?

In the Spotlight with Julie Kennedy Oehlert, Chief Experience Officer, Vidant Health

What does the principle of Wholehearted mean to you?

Julie Kennedy Oehlert (JKO): When we think about the work we are doing at Vidant Health, Wholehearted means showing up as your best, most loving self in all situations. We are in the midst of a positive cultural transformation, and we’ve found that bringing your Whole Heart–and bringing LOVE to the table–creates a dynamic that can be rare in our frenzied environment–while we’re creating such significant change in our organization and our industry.

For us, Wholeheartedness is a tool for change because when we LEAD with our Whole Hearts and LEAD with LOVE, then the change we seek is more possible. I think about what we learned from Dr. Victoria Sweet at STIR and what she calls “slow medicine,” which is about being intentionally slow. We’re trying that here at Vidant, starting with slow, Wholehearted leadership, where we are lovingly present so people can move into change with a feeling of care and kindness. If our team members don’t feel LOVE and Wholeheartedness in their space and if they don’t feel like they are enough or what they do is enough, then fear and negative power dynamics shows up and inhibits the change we are seeking.

How do you, as a leader, and in your organization, use LOVE and Wholeheartedness as part of your Experience journey?

JKO: With our learning from The Experience Lab, our Office of Experience chose to set an Intention for the entire first year of this journey, and it was simply to be LOVING. It sounds easy and perhaps cavalier, but it’s really not. If you ask an organization, leaders, and team members to design with LOVE, it’s not that easy. We get asked, “What’s LOVE got to do with it?” And the answer is, “everything.” LOVE is everything. It’s how we can heal health care. When people unleash themselves with LOVE, it shifts things. If people say, “I LOVE my team” or “I LOVE my work”—how powerful is that? When people ask me, “How do you get so much done?” I always answer, “With LOVE.” Love has become such a powerful influencer in our culture that we continue to apply LOVE as an Intention in all we do. It has become iconic for what we stand for, and that shows me that it was something both our team members and patients longed for.

The word courage comes from the Latin word cor, which means heart. Can you talk about courage and Wholeheartedness in your work?

JKO: Wholeheartedness takes courage. It takes courage every day to show up with LOVE. It takes courage to set LOVE as an Intention in a health system and talk about LOVE at the executive level–in executive meetings and in the boardroom. Think about it though; who pushes back against LOVE? No one. It’s a unanimously positive and desirable state to LOVE. People LEADING change in other organizations often say to me, “I get pushback on my Experience efforts.” My reply is that at Vidant no one pushes back on LOVE—nobody.

We know that this courageous, Wholehearted work may sometimes hit speed bumps. How do you navigate those barriers?

JKO: That’s the courage part! Navigating those speed bumps takes courage. It takes being authentic and Wholehearted in your work. We have to take time to explain where we are coming from. Those who are leading our culture transformation don’t get defensive, and we don’t take the power-over approach. We take the time to explain to people why this is a better state of being for them and share all the positive consequences of having LOVE as an Intention. It takes patience. Leaders must role model! I know it may seem safer to go along with the current flavor of the month for how to get results, yet there are so many benefits of standing up and saying we should use LOVE as the way. I can’t think of any downside for this.

What advice do you have for Lab Partners?

JKO: I think defining LOVE for your organization is super important. I choose to use MLK’s definition of LOVE and find that it resonates with our team members.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. defines love as “understanding, redeeming goodwill for all men, an overflowing love that seeks nothing in return.” The concept of LOVE may seem foreign in an industry focused on survival in a changing landscape. But LOVE—an understanding and redeeming goodwill—may be the exact thing that health care needs to transform itself to better engage team members and serve patients. It’s about LOVING the humanity of people and LOVING humankind. By defining LOVE, it helped create and define our culture.

We also did a lot of socializing of our LOVING Intention. I put quotes on my door, in reflections, in emails; I use LOVING words and terms myself in front of the board, and meetings, and in our action plans. I pointed it out to people. Culture isn’t created by an overlay or edict; it’s created like electricity–it flows.

Leading through LOVE

What kind of leader do you want to be? In this fascinating Forbes interview, Kristen Aldridge and Seth Mattison, co-founders of Luminate, share the thought that in today’s world, to be an effective leader, we need to LOVE the people we LEAD. When we LEAD through LOVE, we cultivate a culture of compassion and care that paves the way for people to grow. There is something good and lovable in everyone, and when we find it, we let go of our judgments and instead create Connections. LEADING through LOVE also brings us to LEADING through service rather than power—focusing on the growth and well-being of our people and communities.

Take a minute to find something to LOVE in each and every one of your team members. What kinds of qualities are you seeing? How might you celebrate them and bring them out more?

Creating Space for Wholeheartedness

This beautiful animated video dives into the importance of vulnerability and what gets in the way of us being Wholehearted. It takes courage to show up and reveal our true selves when our day does not go as planned. But this vulnerability is what Connects us and allows us to release the burden of being uncomfortable together. Holding space for these struggles and accepting our imperfections creates Connections between us as humans.

What are some of the obstacles to being Wholehearted in our organizations? In ourselves? How could we remove those and instead create the space for vulnerability?

SPOTIFY Playlist: Wholehearted

Allow the songs on this playlist to unlock your Wholehearted self. Emulate LOVING practices for yourself and others when listening.

Principle: Being


Amidst ever-changing schedules, tasks, responsibilities, and the busyness of LIVING, it can be easy to overlook one of our most salient purposes: Being. When we encourage ourselves to slow down, take a deep breath, and just Be, we allow ourselves to Be present in the Moment, unlock and reveal our greatest strengths, Connect deeply with others, and revel in the beauty all around us. Remember that we are human Beings, not human doings. 

Despite how easy it sounds, Being doesn’t just happen — it is a practice; thus, it takes attention, mindfulness, and commitment. As leaders, when we slow down, listen, and engage, we are communicating to team members that they matter and that our  organizations are dedicated to LIVING our Intention — Being who we intend to Be. Encouraging Being also promotes wellness, creativity, individuality, and strength.

How Being Fits into LIVING

As we practice Being, we allow our genuine, authentic selves to shine through and are LIVING our lives to the fullest. When we allow ourselves to just Be, we not only encourage full presence in each Moment, we also honor the deeply emotional and complex Experiences that occur in health care every day: complex and critical processes, challenging diagnoses and treatments, Joyous beginnings and transformations. When we acknowledge each human Being in all of their Being, we instill humanity, LOVE, and life into our work.

Being: Human

A manifesto on LIVING, this brilliant video explores the deeply personal desires of the artist to LIVE a deep, wonder-filled, passionate, and beautiful life.

“Living is difficult.
It is full of sticky situations and exceptions to truisms.
But you don’t need it to be spelled out in a book to live by strong moral principle.
I want to be the best person that I can be.
I want to do well by people, to love deeply and be loved deeply.
I want the best life I can get, to be excited to wake up in the morning.
I want to think about existence, to stretch and bruise my brain through learning, to raise children who love learning, who are confident and open, and love others.
I want to pass to them as many of my pros and as few of my cons as possible.
I want to laugh, to enjoy the pleasures of food and travel and art and literature, to see great sunsets and be thrashed by great storms.
I want to shiver with wonder and awe at the universe, and nature, to sob at the absurd unbearable brightness of human existence, to glow red in the heat of human triumphs, and shake my head in shame and disbelief at our broken record failures.
I want to be stirred by music, to be broken by drama.
I want to live forever, and I see the appeal of slipping away eventually into the eternal quiet.
A human lifetime is a seasonal growth of a tiny twig of the human branch of the mammal limb of the tree of life.
It is a carnival ride and a game of dice.
The low bar is survival, the high bar is progress, and the taste of brie and sound of children’s laughter are the sustaining fuel keeping us aloft through the surprises of each fresh day.”

(*Please note that while we love the message conveyed in this video, we also recognize that it does not appropriately represent the beauty of the full spectrum of humanity and wish it were more inclusive. Let’s take this as a spark to prompt us to consider whether our printed, video, or digital imagery fully represents who we are.)

Write down or think about our organizational manifestos. What are our musts for LIVING? What honors and lifts up the human Beings we LEAD and serve?

All Aboard!

Onboarding new team members into our cultures and organizations is the first opportunity we have to demonstrate how to LIVE within our teams and how to Be –  how to be oriented and how to be integrated into the way of the work. Onboarding exemplars such as Zappos, Twitter, and Facebook have discovered and incorporated creative ways to authentically display what it means to be a member of their teams. From two-month coding bootcamps and culture skits, to individual mentoring and a “pay to quit” program, each organization approaches the onboarding process through a fresh lens to ensure that new team members understand and are ready to LIVE out their organizations’ missions and aspirations.

 When we invest in the onboarding Experience, it allows us the opportunity to welcome team members into both their skill fit and also their culture fit. Immersive onboarding provides new team members a clear understanding of what roles and tasks they are expected to perform, as well as expectations and examples for how they will act and feel as a part of the larger team. And, to ensure a cohesive feeling across the organization, it is critical for everyone who represents our organization or brand to receive this cultural onboarding, so including contracted partners, freelancers, and volunteers in the Experience is key.

Let’s examine the onboarding processes within our organizations. Do they set team members up for success and demonstrate how we hope they will Be? How might we ensure true integration rather than just orientation across the organization, from environmental services to contracted providers?

Being Artwork

What do a billowing, vibrant net and a large crocheted tree have in common? They both invite us to slow down, interact, and LIVE life to the fullest. Wildly inventive and thought-provoking, these two massive public art pieces by sculptors Janet Echelman and Ernesto Neto honor the presence, Being, and existence of those interacting with them. Both pieces are designed to be in constant motion and seem to breathe along with their viewers, pulling them in and inviting them to Be.

Neto’s hand-crocheted, 65-foot tree, which was on display in the Zürich train station last year, was affixed with 1,300 bags of aromatic spices so that as travelers moved through the station, they were greeted with a sensory Experience that was grounding, rooting, and encouraged them to slow down. The scent of turmeric, cloves, cumin, and black pepper provided a respite amidst the hectic travel hub.

Echelman’s pieces of colorful nets, which have been featured in some of the most visited spaces in the world, are purposefully hung so that they shift and change with the movement of the air around them. As she said in this interview with the Smithsonian, “I wanted the visitor to be within the work. The piece aims to show how interconnected our world is, when one element moves, every other element is affected.”

How might we introduce elements into our health care spaces that encourage others to interact and slow down? Be it a water feature, an art piece, or a sensory Experience, how can we honor the breath and life of our team members, providers, patients, and guests?

To Be, Or Not to Be

One part of Being that can’t be denied is that one day, we will no longer Be. Michael Hebb realized that most Americans simply don’t think about how they want to die and created the non-profit organization Death Over Dinner to get us talking about it. Death Over Dinner is dedicated to helping normalize talking about death and dying by hosting gatherings to have facilitated discussions in a safe space: at the dinner table. Participants in these empowering dinners discuss their wishes, their worries, and consider the fact that while most Americans want to die at home, 75% die in hospitals. Paradoxically, all this talk about death results in a sense of renewed vitality for gatherers. Hear Hebb’s inspiration and reasoning for yourself in this short video.

Death is not only an inevitable part of our individual lives, it’s an inevitable part of our journeys as health care professionals. How do we encourage those on our teams and in our patient rooms to have the important and difficult conversations around death and dying? How might we assist in honoring a patient or family’s wishes and serve as advocates in those precious life Moments?

A Story We’ve All Heard

How we design and orient our places of LIVING and work greatly affects how easy it is for us to Be (Download a PDF version here). Architect Ryan Mullenix and developmental molecular biologist John Medina partnered to design some of the most creative and wellness-focused office spaces for the likes of Samsung and Amazon. Their inspiration? Neuroscience. Elements of sound, nature, open space, movement, and food all have great effects on our ability to be productive, stress free, engaged, alert, and safe. In order to create spaces that allow team members to do their jobs to the best of their ability, Mullenix and Medina incorporate these elements into all of their projects.

What elements of sound, nature, open space, movement, and food are activated in our places of work? Where are there areas where we can better design to allow for our team members, providers, patients, and guests to Be?

In the Spotlight: Jeff Zlotnik

For this month of Being, we are joined by Jeff Zlotnik, Founder and CEO of The Meditation Initiative. For more than 15 years Jeff has been LEADING free meditations – sharing techniques and simple tools to bring calm, peace, and presence in the Moment to prisons, hospitals, students, wounded warriors and the community at large.

Jeff believes that, “once we stop trying to change everything outside of us and we work on changing our mind and our heart and our reaction to the world around us, life gets a little easier, a little more peaceful, a little happier.”

What does the principle of Being mean to you?
Often I think people make the mistake of thinking that just Being means that you don’t do anything, but the practice of mindfulness and meditation is about bringing that sense of Being into every environment you’re in – it’s simple, applicable, and practical. To me, Being means first Being present and aware. That awareness helps us tap into what we’re sitting with. Where’s my heart right now? Where’s my mind right now? Am I steady? Am I fully present at this Moment? Paying attention to the Moment and that personal awareness go hand in hand with Being. But if we‘re just Being and our mind or heart is filled with anger, hatred, disgust or resentment, then Being has the potential to be not so beautiful. The reality is an angry person who meditates is just an angry meditator.

Often, even though we are trying to Be present, we are thinking about other things, we’re worried about tomorrow. This is when we need to slow everything down. To pay attention to the breath. To become comfortable in stillness, expecting nothing, simply sit and breathe. And as we Experience that quiet and stillness – that peace and calm, the question is, how do we take this idea of Being, becoming aware of feelings, sensations and emotions, and then bring that to everything that we’re doing. How do we bring that sense of Being into action?

The beauty of meditation is that it’s free. You have everything you need with you at all times, it only takes a few minutes, and it can be practiced anywhere – in line at Starbucks…before a meeting…anywhere.

Any time you do anything that is free and that can be done anywhere, it makes it a lot easier for people to add it into their lives. So a lot of it is really breaking down the barriers of what I think really hinders the movement of the mindfulness practice in this country. People tend to tie it to a dollar sign or think they don’t have the time or need to go somewhere special, but we all have a few minutes we can sit and breathe. So my role is about encouraging, motivating and inspiring people to make that a part of their lives. We don’t have to go any place special to Experience this sacred sense of Being. We have to learn to illuminate and Be everywhere.

What advice do you have for health care leaders as it relates to this principle of Being?
I like the simple metaphor from flying on a plane when they provide the safety instructions: “if the oxygen mask falls, put your mask on first before helping a child or someone else.” I think for health care providers, those who are in the industry of caring for others, the most important thing you can do is to care for yourself every day — your mental and emotional health and well-Being. You are engaging with so many people who really need and require you to Be present, attentive, compassionate, and kind with them. To bring your full sense of Being to those you care for, it’s important to give yourself that beautiful gift of really caring for yourself a few Moments each day. Make yourself a priority. Take a few minutes to check in with yourself, sit with yourself, and just Be with yourself.

To Experience Jeff’s simple practice of Being, enjoy his TEDxYouth@SanDiego talk where he equips high school students from hundreds of high schools across the globe with the gift of Being.

Principle: Storytelling


Stories Connect us. They serve as a glimmering thread that weaves us together as people and weaves through the health care Experience. Storytelling is at the heart of humanity and has the power to spark our imagination — helping us care, believe, and act on what is important. Every Experience, every relationship, every subject is stored in our mind with a Story. 

Through Stories, we engage. In our work, we use Storytelling to build energy and relationships, ensuring that every individual that makes healing possible is acknowledged and activated as both a Story gatherer — listening and acknowledging — and a Storyteller — sharing and Connecting. Everyone has a Story, and every Story matters. Listen. Do you hear the Stories that are being told?

How Storytelling Fits into LIVING

As we immerse ourselves in the practice of LIVING, we bring new ideas to life, creating the space for Connections and setting the Stage for possibilities. Storytelling is the beautiful result of that practice. Stories emerge in the Moment and unfold when given the opportunity to be shared. They can be the catalyst that propels us forward and breathes new life into ideas. 

Checking In: Library Hotel

Just around the corner from the New York Public Library in Midtown Manhattan, the Library Hotel is a mecca for writing and LIVING out Stories. Carefully designed to amplify the Story and structure of an Experience, the hotel is organized (think Intention) using the Dewey Decimal System, and rooms are themed accordingly. Guests can select their favorite genre — social sciences, language, math and science, technology, the arts, literature, history, general knowledge, philosophy, or religion — and then sink into the books and the Experience in the room. Check into “Mystery” (800.006) and you’ll be treated to Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christie, and other classics. Or “Fairy Tales” (800.005) with the Brothers Grimm, Aesop’s Fables, and Beauty and the Beast. The hotel also houses more than 6,000 books in their Reading Room, bookshelves throughout the property, Writer’s Den, and Poetry Garden. Knowledgeable and friendly staff, or “librarians,” will readily share an anecdote or Story when asked. The most important Story the librarians would like you to Experience, however, is the one you are writing while you stay. 

Do our organizations tell a consistent and inspired Story from warm welcome to fond farewell? How might we ensure that at every turn our team members, providers, patients, and guests are confident in our narrative?

Giving Stories Priority

Since the beginning of time, Stories have been a fundamental part of the human Experience, creating Connections, educating, sharing, and uniting. Now, more and more organizations are realizing the power of Storytelling and prioritizing it. Why? Quite simply, Storytelling creates empathetic bonds, provides a platform for learning, and engages customers in a fresh way. Take, for example, this Subaru marketing video, which focuses not on the specific car or it’s horsepower but rather on the Stories of people and their LOVE for each other. Subaru is showing how their brand can fit into our lives. Another great Storytelling organization, the New York Yankees, have been drawing us into their Story for more than 100 years. Using the YES Network, digital platforms created by players, and the great Storytelling capabilities of their leaders (think George Steinbrenner), they not only tell the Story of the hero’s journey of their players, they also use failure and turn it into Yankee lore. Players’ struggles become triumphs, and fans are engaged and Connected — making the team more human and relatable. New York City, fans, and the team all participate in the shared narrative.

Humans of The World

Brandon Stanton is a true exemplar of Storytelling. Some of you may remember his name from Inside Out, and others may simply be a fan of this great visual Storytelling. He is also the author of Humans of New York: Stories, his second best-seller, included in your LIVING Action Kit. Stanton is passionate about capturing real Stories with a single still image and providing the platform for those featured in the photographs to share their Story in their own words. While the images themselves are breathtaking, the raw, poetic, human captions shared alongside each photograph bring the Story to life. Stanton moved to New York City in 2010 and started taking pictures to get to know the people and the city better. He initially started out with a goal to capture 10,000 portraits and Stories and plot them on a map of the city. Now, millions of images and followers later, his Stories are still unfolding across the globe. To hear more of the Story behind this Storyteller, listen to this in-depth interview of Stanton on The Tim Ferriss Show.

If there were a Humans of the Health Care Experience page, what would be on it? How might capturing images and the personal Stories of healing and caring be used as a positive force in our organizations? Think of five specific images that would tell the Story of your organization’s Experience for team members, providers, patients and guests?

A Story We’ve All Heard

Airlines have been trying to refresh how they share their safety instructions for quite some time. In 2017, British Airways tried something completely unique. Featuring some of the UK’s most beloved celebrities, the spoof safety video aimed to keep passengers engaged while still meeting the legal reporting requirements. The clip ends with a call to action above and beyond following safety protocols: an ask for passengers to donate to Flying Start, a charitable partnership between British Airways and Comic Relief. Repetition is important in some of the organizational Stories we tell, but changing up the narrator or perspective of the Story can make all the difference.

After watching the British Airways safety video, reflect on Stories that are frequently told in health care and across our organizations. For those narratives that must be told frequently and repetitively, in what ways might we newly engage listeners? Is there another individual or team who can bring the Story to life?

In the Spotlight: Kyle Christiason at UnityPoint Health on Storytelling

This month, we are joined by our good friend and Experience exemplar Kyle Christiason, MD, Medical Director at UnityPoint Health, to understand how he has made Storytelling a vital component in his practice and why it matters.

What does the principle of Storytelling mean to you at your organization?

Storytelling is a vital, innate skill for humans. We are all Connected by Storytelling through history — it is in our DNA to Connect with one another and is core to our survival. Storytelling and Story listening inspire us to become passionate about something or someone, and allows us to understand someone else’s Experience just by LIVING through their Story and the feeling.  

Some of the most transformative Stories we share — both tragic and wonderful — occur in health care. They are often major mileposts — before or after the diagnosis…the surgery…the birth. And our life Stories are anchored to those milestone Moments —those are the Stories we all tell and share. They remind us why it matters that we make every Moment more special and meaningful.

How do you, as a leader and in your organization, use Storytelling as part of your Experience journey? 

In the clinical space, Storytelling is a powerful and learnable tool. It helps teams focus on the privilege to care for friends, families, and neighbors. We start each day at the clinic with reflection, reminding one another why we are here and sharing Stories of a few memorable Moments. This Story practice becomes a call to action for our team to show up in the narrative and care for and with patients in a meaningful way. 

We end our days with a two-step debrief practice. First, sharing any pain points of the day. What happened today that might we be able to do better tomorrow? Practicing, asking, challenging, and solving with each other on a regular basis has become a part of our culture. Then, we finish by asking each person to share their “joy bombs” — those special Moments that brought Joy to their work, large or small. Through this Storytelling practice, our care teams are now Intentionally LOOKING to create and remember those special Moments. The times that give them Joy — I think that helps them reduce their risk for burnout, helps them Stage Experiences for each other and for our patients, and sends them home each day with these Stories on their minds and in their hearts to help them feel positive and inspired from their day.

What Advice do you have for Lab Partners? 

Lean in. I love the quote from Michael Margolis, “If you want to learn about a culture, listen to the stories. If you want to change the culture, change the stories.” As leaders, we should practice Storytelling. It’s okay to not feel natural, lean into the discomfort. When we practice Storytelling such as the dedicated time for Stories in my clinic, we can become more comfortable and when we listen we become more meaningfully Connected 

Be the best Story gatherer in your organization. Seek out Stories from different people, departments, and regions. Regularly engage in Story rounds by simply asking a few questions: What do you LOVE about what you do? Tell me one thing you did to improve the life of another person this week? What’s one thing someone else did that made you feel special? Be a role model for others to see how easy it really is. Sometimes we make it harder than it should be. By modeling Storytelling and Story gathering you can take down the barrier of it feeling overwhelming.

Become the best pollinator of Stories in your organization. When we hear something special, share it with someone else. Not only can we be touched by someone’s Experience, we will be more likely to LOOK for those special Moments in our own life. Listening and sharing creates a culture of caring for one another, celebrating what is good. When it’s part of your culture to practice this, everything else becomes easier.

Sometimes there are Stories we should stop telling. Not every Story and not all words or phrases need to be used. It’s amazing how many warfare terms there are in health care. There may be a “war room” for developing strategy. We refer to our caregivers as the “front line.” We talk about providers being “in the trenches.” When we launch a new initiative, we call it “pulling the trigger.”

When we refer to health care as being the same as warfare, we are destined to subvert our goals. However, we can Joyfully embrace being a part of what I consider to be a sacred and noble profession by using terms that are more appropriate. Rather than “frontline,” consider  “face-to-face caregivers.” Instead of helping a “non-compliant patient,” consider “let’s support this person to be their most successful self.”

Consider nonverbal Stories. We can also change our Stories through our non-verbal language. When we leave the examination room and LOOK at a person with our hand on the doorknob asking, “Is there anything else you want to talk about today?” we are sending a message that screams “I am done with our conversation even if you are not”.

Remember the power of small.  In leadership, we can focus on changing the game by focusing on the small details. A genuine smile at the check-in desk. A nurse remembering my child’s name. A physician who calls me at home to ensure I’m safe and I understand my medications. A culture of introducing every member of the care team during a hospital stay. It’s taking a Moment to address “me” before addressing the health record.   

Transformation doesn’t happen in a cataclysmic Moment but rather the millions of tiny miracles that happen every day and each of those Moments is a Story waiting to be shared.

High Tech, High-Touch Stories

One of Google’s newest under-the-radar tools, Bulletin, aims to put the power of local news in the hands of those who are living the real story: residents. News is, after all, merely a telling of stories and today anyone and everyone has the capacity to share and spread news. A digital, real-time news app, Bulletin requires no special platform or capability and makes it incredibly simple to report and share. The goal of the app is to be hyperlocal and shed light on what larger news outlets, or even channels that consider themselves to be local news, fail to feature. Currently being tested in Oakland, CA and Nashville, TN, Bulletin empowers everyone to be a journalist and report out everything from accidents to protests to celebrations.

How could a tool like Bulletin encourage and develop a Storytelling and Story sharing community across the health care industry and within health care systems? What might we learn from one another?

SPOTIFY Playlist: Storytelling

This month’s playlist celebrates some of the greatest Storytellers: musicians. Press play and hear how artists of different genres reflect on LIVING through a musical, story-centric journey.

Principle: Staging


Just as goods are made and services are delivered, Experiences must be Staged. All the pieces, parts, and processes are masterfully pulled together to create a cohesive and Orchestrated whole. As leaders, we play a role in Staging, and on the Stage, to ensure each person has the opportunity to be in the spotlight and bring our best work to life.

Staging is about much more than our personal performance–it is the words we choose and the physical Stage we use. Our offices, websites, patient rooms, mobile apps, and parking lots are all Stages from which we bring our work to life and convey the feelings and Experiences intended, and that requires Intention, clarity, and purpose.

In our work, awareness of the physical and metaphorical Stage is vital. Our “onstage” is whenever or wherever we are in front of or in earshot of a patient or guest. It’s an awareness more than a physical place. Our “offstage” is Intentional too – providing the time and space for team members to reflect, refuel, and refresh. Places such as break rooms and healing lounges can give team members a place to rest and practice self-care while they take a break from Being on the spot and in the spotlight. 

How Staging Fits into LIVING

Through beauty, nature, wellness, and vibrancy, we seek to breathe life into our health care Experiences and bring new ideas, directions, and discoveries to life. Staging provides the context through which we’ll be LIVING and allows us to be mindful of the roles we play. We are all LIVING in the theater of life. 


Target’s Secret Stage

Retail giant Target has a LIVING, breathing, secret test store hidden amongst the streets of Minneapolis. Used as a Stage to map out what future stores might look like, the 100,000-square-foot test store allows team members to see how new digital signage truly looks next to their shelving units or how innovative aisle designs redistribute guests and shopping cart flow. Team members can also photograph displays and signage giving managers at their stores specific instructions on how to Stage them.Target can now use the test store as a rehearsal space to try out different customer Experiences, avoiding potential challenges before they ever occur on store floors across the country. 

Target’s guest Experiences have only elevated since the test store first opened. VP of Visual Merchandising, Erika De Salvatore, said, “We give the stores a ton of context. Where in the past they just got an instruction like, ‘Do it like this,’ now we tell them more of the why’s. We’re giving them some of the context behind the decisions that were made, so they then understand to say, ‘Oh okay, all right, now I get it.’ Or, ‘Now I should understand why I have to support it more.’”

Do our health care organizations have rehearsal spaces for our team members to practice their roles and work through potential pain points before they hit the main Stage in our clinics, hospitals, and offices? What might we learn from being able to simulate our patient care Experiences?

A “Shoe-In” for Staging

To the leaders of Zappos, their well-defined core values are just the beginning of setting the Stage for their team members. Zappos consciously designs their corporate culture and then reinforces and supports it along the team member journey. From a nontraditional hiring process that “is more like a courtship” than an interview, and unique onboarding practices such as a scavenger hunt and time working in the call center, to celebrating milestones in ways that support the company’s values, Zappos prioritizes Staging these Moments to reinforce the Experiences team members should be creating for their customers. Each team member is explicitly taught and shown how to LIVE the Zappos values‚—such as “Embrace and Drive Change” and “Be Passionate and Determined”—and understands how to reinforce the culture of “a fun workplace that is a tiny bit weird.”

Do all of our team members have a clear Stage set showing them how to LIVE our organization’s values? How can we better help team members understand the role they play and how to best make it shine?

Staging Takes Flight

Hospitality exemplar Four Seasons wanted to ensure that their customers didn’t grow tired of the same “Stage” they’d been visiting since the company’s founding in 1960, so they took flight literally. Moving upwards from just their hotels, Four Seasons launched a new private jet Experience last year aimed to unveil new “sets” of the Four Seasons Stage across the globe. With each trip, passengers travel around the world on a carefully curated, unforgettable three-week Experience to some of the most unique Four Seasons properties. From Bali to the Seychelles, it’s certain the travelers will never be able to stay at another hotel thanks to this life-changing Experience. 

an we build our customer’s loyalty by introducing them to a new Stage? What unique, special Experiences can we be Staging to surprise and delight team members, providers, patients, and guests?

Please Wear White

How do you know you’ve arrived at the world’s most secret and chic dinner event? The Stage is perfectly set and everyone is dressed the same. Dîner en Blanc is a secret outdoor dining Experience hosted once a year at some of the most incredible locations around the world. Besides the excitement associated with receiving a coveted, exclusive invitation and the last minute reveal of the dinner location (which occurs literally minutes prior to the meal), Diner En Blanc requires that all diners arrive in costume: all in white. Hundreds of guests decked head to toe in bright white is a sight to see and makes it clear to dinner-goers who is an attendee and who is not. 

While the location is secret, one thing is clear: Dîner en Blanc knows how to set a Stage through costume. What do the “costumes” of our organizations say? Is it clear at first glance what role a team member plays based on their uniform?

The Mental Stage

Staging is about more than role and behavior. As shared by young writer Kunal Shandilya, a Stage can affect a state of mind. Because of what he calls “contextual zoning,” our brains function best when one mental process is confined to one physical space. For example, we should limit the function of our beds for sleeping and not practice other behaviors such as working, eating, or reading in bed. When we create sacred Stages for our work, the quality of the work only improves thanks to the context that is built into that space.

We all have contextual zones in which we thrive: where we focus best, collaborate best, present best, and rest best. How can we create contextual zones, or Stages, for our team members and providers to do their best work?

In the Spotlight: Cedars-Sinai Medical Network on Staging

As we move into the theme of LIVING and the principle of Staging, we immediately thought of our Lab Partners at Cedars-Sinai Medical Network (CSMN) as Staging exemplars. Cedars-Sinai Medical Network embodies the idea that each and every element of our Experience matters and the energy and actions we bring into the spotlight are what make each Moment memorable. 

We are excited to share with you, a conversation with Dr. John Jenrette, Executive Vice President of the Cedars-Sinai Medical Network, on the principle of Staging. 

What does the principle of Staging mean to you at your organization?

Staging is the fulcrum and keystone of the Experience work we are doing at Cedars-Sinai Medical Network. If you think of the ‘progression of economic value,’ from Pine and Gilmore’s The Experience Economy, we are moving as an industry from delivering services to Staging Experiences, where Staging is the actionable step we take to bring our Experience designs to life. Staging is about creating the right platform for the Experience to take place – where everything comes together.

When I think of Staging in our Experience work, it begins with our design process. We start with setting an Intention, then LOOKING at our Experience – we are Noticing every detail and Perspective Shifting to think through each audience we are designing for. When we put ourselves in that space we begin to see opportunities where we can design Personalized elements, ‘wow’ Experiences, and distinctive touchpoints where magic Moments can come to life for our team members, providers, patients, and guests.

How have you applied the principle of Staging to your work and your organization’s Experience journey?

At Cedars, we think about opportunities to Stage Experiences both at the organizational and the personal level. For our organization, one opportunity we have to Stage an Experience on a grand scale is our All-Hands Assembly. Our entire organization comes together for a half-day Experience designed to align to our vision and Intention, energize our teams, create a common language, and reconnect us all with ‘the why’ of our work. Every detail and element of that gathering is Intentionally designed and Staged to create memorable Moments for our team members and providers so they are prepared to create memories for our patients and guests. 

At an individual level, we have been working to transform how we Stage the new hire Experience at CSMN. One recent opportunity we had to Stage a new kind of welcome Experience was with the onboarding of one of our medical directors. We designed the Experience to anticipate his every need from day one – making sure his work place was ready when he arrived – his phone was working, email was up and running, his desktop was set up, and we had technical team members as part of the welcome to get everything synced. We also Personalized elements to Stage a truly memorable Experience for him: he had a welcome sign at his parking space, a signed note from the entire board of directors on his desk, and a bouquet of his favorite flowers on the window sill of his office. That was all part of Staging a welcome Experience so that he could not only walk in and hit the ground running but also feel like we had been expecting him.

Do you have any advice for lab partners who are trying to Stage a different kind of Experience? 

If there is a part of your Experience that could be Staged differently, it is important to gather a design team that can think outside the box. Start with the Intention of the Experience – how you want people to feel – and then ideate and design elements that bring that Experience to life. In the end, when you Stage an Experience, you should be making people feel more human. Therefore, consider how you can bring that humanity to life in this space or with this process? How do you make the feeling you want to impart, real?

A/C & Heating Company Setting the Stage

We LOVE this unexpected exemplar of Staging. We were recently surprised and delighted to receive a text update from a local San Diego HVAC company we engaged for service. It included the team member’s photo, expertise, details about him, and the ability to track how long it would take him to arrive – all for a simple utility visit. This set the Stage for a great Experience. How are we designing our pre-arrival Experiences?

SPOTIFY Playlist: Staging

This month’s playlist will set the Stage. Allow these tunes to enhance the theme of LIVING.

Principle: Personalizing


Imagine a world made just for you. Products, services, environments, and Experiences—all designed with your unique tastes, needs, and preferences Intentionally built in. There is no better way to tell someone they’re important than by customizing their Experience.

Personalizing is a practice that evolves as we tend and attend to what we Notice. When we Personalize an Experience, we more deeply Connect with our team members, providers, patients, and guests and demonstrate that they have been seen, heard, and remembered. The power of Personalization requires a trained eye as we not only remember the magic of each individual but also anticipate their needs and desires the next time we have the pleasure of serving them.

How Personalizing Fits into LOOKING

Within the theme of LOOKING, Personalizing encourages us to design with the end user in mind and that takes not only LOOKING ahead but also LOOKING deeper at those we serve. What do we Notice? How can we store that information and keep it readily retrievable? And most importantly, how do we use that information to create both a Personalized Experience as well as a Personal memory?

Spaghetti Sauce

In his TED Talk, writer Malcolm Gladwell speaks to the importance of Personalization in business by telling the Story of an American great: Ragú spaghetti sauce. In short, Gladwell posits that companies have historically been asking the wrong question. Instead of asking “How do we make consumers like our product?” the question should be “How do we make a product that people like?” Thanks to taste preferences, the most effective way to attract customers who are fundamentally committed to a brand is to play to their unique palates.

What are the "spaghetti sauces" of the health care Experience industry? In other words, what solutions have we been trying to push on our team members, providers, patients, or guests? How might we instead turn to them and ask what solution or Experience may be most pleasing and fulfilling for them?

Personalization: Mini but Mighty

When the makers of the Mini Cooper set out to understand Millennials, survey results found that Personalization was a key factor in choosing one model over others. More than safety or cost, millennials want their car to reflect their Personality and their lifestyle. Thanks to an ever-increasing amount of customizable features when ordering a Mini, millennials can do just that. Moving beyond paint color and engine type, Mini USA met their customers’ demands by offering more than 10 million Personalized combinations. Walk through a Mini lot, and you’ll have a hard time finding two alike.

How is health care responding both internally and externally to the influx of millennial customers? What are ways that our organizations can understand our future team members and patients by anticipating their needs before there is a disconnect? How might we modularize customizable aspects of our Experience to make it easy to provide choice?

…But Not Too Personal

IKEA has mastered a new angle to Personalization with product designs that appeal to the unique tastes of their customers and also allow customers to build the products themselves—therefore completing the Personalization Experience. While we may know the frustration that sometimes comes with opening an IKEA box that contains the unassembled pieces of the product we purchased, we also understand the pride we feel when our new desk or bookshelf is assembled with our own two hands! When customers invest time and energy, not just money, into the creation of a product, perceptions change, and customers often feel more invested in the finished product.

IKEA teaches us that when we allow customers to participate in the build of a product, they form an emotional Connection. How can we hand over the power to Personalize to our team members, providers, patients, and guests that might lead to a greater emotional investment in our Experience?

There’s an App for That

While Home Depot, Sephora, GOAT, and the Sacramento Kings exist in very different industries, they have all found that apps have changed the game in Personalizing their customer Experience. Home Depot uses location-finding services to target local design trends that users might find interesting. When a customer finds a product they want, their app can use navigation to guide them directly to the aisle and shelf where the product is displayed. Sephora tracks users’ past purchases to serve as a shopping list when in their stores. Virtual try-on services give the customer a sense of what a product would look like on them—along with usage instructions. Kings fans can use their app to have food delivered to their seats while at a game. GOAT (a virtual sneaker marketplace) uses push notifications to alert users when sneakers in their preferred style and price range go on sale. The common trend among all of these apps? The Personalized services are not an added feature or product but instead a way to enhance the Experience of shopping for their existing products.

Our places of work and caregiving can be confusing to navigate. How can we use the power of technology to unlock a new sense of ease and empowerment for our team members, providers, patients, and guests?

How Burberry Uses AI to Drive Success

Burberry has always been a leader and innovator in the use of technology. The retailer has seen the success of using Big Data and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to boost sales and customer satisfaction by Connecting and Personalizing the Experience for its customers. By asking customers to voluntarily share data, Burberry is able to offer Personalized recommendations both online and when a customer walks into a store. The company has also employed Snapcode from Snapchat to provide immediate product information, created an Apple Music channel, and employed Facebook “chatbots” during fashion week to provide additional information. Burberry is exploring ways to use AI technology in its production and product development, leveraging emerging technology to maintain its competitive edge.

In what ways might we use our data to create a more Personalized Experience for our patients and guests? Are there operational improvements that AI might enable to help us deliver additional business value?

In the Spotlight: Jeff Kallay on Personalizing

Cofounder and CEO at Render Experiences

Render Experiences helps colleges and universities craft better campus visits and attract students who are well aligned with the institution’s enrollment goals. According to Jeff Kallay, CEO and Co-founder, he has the greatest job in the world because he’s paid to tour colleges—places focused on the future, where young people thrive, transform, and become good citizens.

Why the campus visit?

Jeff Kallay (JK): You know the saying, “I just visited, and it felt right.” When you say “yes” to a university, you’re making an intimate buying decision—you’re going to eat, sleep, learn, get sick, and even get naked there. You need to choose carefully. Selecting a college is not about buying a building; it’s about buying a slice of a community. So engaging with many members of the community during a campus visit is crucial.

What does the principle of Personalizing mean to you and your work?

JK: For a long time, Personalization in our work often meant “what is your major?” and clustering students into preset groups that met existing criteria. I don’t agree with that. I believe Personalizing the campus visit should be persona matched—such as if you are an entrepreneur, an activator, a do-gooder, or a social butterfly. This approach would mean that prospective students would find the five campus elements you must see or the three people you should meet based on what you told us your preferences were. But no one in higher ed is willing to invest in this kind of Personalization—yet.

That said, there are universities making great strides. For example, Hendrix College, a small, quirky liberal arts college in the South, invites prospective students to customize their visit through their website, selecting which class to attend and who to engage with. Students are welcomed to campus with a Personal parking space including a sign with their name and “class of 20XX” on it. If they take their sign, they are rewarded with a secret message on the back and admissions knows they are interested. Students also receive a “loaner backpack” filled with pencils, pens, water, and a notebook. They sign a contract that says they’ll take notes, engage, and stay for the whole class. That notebook becomes a visual identifier that you’re one of us. Every step and interaction is about engaging with the community. Will the prospective student want to be a part of that community? How did they feel there?  

What advice do you have for our health care leaders eager to make health care better?

JK: In health care, you are labeled by your health issue. You’re the cancer patient, HIV patient, pregnant mother. It’s the same way we label majors, and its depersonalizing and dehumanizing. A student is asked five times on the tour what their hometown is and what their major will be. Why haven’t we solved for this? Why don’t we already know the answer? Everyone is afraid to ask questions of their guests.

When I am in the waiting room, why do you yell my name? You probably have my photo on record or know the color of my shirt based on when I checked in. Why not walk up to me, shake my hand, and greet me by name. That would make me feel special, seen, and acknowledged.

It really all comes down to how you make the person feel. What the Intention for Personalizing is and how you go about Staging the Experience to achieve it. Patients and families need to know the why you are asking for the data and what part it will play in the process. Be transparent and open. Acknowledge patients as human—someone in need of care. See each person’s individual humanity and Personality. Find the Connections you can make today to make it Personal.

SPOTIFY Playlist: Personalizing

Enjoy a new month of songs about Personalizing—designed just for you!

Perspective Shifting

While there is so much we can learn just by LOOKING, it is incredible how much more we gain when we Shift our Perspective. Applying a fresh lens to the way we view our life’s work, asking new questions, and seeking different vantages unleash exciting pathways to explore and create new Connections.

Perspective Shifting is a practice in empathy. We can better serve our team members, providers, patients, and guests when we are willing to truly see what they see and feel what they feel. Stepping out of our comfort zones to LOOK in new ways isn’t always easy but it has the potential to unlock a whole new journey in health care.

How Perspective Shifting Fits into LOOKING

Within the theme of LOOKING, Perspective Shifting provides us with a fresh vantage and awakens new possibilities. Beyond simply LOOKING up, down, and around, we slip on someone else’s shoes and practice empathy – LOOKING and seeing through the eyes of those we lead and those we serve. LOOKING beyond our own view of the world ensures that we meet the needs of everyone we touch.

Through a New Lens

Social media giant Snapchat changed the game when they introduced a physical manifestation of their mobile app: Snapchat Spectacles. And brands across industries Noticed. Spectacles are sunglasses that take 10-second videos from the user’s perspective. It is one of the first attempts to literally LOOK through someone else’s eyes. Brands such as Hyatt Hotels and L’Oreal Paris are using Spectacles to film behind-the-scenes views of team member Experiences around the world, while food delivery app Grubhub used them to capture day-in-the-life clips from their drivers. Last summer, Spectacles 2 were released, adding new colors with lighter lenses, new frame styles, underwater capabilities, and even prescription options. They also removed the yellow rings from the frames which alerted people to the camera, creating a more  stylish, convenient, and subtle look.

How might the use of Spectacles give us insight into the Experience of those we serve? How would our Perspectives Shift if we could see what our patients see from their hospital bed or the waiting room? What about the walk from physician parking or the Experience from a team member break room?

100 Days of Uber Drivers

Elle Luna is hosting her annual collaborative art initiative, #The100DayProject which invites anyone to explore their creativity every day for 100 days and post it on Instagram. One creator, Barbara Patchen, a design coach in Nashville, participated in the project with her own creative exploration: taking a deeper LOOK into her weekly Uber rides. What started as a casual observation of the seemingly mundane Experience of using a rideshare app quickly transformed into a beautiful study of humanity. Each time Patchen used Uber (about four to ten times per week), she challenged herself to view each ride as ethnographic commentary on our society. Uber drivers are, after all, a cross section of the American Experience: a diverse group with a range of ages, races, and religions. Not to mention education level and socioeconomic backgrounds. Barbara challenged others to join her on her 100-day journey to learn from strangers because “wouldn’t it be nice if someone who thinks radically different from you took a genuine interest in understanding your perspective?”

Much like Uber, our health care systems are cross sections of our communities and our society as a whole. How might we challenge ourselves to Intentionally and regularly interact with strangers to get a glimpse of their Experiences and perspectives?

Willful Blindness

Friend of the Experience Lab and leadership expert, Margaret Heffernan, reminds us of the dangers of willful blindness in this powerful talk. As she tells the brave Story of one woman’s quest for truth, Heffernan calls on us to consider: what might we Notice and advocate for when we take the blindfold off?

In the Spotlight: Roswell Park Cancer Center on Perspective Shifting

A Conversation with Kara Eaton Weaver, Executive Director of Patient and Family Experience, and Michele Benzin, Program Coordinator

As we close out the theme of LOOKING, we are thrilled to spotlight a true exemplar of Perspective Shifting: Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Kara Eaton Weaver and Michele Benzin provide a new lens for bringing The Experience Lab’s Essentials elements to life and activating the principle of Perspective Shifting.

What does the principle of Perspective Shifting mean to you at your organization?

Kara Eaton Weaver (KEW): Perspective Shifting is at the core of the patient Experience. We still tend to make decisions based on what a department needs or what a physician may want rather than having the patient consistently at the center. It is one of the most important topics we are facing as a leadership team – to truly LOOK and see. It takes walking in their shoes and seeing the Experience through their eyes to get people on the same page. For example, when we consider the millennials who will be cancer patients, where are they coming from and how can we meet their needs where they are at?

Michele Benzin (MB): Perspective Shifting has everything to do with what we are trying to accomplish. We want to get our team members to realize that they may be having a terrible day and yet how are our patients feeling? What are they Experiencing? How would we like to be treated and talked to? From housekeeping to executives, we are working to get everyone on the same page.

How do you at Roswell Park apply this principle?

KEW: Perspective Shifting is the proposed topic for our July “Spark Program,” our internal engagement Experience designed and created for leaders and team members. Rather than executive rounds, we plan to have leaders take on the role of team members. They will shadow and assist. Our leaders will LOOK at wayfinding and signage among other important issues. They will help the transport teams move patients so that they can Notice how challenging it is for patients to get around with crutches and wheelchairs (no automatic doors for example). We feel it’s important for our leaders to be a part of seeing the change so it’s becomes more than just approving the cost for a new door. They are a part of the solution.

MB: We also continue to experiment with the Echo Dot, a curiosity from the Perspective Shifting Experience Essentials Action Kit, to engage our patients and families in the Bone Marrow Transplant division. We hit a few small snags with our IT department switching from a public WIFI to a private network, however, we are solving for that with new innovations. And our patients continue to LOVE it. We share the new features Alexa offers – from reading Stories to playing music to answering health care questions. We also have a holder for the Dots to hang on the wall so that no one touches it and have Clorox wipes at the ready. Infection control wanted to ensure we solved for that.

What advice do you have for our Lab Partners?

KEW: The Action Kits – there are a lot of them. It can feel overwhelming. I felt like I had an obligation to do something right away. All the books were amazing; I felt completely flooded with great information and it actually took finishing the year to say,  “wow look at all that we have: the kits, Sparks, materials. What do we want to do?” Soak it all up, step back, think about it, let it all in. You’ll have so many ideas and not enough hours to implement them. Yet the cost for us to bring these ideas to life is minimal and the impact is huge. We have fresh flowers in our lobby, we hosted a Mother’s Day tea for our patients and guests, and everyone from local vendors to team members are stepping up to help us be successful.

MB: Whenever I would open a kit, I’d ask myself, “what can we do with this?” How might I implement a singing bowl with my work for my patients? I’d take a minute to think about how it could make sense – not literally, but an idea that could work in my day-to-day practice.

I Was Blind, but Now I See

In this brief but emotional human interest Story, we Experience the power of literally seeing with new eyes. Watch what happens when William Weeks, uses Sight to see his family with detail and clarity for the first time in 33 years.

What are we “blind” to in our day-to-day lives? Our journey through our day can become so routine that we forget to truly see. How can we open our eyes again to the spaces, places, and people around us? What would we Notice if seeing as if for the first time?

Putting Children First

Stanford Children’s Health asked parents to share their perspectives on their children’s stay. While designing and building their new children’s facility, Stanford engaged parents in several intensive scenarios to reach an understanding of their young patients that parents could provide. What do the children need? What do parents need? What worries them? How could a room improve their Experience? As a result of these insights, room configurations were altered to create an Experience more conducive to comfort and healing for both patients and their parents. From the placement of paper towel holders to the addition of purse hooks, Stanford Shifted Perspectives and LOOKED through the eyes of parents to ensure not just patient-centered care but also family-centered care.

What are ways that our organizations could engage the unique expertise of our team members, providers, patients, and guests to provide input on Experiences across our different places of work? How would a patient’s reflection on the LOOK and feel of the waiting room compare to a team member’s?


Our devices are constantly collecting our data and inputs to shape how we see and interact with the world around us. But how do our devices Experience the world? Designer Kim Albrecht challenges viewers of his art to truly understand the inner workings of the devices that take up so much of our lives. Albrecht hopes that as our society gets more and more comfortable with the notion of artificial intelligence guiding our every decision, purchase, and Experience, we won’t lose sight of the fact that our smart devices are computers, not humans. In his series, Artificial Senses, he uses data and a variety of outputs from devices to guide the creation of his colorful, almost alien visualizations.

Like complex technologies, there are many words and tools in health care that feel foreign and unapproachable to patients and guests. How might visualizations of these procedures, processes, tools, or body parts Shift their Perspective about the Experience they are about to have?

SPOTIFY Playlist: Perspective Shifting

This month’s Perspective Shifting playlist is sure to inspire LOOKING through new eyes.

It’s up to YOU.

Sometimes the youngest of minds can provide the most refreshing Shift in Perspective. Take a LOOK at this short and inspiring Moment that a mom captured of her young son reminding her that anything is possible if you set your mind to it.

When we were growing up, we all had dreams that got lost along the way. How can we take the “anything is possible” perspective of young minds and apply that to our places of healing?

Principle: Noticing


Thank you for Noticing. Our eyes can tell us so much about the people, processes and places around us — and the cues we’re constantly surrounded by. When we tap into Noticing, however, we do more than just engage the sense of sight – we see, we remember, and we can turn our learning into action. From the largest of gestures to the smallest of hints, when we Notice, we have the power to give our full attention to the who, the what, and the why. Noticing is the first step in identifying what is going right, where we have opportunities to better an Experience, and how we can unleash the possibilities that await us on the horizon.

How Noticing Fits in LOOKING

In the theme of LOOKING, Noticing helps us see what is and what isn’t and unlocks a new definition of what could and should be. To truly Notice, we must step out of our comfort zone and LOOK through the lens of humanity and of possibility, bringing new clarity and light to our work and our world.

The First Secret of Design Is Noticing

Founder of Nest and co-creator of the iPod, Tony Fadell knows just how important Noticing is in his work: “it’s my job to see those everyday things, to feel them, and try to improve upon them.” In his TED Talk, Fadell dives into the complacency of habituation and how it can stop us from Noticing important and sometimes invisible cues around us. Fadell offers a few tips for Noticing in all lines of work, not just design: LOOK farther by taking a few steps back; LOOK closer to identify the small things that matter; or think younger to expose yourself to new perspectives. When we take the time to Notice the big, the small, and the alternative viewpoints, we can design solutions in health care that go beyond the expectations of our team members, providers, patients, and guests.

It is easy to find ourselves falling into the habit of walking the same path at work. Take a different route! When you change course, what do you Notice? What do you hear? How can changing a habitualized practice affect the Experience of team members, providers, patients and guests?

The Art of Noticing and Then Creating

In this On Being episode, internet thought leader Seth Godin discusses the almost spiritual practice of Noticing. Alongside the podcast’s host, Krista Tippett, Godin reflects on his intellectual coming-to-Being through historical business teachings such as the industrial revolution, the evolution of the stock market, and the power of his own failures. Godin posits that all change that happens, personal or societal, comes from a practice of Noticing something that is or isn’t working and then shifting behavior and design to build solutions to what was Noticed.

Like Godin, we all have Moments from growing up that shaped the way we Notice the world around us today. What were they? How could we tap back into those Moments to serve as a lens for our work to create a better Experience in health care?

Noticing Our Minds

One of the most important places to practice Noticing is within our own minds. When we practice mindfulness, we unlock a whole new level of awareness. In Noticing the ongoings within our minds, we can deconstruct unhelpful mental habits and create new approaches to problem solving. Businesses, schools, and sports teams have started to recognize that the practice of mindfulness or meditation fosters healthier team members and shapes more efficient teams. When we tap into the power of mindfulness, we unlock more empathy, compassion, and acceptance which leads to more productive teams.

How do our health care systems create a safe and welcoming space for team members, providers, patients, and guests to practice mindfulness? How might this practice be built into our day or our Experience journey? How might we promote this practice to better teams as well as individuals?

I Wish This Was…

Artist and urban designer Candy Chang challenged residents of New Orleans to Notice what was possible within their own city. The project, I Wish This Was, gave community members simple tools to share their voice. Chang placed stickers on many abandoned buildings that merely read, “I wish this was…” encouraging passerbys to share their needs or ideas for the spaces. From grocery stores and bookshops to community resource centers, this project put the power in the hands of local citizens to Notice what was possible and what was needed. This experiment in civic engagement is not just limited to New Orleans; through the link above, individuals can also download the templates for “I wish this was…” stickers to utilize in their own communities.

What if we were to design a miniature “I wish this was…” experiment for our team members about an underutilized place or space? What might they share? How might we encourage an open conversation around Noticed opportunities for improvement?

Pumping on the Fly

Mamava Noticed a problem: women don’t have safe, convenient spaces to breastfeed or pump when going about their daily lives, and breastfeeding rates are down as a result. In an effort to remove barriers (and prevent women from having to pump in bathroom stalls), they decided to design a solution: breastfeeding and pumping pods that can easily be placed in corporate or public places. The solution caught on in big ways. Mamava pods can now be spotted in airports and sports stadiums, and all of their locations are easily found through their user-friendly app.

The Human Economy: The Irreplaceable Human Factor

In this thoughtful piece from the Harvard Business Review, Dov Seidman discusses our evolution from an industrial economy to a knowledge economy to our current human economy. The key differences? While knowledge is useful, and we certainly need to create things, the human element is irreplaceable. Our ability to inject humanity – to Notice, to act, and to apply creativity, passion, and character – cannot be replaced by a machine. And it is these abilities which help differentiate brands and companies, elevating those who do it well. This shift is important for us as leaders to recognize and consider as we focus on the humanity of our work, and capitalize on those things that humans uniquely do best.

What “human factors” are essential to your organization? As we introduce more technologies, how can we be sure to foster the essential human elements that help shape our culture?

In the Spotlight: Northwell and Noticing The Food Experience

In an effort to transform the food Experience in hospitals, Northwell Health hired Michelin Star chef, Bruno Tison, to create fresh, high-quality menus to enhance the healing process in 23 of their New York facilities. Chef Tison’s aim is to ensure every patient receives “great food of the quality of a restaurant.”

We asked Sven Gierlinger, Chief Experience Officer at Northwell Health and 2017 Inside Out Lab Partner, how the knowledge of the powerful principle of Noticing helped him envision the food Experience anew. Here’s what he shared:

“At Northwell Health, we see health care differently and embrace a spirit of inquiry and innovation. Everything we do revolves around our true “North” – our patients, families, and communities we proudly serve – and providing them with the quality and empathetic care they deserve. We have been on a journey of cultural transformation and armed with the knowledge of Noticing, we took a step back and examined our organization holistically. What we found was that health care is a beautiful and intricate web of culture, process, human touch, behavior, policy, accountability, and transparency.

As we took a deeper LOOK, we Noticed that food, a basic human need, is an absolute foundation to a greater Experience. Historically, food in health care has been seen as a liability – a cost item that adds no value to medical care. However, listening to the ‘voice’ of our patients and families, we knew our organization had to make food and wellness a strategic priority. Food touches every aspect of care – it is nourishment, comfort, and even fun, but ultimately, food is healing. We partnered with Chef Bruno Tison, adding his vision and Experience to our dedicated team to redefine hospital food quality and standards in hopes of creating an enhanced overall Experience. Chef Tison is focusing on whole ingredients and cutting back on processed ones, reducing sugar and salt content. He’s introduced dishes such as an antibiotic-free pork chop over Israeli couscous and chicken soup from scratch with whole chickens and vegetables. While rethinking the whole food Experience, our goal is to create healthier foods that our patients and guests look forward to and that meet their desires. We are excited to where our food transformation will take us.”

Spotify Playlist: Noticing

Enjoy a new month of songs devoted to the practice of Noticing.

Principle: Orchestration


The word “Orchestration” immediately brings to mind the exquisite performance of a beautiful symphony. We envision a conductor standing on stage, setting the tempo, LEADING dozens of individual instruments and musicians to play in concert, Connecting and weaving together the various parts, bringing out the best in each musician, and creating a masterful and memorable performance. The symphony serves as a beautiful metaphor for “Big E Experience” and our own health care journey. We, as leaders, are the conductors — setting the vision and aim and bringing all the pieces together in a harmonic whole.

How Orchestration Fits in LEADING

As leaders, we are the conductors of our Experience Orchestration. Our role is to set the tone, pace, and tempo while drawing together the vital elements—our people, our processes, and our places — into one melodic throughline. We weave together the unique talents, individual gifts, and important pieces and spotlight each touchpoint an individual has with our organization. Just as virtuoso musicians are always practicing, rehearsing, tuning — it is for the Experience we bring to life. Orchestrating an interconnected and cohesive Experience takes practice, requires rehearsal, and will always be made better by fine-tuning.

Ok Google. Maybe It Isn’t Rocket Science?

Google set out to understand what makes their teams some of the greatest in the tech industry and discovered that it’s the soft skills of team members that made them thrive. Google’s co-founders initially hired for pure technical mastery in computer science. The findings of their two in-depth studies (one in 2013 and one in 2016) surprised them. The data revealed that the top characteristics for success were being a good coach, communicating and listening well, possessing insights into others, having empathy, being a great problem solver, and being able to make Connections between complex ideas. STEM skills ranked last on their list. The big “ah-ha!” was simply that while STEM skills are vital to the world we LIVE in today, to quote Steve Jobs, “Technology alone is not enough.” What is important to remember is that the survey is never final. Google is always adapting and improving the behaviors based on what they learned.

Reflect on the findings of Google’s study and the Orchestration of our own teams. Are we LOOKING for both hard and soft skills? Consider that those with strong soft skills often come up with more creative solutions and find more satisfaction within their teams.

Orchestrating the Opening Ceremony

The Opening Ceremony of the Olympics is a wonderful exemplar of Orchestration in action. Orchestration, especially for events, is about weaving the pieces together in harmony to create an extraordinary Experience. This exquisite Orchestration comes from clarity of Intention and is never left to chance. During the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, Orchestration of the highest level was on full display. From the music and the clothing of the nations to the artful storytelling and the spectacular and innovative drone display. All went off without a hitch, or at least nothing that the audience was aware of. And the world came together as a unified whole to celebrate sport.

What would it mean for our organizations if we Orchestrated our care at this highest level? From the words we choose and the clothing we wear to the systems we use and the attention we pay to each and every interaction. What do our organizations Orchestrate well, and what might we make more cohesive?

Underwater Security

Dubai International Airport has Orchestrated a virtual security Experience in order to honor the safety, comfort, and enjoyment of its travelers as well as streamline the process. The airport’s old security checkpoint has been replaced with a virtual aquarium tunnel equipped with over 80 hidden cameras. As travelers walk through the tunnel enjoying a life-like aquarium Experience projected on the walls, the cameras will scan their face or iris to determine their identity and grant them permission to continue into the terminal. What was once thought to be an inconvenient, stress-filled portion of airport travel may now be one of ease and pleasure.

How might we reconsider some of the processes in our organization so that they cause less inconvenience or stress for our team members, providers, patients, and guests? How can we Orchestrate these processes for a better Experience?

Whole Foods, Whole Convenience

In select markets, Amazon Prime customers are able to have groceries from Whole Foods delivered with no fee in just two hours. Combining the quality products of Whole Foods and the mind-blowingly fast delivery operations of Amazon, this service demonstrates that when two seemingly separate organizations join forces, they can Orchestrate a memorable Experience. From 8AM to 10PM, customers are able to curate their charcuterie board the morning of their dinner party from the comfort of their own home. With yet another experiment in its effort to dive into food retail, Amazon continues to reshape everyday tasks and chores for the better.

What partnerships might our organizations consider to help Orchestrate better Experiences for our team members, providers, patients, and guests? Think outside of health care and outside the box.

650 Voices: “O Say Can You See… ?”

Last year, a spectacularly Orchestrated Experience by the hopeful voices of our youth brought spontaneous Joy and beauty to guests staying at the Hyatt Regency in Louisville, KY. More than 650 participants of a Kentucky state choir conference taking place at the hotel spread out on all floors of the hotel and joined together to sing a beautiful rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Despite there being 650 different voices on twenty different floors, the song can be heard clearly due to how well the conductor Orchestrates the group of young performers.

Many of our shared Experiences take place across a large space or within a large group. Consider the role of communication, visual cues, and the importance of leadership in Orchestrating these larger groups vs. smaller groups. What might we learn from each?

Tattoo the Future

What if doctors could monitor patients at home with the same degree of accuracy they’d get during a stay at the hospital? In this TED Talk, bioelectronics innovator Todd Coleman exemplifies Orchestration in health care for the good of patients and providers. He shares how wearable, flexible electronic health monitoring patches promise to revolutionize health care and make medicine less invasive.

In the Spotlight: Paul and Heidi Kushious on Orchestration

This month, we turn to experts in Orchestration, Paul and Heidi Kushious, and tune into one of the world’s greatest orchestras: The Cleveland Orchestra. Paul is a cellist, and Heidi is a flutist and solo piccoloist.

The Experience Lab (TEL): What does Orchestration mean to you and your work?

Paul Kushious (PK): It’s when one hundred or so highly trained individuals, whose skills have been refined largely in the solitary confinement of a practice room, come together to effectively create a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.

Heidi Kushious (HK):
 I’ve played in professional orchestras for the past 34 years, and, for me, it’s a focus on the melding, Connecting, weaving, Storytelling, and the harmonic whole. I care most about the Connection between individual musicians’ parts that form the glue to meld together and gather momentum to LEAD to a specific phrasing goal together.

TEL: You each have a part you play in the Orchestra. How do you stay aligned and in harmony with the whole?

PK: The first task, subordinating one’s individual agenda, is the foundation of hearing and receiving from others in order to identify your contributions to the whole. Given the nature of our training, this can come as a great shock to young players. They often go through Stages of development, first rejecting what they are Experiencing, then accepting what they feel is a compromised reality, only to find satisfaction and Joy in joining the collective efforts of the group. As a veteran player, I have very high expectations of myself and my colleagues and consequently enjoy their playing as an extension of myself.  

HK: Good preparation is essential. I enjoy being a chamber musician, continually listening and crafting the phrase, even when the Orchestration is large and there are many musicians on Stage. My whole picture includes the musicians and their desire for excellence: striving for perfect intonation, concise rhythm, appropriate projection and voicing, and most of all… really feeling the music. I aim to set a standard for myself that I hope will inspire my colleagues to push beyond just playing the basics or simply getting the job done.

TEL: How would you describe the role of your conductor?

PK: The truly great conductors trust us to do our jobs. We reward that trust with extremely Personalized commitment. Our leader, the conductor, recently described our institution as “no longer a top-down structure.” I immediately told him I couldn’t disagree more. The rehearsal process demands a singular vision communicated quickly over the course of very few rehearsal hours per week to which we can all apply our individual talents. One hundred individual agendas would create chaos. Within that context, I find that I have enormous flexibility to imbue every note with detail and direction that I understand he expects of me. It also leaves room to create and LIVE by a lot of unwritten rules. I heartily welcome different approaches to the repertoire we play as long as the leader’s goals are communicated clearly.

HK: Musicians want to feel respected and have the conductor care enough to not only really know the score but Connect with eye contact and a sense of building something great together. The conductor should move in a way that makes the Orchestra move without thinking about it. We are able to move as the music moves us. It’s essential for us to have that Experience on Stage. Excellence and inclusiveness are the key to happiness as a player.

TEL: What advice do you have for our Experience Lab Partners from your perspective as a musician?

PK: COMMUNICATE! Almost every problem encountered is embedded in misunderstanding facts, Intentions, and goals. I would love a health care Experience that made me feel part of a team, not a medical ID number.    

HK: It’s really fascinating how the two worlds can be so similar. My advice is to always listen, make eye contact, think of others more than yourself, take worthwhile risks, find a balance, prioritize, conserve energy for important goals, prepare well in advance, and respect intergenerational knowledge. Keep practicing excellence, and the result will always be better and more meaningful.


Think inflection, not infection!

OK Go! Pull Out Your Dominoes

Last March, you received a box of dominoes in your Orchestration Action Kit. As we continue to build on our understanding of Orchestration, we invite you to bring them back out and try a new exercise to dig deeper into the connectivity of our roles.

Who’s Next? In your next idea session, have each team member grab a domino. One person begins a conversation. Whoever has a matching tile number goes next. Continue until everyone has contributed to the conversation. It’s a simple way to ensure everyone is heard.

Spotify Orchestration Playlist

We are adding to our compendium of music with this Orchestration playlist. Enjoy!

Principle: Connection

Human Connection is one of the most vital aspects of our existence. Connections range from the micro, simple eye contact or a smile, to the macro, leaders Connecting the big organizational dots. With each Connection, we have the opportunity to create long-lasting bonds and also become the needed bridges, helping people get from where they are to where they want or need to be. The opportunities to Connect small or large dots for and with others exist every day – and with each dot there is opportunity for deeper, more meaningful Connections. Each one of us has the opportunity to be the Connector.


The act of Connecting — with each other and with our Experience Intention — is the foundational building block of cultivating a more vibrant and alive culture. When we choose to establish strong and meaningful Connections with our team members, providers, patients, and guests, we nurture healthy relationships while strengthening and solidifying our leadership.

Every day we are seeing more and more ways that technology is enhancing or extending (or diminishing) Connection. We believe there’s really nothing better than the original human-to-human interaction. This intimate, person-to-person Connection is the way we get our best work done.  

How it fits into LEADING

Our role as leaders requires that we create personal and meaningful Connections between team members and with patients and guests, and perhaps most importantly, that we Connect those we LEAD to the purpose of our work and the vision for a brighter future. We can no longer simply study Connective tissue; we must become Connective tissue for our organizations. Once those bridges are established, we can move forward, creating additional Connections with the people we serve (our patients and guests), our processes, and our places. Creating Connections helps amplify our vision for creating a healthier organization and world.

Plan for Presence

Connection isn’t about the quantity of one-on-one time; it’s the quality of time spent that matters. Whether it is our inner monologues, higher priority concerns, or physical distractions, it can be challenging to Be truly present when spending time with our team members, providers, patients, and guests. But presence makes all the difference. When we’re fully present in our Moments spent with others, more can Be accomplished in less time and others can feel valued and listened to.

Over the course of the next few weeks, pick four conversations, meetings, or interactions in which our time and attention will be given in full. This means phone is on airplane mode, ears are tuned in, notes are Being taken, and a plan of action is created at the end of the time together. When we’re present with our team members and providers, Notice how they grow. When we’re present with our patients and guests, Notice how they trust and heal.

Human Connection Will Bring Us Together