Day: May 25, 2020

V21: Big Picture Ideals of Designing for Everyone, Power, and Play

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

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

Alexa M.D.

In this Digital Trends article, Alexa may one day be more than a smart assistant – she wants to be your doctor, Amazon has a dedicated health and wellness team to focus on making Alexa more helpful in health care. While still a ways away from solving the challenges of HIPAA regulations and privacy laws, the possibilities of this statement are already coming to life. During COVID-19, Amazon Alexa learned to search across all of Northwell Health emergency departments to deliver current wait times and Mayo Clinic launched a new skill for Alexa to put the latest information about the COVID-19 pandemic just a question away.  As we continue to unleash these powerful new technologies, it’s not a question of if Alexa can make an impact on health care; it’s simply a question of how much of an impact it will make.

In what ways might we imagine activating Alexa? In patient rooms as a virtual assistant personalizing music and lighting preferences? Or what about in an operating room helping providers with safety checklists? Think of ways this Perspective Shifting technology might improve Experience for team members, providers, patients and guests within our organizations.

Why Design Should Include Everyone

Thanks to Brad Rosen, M.D., at Cedar-Sinai Medical Center for sharing this incredible Perspective Shifting TED Talk from Sinéad Burke. At 105 centimeters (or 3′ 5″) tall, Burke opens our eyes to the perspective of a little person and illuminates how design is a tool that creates function and beauty but it also impacts people’s lives.

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

Shift your Perspective. Who are we not designing for?

You Were the “It” Factor All Along

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

How does our organization celebrate unique thoughts, talents, and perspectives? How might we shift organizational focus to create a movement that celebrates our everyday heroes?

Designing for Play

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

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

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