Category: Looking

LOOKING at the Principle of Personalizing

Welcome to a month of Personalizing. This principle that helps our team members, providers, patients, and guests feel heard, seen, known, and remembered. Personalizing—creating an Experience for each person—provides deeper meaning and shapes the positive memories.

Think about it. When was the last time you had a Personalized Experience—one that felt like it was created just for you? Were you surprised? Delighted? Did you feel special? This month, we will showcase ideas that you and your team can utilize to bring that feeling of specialness (something we like to call “designed magic”) to the Experience you’re creating across your system.

Maybe She’s Born with It…

The beauty industry may not be your first thought of where to turn when learning about the powers of Personalization, but that’s what we’re here for. Take a peek at the Lip Lab in New York City. While currently closed as a result of COVID-19, this lipstick haven guides customers through the ultimate personalization journey. A Lip Lab Artist helps guests create their own personal shade, with a custom finish and scent. It’s made on the spot, and guests walk out of the store with their very own custom lipstick.

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

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

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

LOOKING at Personalized Learning

The notion of a classroom and education was LOOKED at with fresh eyes when students across the country spent their semesters learning from home in 2020 and 2021.   To date, “Personalized learning” has equated to a computer-based education system that allows students to set their own goals and pace and receive instructions via algorithms at the point where they individually need it. This podcast explores the benefit of the approach. And while it is based on an individual’s skills and has been a wonderful support piece of the teaching puzzle, in it’s current form, it’s not the perfect answer.

This Forbes piece proposes a new definition for consideration.  What if this fall Personalized learning meant designing an education Experience that was just right for each child?  It would require more time, more resources, more effort, and yet it may be the beacon of possibility schools need to design toward for students to thrive in what will certainly be a different beginning to the new school year.


LOOKING at our own learning tools and methods, what might we need to modify? What questions could we ask to understand how each team member best learns? How might this insight inform and influence the environment and approach we take?

Coming Back for Shake Shack

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

Meyer is now applying the Shake Shack hospitality ethos to its investment in Panera Bread by focusing on attracting a higher caliber employee with a higher than average minimum wage for tipped restaurant workers.  His hope is that creating an employee-first environment will not only make team members happy, it will also have a positive direct impact on the guest Experience.

In what ways might we recognize and remember guests?

Why Design Should Include Everyone

Thanks to Brad Rosen, M.D., at Cedar-Sinai Medical Center for sharing this incredible Perspective Shifting TED Talk from Sinéad Burke. At 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?

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 the work from a new vantage point.

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

Alexa M.D.

In this Digital Trends article, Alexa is more than a smart assistant – she is a partner in your health care, Amazon has a dedicated health and wellness team focused 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 people were seeking the 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.

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

A Fresh Perspective on Organizational Wellness

After two years of navigating the global pandemic, mental health needs continue to take center stage in the conversations about workplace wellness.

Organizations have worked hard to respond to their team members’ stress and anxiety by supporting individual self-care initiatives like meditation, time off, or offering wellness and exercises classes or memberships. While this effort is well intended, new research shows that the emphasis on self-care may undermine collective employee wellness. We are all social beings and finding our way to wellness alone can feel isolating. This HBR article proposes a new approach to wellnessmoving it from a solo endeavor to “taking care of one another. ” Here are two of the key principles they showcase for creating the foundation for workplace well-being:

  1. Frame adversity as belonging to the collective: talk about emotions openly and candidly.
  2. Create and nurture relational pauses: designed and orchestrated moments for meaningful connections between team members often prompted with a simple question like “How is our work affecting us as human beings?

When we actively listen together, our individual struggles become a collective opportunity to heal. It builds community, safety, and inclusion, and creates a place for organization wellness.

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.

Explore the wonderful daily provocations of Keri Smith here

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. the team placed an interactive installation of musical swings next to a bus stop. The swings made music when they moved in harmony. Everyday, total strangers come together and enjoy the swings while waiting for the bus. Play is alive.

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

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