Category: Personalizing

Stay and Shop

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

What organizations or industries might we create catalytic partnerships with to better Personalize the care and Experience for our team members, providers, patients, and guests?

Experience The Difference

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

In the time of COVID-19, what’s particularly remarkable for Telsa car owners is the attention to detail around their touchless service Experience. Tesla smartly uses technology to keep owners in the know based on the information guests provide.  For example, three days before a service date, owners receive a text reminder with an estimate of the costs to be approved before the date of service so that guests can electronically approve it.  On the day of service, there is intuitive signage and in addition to clear safety messaging, the app keeps owners up-to-speed on every step of their car’s service Experience. Plus, Tesla has eliminated the community lounge and instead is providing owners complimentary Uber vouchers. Asking, remembering, and then doing something about it creates an incredible Personalized Experience and Tesla does it well.

Providing A Healing Solution

Joining the Personalizing pioneers Tru-Colour and Browndages, Johnson and Johnson (J&J) Band-Aid now offers a range of bandages for different skin colors to “embrace the beauty of diverse skin” called Our Tone. This piece recently released from Duke Health reminds us than when someone put on a bandage that does not match their skin tone, the issue becomes less about wound care and more about a sense of belonging.”

What other aspects of health and healing need to be transformed to better meet the individual needs of our patients?

Deeply Personal Tunes

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

Spotify might just know you better than you know yourself. And now, Spotify is putting music compatibility to the test with its product “Blend” which creates a playlist for two users, as they refer to it “multi-user personalization.”  It’s such an interesting way to help people connect and find common interests. 

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

Changing the Card Game

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

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

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

Healing Cancer Worksheets for Caregivers

When April Star, a designer, lost her husband Lucas to cancer, she channeled her grief into creating something good—5 downloadable, simple cancer worksheets for future families and caregivers to use in order to track their unique condition and treatment process.   

The worksheets are tools she wished she had during her own cancer journey. April shared in this Fast Company article “I was struck at how little anybody helped us understand what was happening.” While there were many specialists attending to their case, there was no centralized resource or clear narrative of Lucas’s condition to help them feel knowledgeable about his well being.   April was LOOKING for the right questions to ask, simple definitions to decode medical terms, and methods for managing his treatment and designed just what she needed.

By seeing our world through the eyes of our patients or their loved ones, how might we better Personalize their Experience? What would help individuals feel like we have created tools and methods that are exactly what they need? What simple tools might help our patients and their loved ones feel more personally in control of their treatment?

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 due to COVID-19.   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 could we recognize and remember guests?