Category: Perspective Shifting

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?

V20: Big Change from Small Perspective Shifts


Floral Bandits

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

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

A Visible Shift

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

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

Curating for Quality

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

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

V19: Perspective Shifting as a Whole

Perspective Shifting is not just an individual journey; it can also be a journey we take with our peers. This week we dive into Perspective Shifting for our team and across our organizations. From interpersonal practices to big-picture shifts in strategy, we are encouraging you to find and try new ways for everyone on your team to Shift Perspective to see new possibilities.