Category: Videos

A Passion. A Prosthetic. And Beautiful Music.

Every child should be encouraged to follow his or her dreams, and, for 10-year-old Isabella Nicola who was born without a hand, her dream was the violin. Thanks to the dedication of her music teacher and a team of inspired undergraduates at George Mason University, that dream became reality with a fully covered prosthetic arm. This exciting progress in the technology behind prosthetic limbs was spurred on by Isabella’s passion and the need for a highly personalized prosthetic. Using the power of 3D printing technology, the design team took Isabella’s unique needs into consideration – size, ease of use, and even the color – and created a solution just right for her. Outfitted with her new arm, Isabella is able to control the bow and make beautiful music.

How might discovering the passions of our team members, providers, patients, and guests better inspire, inform, and influence the way we Personalize our care and the Experiences we create? What matters most to them and what might we do to know and incorporate that?

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?

One Small Step to Bridge the Divide

In January, 60 Minutes featured a segment  with Dave Isay, founder of StoryCorp, showcasing the vital role face-to-face conversations have in helping to see the humanity in people with whom we disagree.

Through thousands of StoryCorp interviews across the years, Isay and his team have come to know that listening is an act of love. That knowledge led to a new initiative to help connect people across ever widening divides. “One Small Step” is a program “designed to give the entire country the chance to be listened to and have a chance to talk,” said  Isay, sharing that part of what contributes to our polarized society is that people feel unheard, misunderstood, and  judged. 

One Small Step convenes pairs of strangers—people with different ideologies or who are on opposite ends of the political divide—for 50-minute face-to-face conversations. Participants are  invited to read one another’s unique biographies, then simply talk about their lives, find connections, and truly listen. And the research is showing that the One Small Step Experience is melting animosity and hate as people begin to see the good in each other. While it may be much easier to believe that someone who thinks differently is wrong or bad, getting proximate, feeling the discomfort, and being curious about someone else’s unique perspective opens hearts and minds.  

Isay goes on to share “in the history of humanity—nobody’s ever changed their mind by being called an idiot or a moron or a snowflake. Yet, many minds have been changed by being listened to, by conversation, being told that they’re loved.”

How many differing opinions or perspectives do we dismiss or judge because we disagree? What if we invited those with different beliefs or opinions for a face-to-face conversation and ask them questions and actively listen? How might our Perspectives Shift?

Cheers to Beers (and Tears)

We love this Perspective Shifting, tear-inducing inspiration from a surprising brand – Heineken. Celebrating differences of opinion, belief, and self, this provocative ad encourages people to have difficult conversations in order to shift perspective and find common ground. Not only does the video demonstrate a great way to encourage Perspective Shifting among personal differences, but it also encourages Perspective Shifting within a traditionally surface-level industry. While most adult beverage ads feature scantily clad partiers in nightclubs, Heineken took a risk that we’re most grateful for – straying from the industry trends and truly humanizing their product. Cheers.

Our organizations are great because of the individual differences within. What can we take from this commercial in terms of encouraging our team members (and ourselves) to shift perspective when interacting with team members, providers, patients, and guests who may see the world differently? How will we pave the way to find common ground?

Losing Sight, Gaining Perspective

In 1983, John Hull was thrust into total blindness and Experienced a complete perspective shift. He began what would become a 16-year-long audio diary and eventually a film, Notes on Blindness, as he grappled with understanding the Experience. While the film itself is a spectacular embodiment of the Experiences of someone who loses his sight later in life, a companion to the film is what we’re most inspired by: the virtual reality Experience. In an effort to immerse viewers into Hull’s Experience of blindness, a talented team of virtual reality art directors, producers, and filmmakers created this free accompaniment to the film. Using binaural sound (each side of the headset playing slightly different sounds much like we experience in day-to-day life) and abstract visuals, the VR Experience teaches those with sight how those without it interact with the space around them.

Think of a sense or awareness you might take for granted? How might your day-to-day Experience change if it were removed? How would your work be affected? What can you gain from these insights?

Make the Invisible Visible

Cinematographer and friend of The Experience Lab, Louie Schwartzberg, has an uncanny way of shining light on what otherwise would be ignored or unseen. In this video from STIR showcases his use of stunning time-lapse photography, as well as high-speed and nano-photography, to capture the movements in nature that are too small, slow, or fast for our eyes to process with normal vision. “I love to use film to take us on a journey through the portals of time and space, to make the invisible visible… Who knows what waits to be seen, and what wonders will transform our lives?”

Seeing with Sound

Sonic astrophysicist Wanda Diaz Merced studies the stars in an unconventional way: through listening.When she lost her sight halfway through her career, instead of losing hope, she got creative and found a new way to Notice the stars about which she was so passionate. We tend to first Notice with our eyes, yet how might we use our other senses to Notice as well? Think about our workplaces and the Experiences we create there. How do other senses, such as sound or smell, shape the Experience of our internal and external customers? Think about our waiting spaces, offices, or lounge areas. Do our places feel warm and inviting or sterile and isolating? Are they loud or soothing? What provokes our sense of smell or touch? What kind of impressions emerge when we immerse ourselves in those spaces with our eyes closed?


The Beauty of Grating Cheese

To Notice is to thoughtfully acknowledge what some may deem invisible. This thoughtful episode of This American Life uses its mastery in storytelling to address many topics that the average human may not Notice. Most connected to the work we do is “Act Three: Stiff as a Board, Light as a Feather” where the then terminally ill David Rakoff, challenged by the loss of the use of his left arm, finds beauty in normal living that we don’t acknowledge or see until it’s too late—things like being able to grate cheese normally. So simple, so obvious – until you try it with one hand. David’s lighthearted approach to a challenging situation demonstrates how he saw life through a different lens and Noticed how things worked in a wholly new way.


What are some tasks we do every day that we simply take for granted? What tools help us? What might happen without these tools?

Empathetic Signage

“Children play here. Pick up after your dog.” If you Noticed this sign on your morning walk, would you feel more compelled than usual to clean up? This is the power of empathetic signage, which business thought leader, Daniel Pink, masterfully brings to life in this recording of his PechaKucha presentation on signage. When we design solutions with human emotions in mind, we not only encourage empathy, we also LEAD customers and team members to change their behaviors for the better. Creating this type of signage and reaction takes dual-sided Noticing: not only did you have to Notice the heart-wrenching dog sign, the individual who designed the sign had to Notice that you are, in fact, human.

Singing Together in Siena

This widely shared story from Siena, Italy reminds us all of the part we can play to bring joyful spirit and solidarity in difficult times. During the nightly lockdown due to COVID-19, one man began singing Canto della Verbena (And While Siena Sleeps), a local folk song that expresses pride in the beautiful Tuscan city. It was just the wholehearted invitation needed for neighbors to lean out their windows and join in singing together and remind each of them that we are in this together—we are not alone.

There are so many other beautiful examples happening worldwide from neighbors exercising together on their balconies in Spain and Italy to physicians and nurses dancing in Iran to keep their spirits high. Be on the lookout for the good out there.