Transform 2011 – Designing solutions. inspiring health.

The Transform Symposium has been called “life-changing” and “awe-inspiring,” with “a fantastic spectrum of speakers that inspire, motivate and spur you into action.” Attendees have said they “lived on Mayo Cloud Nine” for days afterward.

Transform 2011, beginning at 1 p.m. on Sept. 11, promises to top the events of the past two years. Transform is hosted by the Mayo Clinic, the world's largest and first integrated nonprofit medical practice, and the Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation, a multidisciplinary group within the Clinic focused on the experience and delivery of healthcare.

Nicholas F. LaRusso, M.D., medical director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation, says everyone should attend Transform, regardless if they’ve attended before.

“In particular, people who are interested in design, design thinking and innovation as applied to the delivery of healthcare, should attend this year because of its focus on the power of design in transforming the experience and delivery of healthcare,” LaRusso says.

Attendees may tour the Rochester, Minn. Mayo Clinic facilities or chose to take a workshop or be part of special affinity group networking time before the event kicks off Sunday night with a reception and keynote address. The formal meeting begins at 8 a.m. Monday and runs through 3 p.m. Tuesday.

Transform brings together people from across disciplines to share ground-breaking ideas, including practices common to businesses, but not healthcare.

“We know innovation to solve enormous problems requires new thought and different viewpoints,” LaRusso said. “Our audience will be a dynamic mix of innovators, leadership and decision makers from healthcare organizations, information technology, Web 2.0, policy makers, designers and entrepreneurs across many fields that touch healthcare, and thought-provoking spaces that are not — but perhaps should be — part of the conversation.”

Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation Advisory Board Member William Drenttel wanted to be personally involved in planning Transform because of Mayo Clinic’s position at the intersection of design and innovation.

“As a designer, watching the stampede of interest from the design world to grow expertise in healthcare has been truly exciting,” said Drenttel, director of Winterhouse Institute, a Connecticut design practice that focuses on, healthcare and education, and design programs of social impact.

“The Center is so rooted in design thinking. It makes this conference a special place to explore how design and innovation are creating new avenues for health and wellness,” says Drenttel, who also is publisher and editorial director of Design Observer, an international design website.

Drenttel says attendees can expect more hands-on experiences this year, as well as concrete examples of projects impacting effectiveness and system design in healthcare.

This year’s presenters, workshops, breakouts and affinity groups will cover healthcare topics from social media, games and technology development to information design and healthy aging. Award-winning journalist John Hockenberry will facilitate the conference.

More than 700 people from around the world will attend; thousands more will engage online. Transform is so popular because it provides a stimulating venue that encourages a collaborative conversation between perceptive participants and dynamic speakers.

LaRusso recommends attendees come armed with questions, bring a project they are working on, as well as an open mind, and attend with an interest in networking with others.

Maggie Breslin, senior designer/researcher for the Center, spoke at Transform in 2009  and will speak again this year. She says Transform creates an opportunity to find people who are pursuing similar goals and form collaborations that have the ability to affect healthcare delivery on a large scale.

“I think the idea behind our ability to really change the healthcare delivery system in the United States is a union of forces,” Breslin says.

LaRusso says those who have attended in the past have a good sense of the energy and inspiration Transform delivers.

“We have heard countless testimonials from attendees about the longevity of the connections made at Transform, many still connected and working on projects that came out of the networking discussions,” LaRusso said. “It gets better each year.”

Breslin says their job isn’t done yet.

“Transform,” Breslin says, “is an incubator for people to come back every year to report on progress they’ve made and seek out new collaborators to take things to the next level.”

For more information on Transform 2011, visit