4 Considerations for Observation in Innovation

4 Considerations in Observation With Innovation

4 Considerations for Observation in Innovation


In the process of innovation, it's important to think ahead of what you are going to look for during the observation process. You might be looking for unintended uses and behaviors that surprise you, such as people using a printer cart as a foot rest. You might take note of what is important to people, by behavior patterns, object placements, or what type of objects prompt behaviors (post-it reminders, calendars, etc.). Keep in mind these four considerations to make the most out of your observations, and you might hit that golden "aha" moment that leads you to the right path.

Read on after the break to find out more:


1. Access

Access for observation in medical settings can be tricky sometimes. Going to the clinic or hospital can be anxiety-provoking; and having to deal with the additional factor of observation can be even more stressful. However, we have found that once patients understand the unique nature of the way that their experiences are being used to help transform care, they are usually eager participants in the creative process. Because of the relationship between patient and health care staff, who may or may not be directly involved in the project, it works out best when patients are aware of the observation and are supportive.

2. Privacy

A fundamental principle of health care is privacy. Patients have a reasonable expectation that their care will be kept private. This sometimes comes into conflict with observation, and we work on preventing privacy in several ways here at the Center for Innovation. We ask patients consent before entering into any kind of observation. In photography, we blur distinguishing features. When we do remote video and audio recording, we make patients and their care providers aware of the stop switches that either of them can use to stop the recording at any point. To respect everyone's privacy, we never record physical examinations.

3. Human Subjects Protection

Because the work that we do may lead to publication, the concept of privacy is formalized in those cases where we believe that might happen. This is broadly defined as human subjects protection under the classification as formal research, and requires approval of the Institutional Review Board. Most of our work here at the Center for Innovation doesn't require this level of authorization, but we sometimes take innovations as far as validation that will lead to publication.

4. Intensity of Experience

The discipline of design is about meeting human needs through purposeful arrangement or creation of objects and systems. Thereby, it brings us in contact with all sorts of experiences. None of those experiences are as intense and emotional as those that occur in health care settings. Observers have to be sensitive to that intensity and decide whether observation is appropriate or not at any given moment.



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