The State of Design Culture

My Motivation For Designing For Health


The State of Design Culture



Blog Post Written By Center for Innovation Designer, Michael Cawcutt


I recently read an article pushed to me via a sidebar email conversation. Cole Peters, the author of an article titled, "Design Culture is a Frozen..." Peters gives his perspective on how the design community spend's the majority of it's time making designs that seems to pad their CV's rather then trying to solve real world issues.

This made me reflect on my own experiences as a designer while over the last few years I've transitioned from 'agency life' to designing for healthcare.

Healthcare? Yes, Healthcare.

Before designing for healthcare, I was a part of a team that designed a patient portal for OptumHealth and United Health Group. From that experience I was drawn to helping people first-hand through design. Peer recognition and awards are always nice, but I craved the type of recognition and feedback that I had received first-hand from users of the patient portal.

Is designing for healthcare sexy, I questioned?

In my opinion, as long as your passionate about what you do, and are having fun while doing it — anything can be 'sexy' in terms of design.

I currently design and build prototypes for the Center of Innovation (CFI) at Mayo Clinic. Working closely with service designers and the practice, the Center for Innovation stands out as being a place that truly has the patients (end users) best interests in mind.


Center for Innovation

The Center for Innovation at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN.

One advantage that sets CFI apart from other design agencies is that it's embedded within the practice. This is crucial for discovering the nitty-gritty nuggets that CFI delivers: solutions. Design is a solution to a problem. Healthcare design is a solution to healthcare problems — and the problems and struggles that patients, staff, providers and the practice face on a day to day basis are growing.


Michael Cawcutt Design

Mock-up design by Michael Cawcutt.

I'm proud to be a part of a team that tackles problems that go against the current design community stream. And that's in no way to belittle what current agencies are doing, it's to emphasize the need to adapt design to your environment and end users. There are days when I do miss the fast-paced world of deadlines, client visits and field-trips. However, I am very happy with the type of work we are producing, and I know it's helping somebody out there, one way or another.

Mayo Clinic's mantra is: The Needs of the Patient Come First. On the projects I've touched personally, and see being worked on around me at CFI, this reigns true throughout all the work, as the needs of the patient truly do come first.



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