The surprise: No team lead
We re-grouped the old team from day 1, but with a wrench thrown into the plan: Nick, who is the surgeon in charge of the project, was unable to attend. Despite his absence, we continued onward to further develop a digital solution to improving patient-doctor communication.
The plan: Experiment
Without a set plan in place, we took advantage of our freedom by trying out new techniques. First, we created a matrix with two axis: requirements versus potential solutions. This method is loosely based on the Harris Profile. With a set of requirements, we are better equipped to objectively rule out certain ideas and narrow our focus to something we can prototype.
We started out strong. We went through and marked what made sense, what didn’t make sense… but things got complicated and we ran out of steam. Without our product owner at hand, we struggled to narrow our product down to something that we could test and develop.
We needed a way out. The problem we were solving was becoming increasingly complicated. We sat down and drew a patient journey map and pinpointed where we believe a patient would need communication the most. We modelled the typical surgery pathway. From there we narrowed the communication needs to the critical 3 days of the surgery.
Our question became: what are the communication needs in this small section? At this point it was clear that we needed to talk to a patient.
Back on track with Sumaira
The highlight of the workshop was talking to Sumaira, a patient advocate who was invited to the hackathon. We presented our ideas and she hit us with all the big questions.
Samara was asking the questions that we were not considering. And the final design needs to address those issues.
The learnings: Educate, Involve, and Validate
Hackathons are refreshing because they force us to emerge from our design bubble and learn from people who work in different sectors. Our experience with the hackathon reinforced a few lessons that apply to projects we do at Common Good:
- Educate your client about what design is – It is about solving a problem. Not making something beautiful. That mentality is baked into our philosophy at Common Good, and we have to push back when people want us to simply make something pretty.
- Involve your stakeholders – It is crucial to clarifying goals and to maximise buy-in.
- Validate your ideas with a user – they reveal the flaws you’re blind to.