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Inspiration in radically new places

​In 2006, a London hospital was looking to improve their process of handling pediatric patients in their being moved from surgery into intensive care – a moment when children who had just undergone surgery are very fragile and handling them must be done with great expediency and care. The head of pediatric care of London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital found inspiration for this improvement in an unlikely source – the pit crew from Formula One car racing.

Photo of Jamie Beck Alexander
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Tom & David Kelley’s book Creative Confidence points out that ideas and inspiration are can be found everywhere – from different cultures, different industries, different kinds of organizations. The cross-pollinating that is possible when different industries and backgrounds come together can be particularly useful to get out of a traditional mindset and clear the way for ideation. 
They drive the point home by telling a story about London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital, whose head of pediatric intensive care found inspiration from watching a Formula One pit crew on TV. “He was amazed at the precisely sequenced performance of the well-orchestrated team as they serviced a race car in a matter of seconds.  In contrast, the hospital had been struggling with chaotic patient handoffs from surgery to the intensive care unit. So he took the extraordinary step of asking a Ferrari pit crew to coach hospital staff members.”
The result of this cross-sectoral inquiry was astounding. Hospital staff took what they learned in the Formula One pit and used them to inspire their behaviors. The Wall Street Journal also covered this story, and reported that the Ferrari-inspired changes reduced technical errors by 42 percent and information errors by 49 percent.  
How might we explore radically different industries and trade to make innovations in Personal Protective Equipment and environments for health care workers battling Ebola?

What ideas emerge when we each bring our unique skills and experience into the conversation?


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Thinking outside the box


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Photo of Joanna Spoth

Jamie, I love this example. Another story that stands out from that book is Doug Dietz, who invented the first MRI, and then completely redesigned his approach after becoming more in touch with the user experience. David Kelley actually highlighted the example in our creative confidence challenge:
I wonder what kind of solutions will come to light as we uncover more research around the patient experience.

Photo of Meena Kadri

Brilliant connection to Jamie's contribution, Joanna – and fab highlight of our human-centered focus at OpenIDEO.

Photo of Bettina Fliegel

Hi all.
Joanna - Do you know if there is anyone on the ground who can give some insight into the patient experience? Anyone from MSF/Doctors Without Borders or another group that has been caring for any patients that have survived?
Also- I think in this case physician/health care workers' experiences and concerns are really key as the response moves forward. In my experience as an MD, just wearing gloves often makes it difficult to find a vein and insert an IV in a small child. I imagine wearing several layers of gloves would be extremely difficult to do care. Wearing masks, gowns and gloves in a routine situation can be uncomfortable and claustrophobic.
It would be helpful to find out what is happening on the ground.
What is the current protocol for gowning and disrobing? I know that MSF has a very rigid protocol in place. Is this info available somewhere? Knowing what the current work situation is would help to design different experiences and perhaps different gear.

Might the fashion industry be a place to look for some alternative solutions? textile designers?
How about the aerospace industry?

Photo of Jamie Beck Alexander

Great question Bettina. Your experience as an MD is really valuable to the Challenge. We'd love if you could share your insights on other posts as well that are working to re-design PPE. And great point about finding out what is happening on the ground. We've actually invited several doctors and nurses who are working in the most impacted areas in the hopes of having their moment-to-moment insights.

Photo of Jamie Beck Alexander

Bettina, we're also digging your suggestion about looking into the fashion, aerospace and textile industries. Might you want to create a new idea around this?

Photo of Bettina Fliegel

Hi Jamie.
Sure, I will browse through the posts this weekend and see what info/insights I can share. I will think about how to frame an idea to post as well. I was thinking about fabrics this evening actually as I wore my hiking jacket and thought - what about Goretex? waterproof and breathable.

Has OpenIDEO contacted Partners in Health? They are doing a large recruitment effort and are going to open up several sites in Liberia and Sierra Leone. They have loads of experience in building health facilities and systems in the developing world, in concert with local community members and health workers. They might be interested in sharing whatever they know to help design ideas and to think out of the box etc. They are partnering with Last Mile Health in Liberia - (they are working in rural Liberia) and Wellbody Alliance in Sierra Leone (they are trying to build up the local health systems in general). Since these organizations are already on the ground they might be great resources for information on who the local trusted leaders are, the voices that citizens might respond to in a crisis, and local culture, in addition to info on medical care/health workers response and needs in this crisis.

Here is an awesome interview with PIH Chief Medical Officer about her experience at a CDC physician training/prep course for the Ebola response. She describes the training which includes how they practiced removing the PPE, as well as other aspects of what a physician faces as a provider for ebola patients - the human aspects, cultural concerns, community issues etc. Really great info here! (The trainers included doctors who have worked in the effected communities in Africa.)

One other thought - Mass Design Group collaborated with PIH in designing their hospital in Rwanda. They collaborated with public health specialists and physicians around issues of infection control as they designed the spaces. Might they be interested in participating in this challenge? not only regarding spaces but any ideas as they have experience in collaborative design around health care needs?

( Perhaps USAID is in contact with these above folk already - I figured it is worth putting it out there in any case.)