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Register While You Wait

Leveraging retail and other transaction spaces for bone marrow donor education, motivation, and registration.

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Written by DeletedUser

Chris F. posted two great inspirations about ways boostrapping could play a role in increasing the number of registered bone marrow donors. What are some prime times to ask people to learn more or register?

Inspiration 1:
Inspiration 2:

Remember the last time you waited for a service. Maybe you were waiting for prepared food, or for a doctor or hairstyling appointment. Were you bored, anxious, wanting to do something valuable with that time?

Let’s give people a way to make the most of waiting: as time to learn about the bone marrow donation process: who they’d help, why it’s urgent, and how it works. And if they’d like, a sample kit to register then and there — or later is just as cool. Retail or transaction counters would be any-time drop-off points.

What might a high-level user journey look like? This explores one possible setting: waiting for a doctor's appointment.

As Jane checks in for her doctor's appointment, she's asked: "Mary is fighting cancer and needs a marrow donation to recover. Would you consider being tested to see if you're a match? We would just need to swab your cheek while you wait for your appointment."

Jane wants to help but has some reservations. She replies "What's involved?". She's given a page of information to read over while she waits for her appointment.

The page profiles Mary: her life, experience with cancer, and how someone like Jane could help her — or others like her — recover by simply registering.

The marrow donation process is outlined at a high level and its myths are cleared up.


Jane swabs her cheek with an attached Q-Tip… perhaps a lollipop / Q-Tip combo ala the Sweeten The Deal concept? After all, everyone hopes for a lollipop when they visit the doctor... :)


Jane hands off her sample when she's called for her appointment. That's it!


While I was researching this update I stumbled onto an an awesome Don Norman paper… It's called "The Psychology of Waiting Lines" and it's free: (Google Docs)

He explores eight design principles for creating a waiting experience that reduce uncertainty and enhance positive emotions. Two of the principles might be most useful for us:

The Wait Must Be Appropriate
In the original user journey, I explored using waiting time in a fast food service setting. While I had a blast playing with this idea, it likely isn't the most appropriate time for an ask - fast food is all about instant gratification. Considering registration requires a bit more time and a different perspective for empathy, learning, and reflection.

Keep People Occupied
Don writes "Parks operated by Disney are famous for how they handle lines, curving them around so that they are visually short."

Similarly, engaging people with inspirational stories about bone marrow patients — and how they can easily help — will make waiting times seem much faster.

That's one big win for any organization that participates. Some other wins are:

- People prefer to support and advocate for businesses that support social causes.
- Supporting social causes increases employee morale.

Which barrier(s) does your concept address?

  • Misunderstanding
  • Time
  • Feeling rushed

Which step(s) of the journey does your concept apply to?

  • Awareness
  • Registration
  • Spread the word

Evaluation results

7 evaluations so far

1. How easy is this concept to implement?

I could start right now. - 42.9%

This might take a bit of planning and probably some help from several partners. - 42.9%

This is a big undertaking and I'd need a lot of help from friends, organizations and other groups to make it happen. - 14.3%

2. Will this concept successfully reach and encourage under-represented populations (including South Asians) to join the bone marrow registry?

Yes, this concept will resonate with diverse groups of people from all over the world. - 71.4%

No, this concept might not reach under-represented populations very well. - 0%

I'm not sure, but I hope so! - 28.6%

3. How well does this concept dispel myths, ease fears, or provide education about bone marrow registration and donation?

Really well -- I already feel like I have a better understanding of the process and why it's important. - 14.3%

Okay, though it'll still take some explaining to get people to understand how bone marrow registration and donation work. - 71.4%

Not very well -- we'd have to create a highly detailed plan around this concept to help people understand. - 14.3%

4. How scalable is this concept?

This concept is highly scalable and could easily impact people all over the world. - 71.4%

This concept is really best suited for small groups and local areas. - 14.3%

This concept could be scaled, but we'd have to refine it for different settings. - 14.3%


Join the conversation:

Photo of Louise Wilson

Hi Jonathan, sorry this input is a bit late but how about incorporating it with ATM machines. One I used the other day asked me if I wanted more information on donating a % of my cash to a charity... they're also used for mobile phone top up stations - captive audience!?

Photo of DeletedUser


Hey Louise, interesting suggestion to bootstrap on to ATM machines to get the word out. And it's cool to consider how this might play out in banks-- that's a great addition for environments where people wait.

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