Healthcare Innovation – The Value of Design Thinking



Last week we talked about some of the innovation principles that we can use today to deal with the current healthcare crisis. In particular, we highlighted the Philips Design approach that Lekshmy Parameswaran and Jeroen Raijmakers discussed in their paper People-focused Innovation in Healthcare.

This week, we are going to further explore this innovation approach by describing some of the processes that are involved in design thinking. We believe the following insights can provide the spa and wellness industries with additional elements that we can use in order to embrace innovation and seize the opportunities the healthcare landscape provides today.


Trend Analysis

Understanding the transformation of the healthcare environment has been an essential part of the creative process behind Philips Design. Thanks to the analysis of healthcare trends, which combined insights research, innovation and a multi-disciplinary work, Philips Design has been able to put in place various successful projects.

Some of them include The Future Hospital, a project that mapped future trends in hospitals based on the historical timeframe of these organizations, and The Personal Healthcare Landscape 2016, which was an initiative of the My Heart project aimed at challenging different “cardiovascular healthcare propositions and asses their business potential in an uncertain future”.


Comprehensive Research

The trend analyses we just mentioned are just a fraction of the research initiatives that Philips Design has used to elaborate innovative solutions towards health. The most important feature of such a research is its comprehensive approach. For instance, the elaboration of visual tools to engage multiple stakeholders has been the result of using ” the best of both people research and design research techniques”.

Furthermore, Philips Design has enhanced its overall research by implementing tools and processes capable of capturing and understanding healthcare experiences over time, insights and concepts, people’s experiences in healthcare, and different environments where people receive care treatment.


A Multi-disciplinary Approach

Another crucial element of the comprehensive approach that Philips Design applies to its research activities is its multi-disciplinary, multi-layer model. Thanks to this model, different kinds of expertise can be used in the elaboration of innovative solutions.

For instance, when capturing the context where patients are treated, Philips Design created research teams, “in which new mixes of disciplines were brought together in order to get a better grasp of the context. Architects and interior designers were able to draw connections between spatial needs and design qualities, whilst interaction designers saw links between activities, spaces and tools.”

In a similar way, while Philips Design generates the contextual and stakeholders insights itself during the implementation of experience flows, “other layers of insights are collated from the project team which includes clinical scientists, technologists and economists”. As stated by Parameswaran and Raijmakers. “Design thinking helps to make sense of these multiple layers of insights and allows the processing of what can often be complex, inter-dependant findings”.


Embracing Innovation through Design Thinking

As we have seen before, the implementation of design thinking involves a complex process defined by comprehensive research and a multi-level collaboration that takes advantage of different kinds of expertise. It would be interesting for the spa industry to employ some of this “design thinking” in order to further embrace innovation and improve its participation in the healthcare industry. The lessons from the Philips Design experience may be the right tips to move in that direction.

By Sonal

Sonal Uberoi creates and delivers smarter spas around the world. Spas and hotel groups hire Sonal to help them design, set up and manage their wellness businesses. Her finance background and worldwide operations experience in the spa, wellness and hospitality sectors make Sonal the go-to expert for business optimisation solutions. Connect with Sonal on LinkedIn

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