IDEO and Ix Innovation Design

Ionescu_Arna_217pxNext week Matthew will be in a workshop with the folks from design firm IDEO and our friends from the Ix Center. In preparation we’re posting this article from IDEO’s Arna Ionescu who was at the recent joint Health 2.0 Meets Ix Conference on a panel moderated by the Center for Information Therapy’s President Josh Seidman. And if that wasn’t all incestuous enough, this post was originally on Josh’s blog over at Ix.

Thank you to those of you who participated in our interactive webinar last Tuesday. During the webinar we used IDEO’s design approach to tackle the challenge of providing effective Information Therapy (Ix) to a fictional character named Vernon, who has minimal resources and was  recently diagnosed with high blood pressure.

To inspire solutions for this challenge, members of the IxAction
Alliance submitted images of unexpected learning moments in their daily
lives. These images spanned from public service billboards to Snapple
caps and restaurant placemats. In advance of the webinar, the IDEO team
synthesized the images into brainstorm questions.

The webinar attendees voted and selected the brainstorm question,
“How Might We leverage curiosity to prompt Vernon to engage with Ix?”
Following IDEO’s brainstorm rules attendees submitted ideas using the webinar software.

More than 30 ideas were generated in the ten minute brainstorm, and
a second vote allowed the attendees to select which idea to pursue
further. Attendees selected the “High Blood Pressure Club.” We
discussed “$10, 10 minute prototypes” – an approach that allows us to
try out fast and cheap experiments to gain insight before costly design
and implementation efforts.

Two members of the Alliance community volunteered to explore the
High Blood Pressure Club further. In subsequent discussions, we refined
the idea to an online forum that people join when diagnosed with high
blood pressure. We hypothesized that members would compete to reach
emeritus status. We further hypothesized that people might feel more
supported if they were paired with a buddy in the club, making the
competition a team sport.

As we refined the idea, a number of questions came up, including:
How do we reward people? Is emeritus status enough of a motivation to
participate actively? Should buddy pairs be random or selected by club
members? What’s the best recruiting mechanism for new members?

We decided to explore our questions around emeritus status using a
$10, 10 minute prototype. Because feedback in healthcare takes a long
time, we identified an analogous context in which to run the test.
Instead of focusing on lowering blood pressure, we would focus on
lowering gas usage when driving.

Next week we will start a two-week experiment about our “Gas Guzzler
Club.” Three participants will measure a week-long baseline of their
gas usage. At the beginning of the second week, we will “induct” our
participants into the Gas Guzzler Club, letting them know they can
achieve emeritus status, and provide a short tutorial on how to use
less gas. Additionally, we will send daily tips in a medium of their
choice (text, email, or voice). At the end of the second week the most
successful participant will be granted emeritus status. We will then
interview each participant about their experience to gain insight into
how well we motivated them.

This plan will take relatively little effort yet should reveal a lot
well before we invest significant time and money.

Arna Ionescu is Domain Director, Connected Health for the design firm IDEO

3 replies »

  1. It was fun participating in the brainstorming session. re. the reward for achieving emeritus status – achieving the status may be reward enough. I’ve been reading “Spent” by Geoffrey Miller and thinking about how, from a health behavior change perspective, to tap into human behaviors associated with status displays.