Setting the Master Plan for the Year Ahead

Posted 10/11/17 by Deborah Breunig in Healthcare

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Autumn is well underway. While students across the country are back to school, families have resumed their usual schedules, and the leaves are changing colors, the healthcare industry is busy with year-end wrap up along with strategic planning for 2018 and beyond.

I had the honor to attend the Healthcare Design Forum, held in Cape Neddick Maine, September 6-8. This event gathered thought leaders from the industry including the Healthcare Design editorial team and advisory board with the goal to inspire and challenge new ways of looking at the healthcare design industry.

The highly interactive, deep-thinking sessions blended practical takeaways with bigger-picture concepts to effect real change. The group was challenged to look at real time issues from intriguing new angles. 

Each keynote speaker and every activity challenged us to think differently. The debates were spirited and the discussions, lively.

Here are a few speaker highlights from this extraordinary event, along with some takeaway challenges to help inspire your own out-of-the-box thinking and 2018 planning.
  • Pagan Kennedy, award-winning journalist, New York Times contributor and author of 11 books. Kennedy has conducted exhaustive research into “hidden in plain sight” inventions. She shared excerpts from her New York Times column, “Who Made That” to illustrate how discoveries and inventions happen. The big message was, things that are obvious to us now, many times were not always apparent. Some fun examples she shared included the evolution of luggage. The roller boards we all use today are commonplace, remember when luggage did not have wheels and had to be carried? How about the design and development of the sippy cup invented by a mechanical engineer/dad dealing with daily spills! When people experience a challenge every day, it makes them intensely creative!

The takeaway challenge: Propose a product that solves a problem that doesn’t exist or at least hasn’t been identified yet. For example, with aging Baby Boomers, what problem will exist in 10 years from now that doesn’t exist today? What would you invent to solve it?

  • Chris Rockwell, CEO, Lextant, whose “human experience” firm uses design research to identify what people want and need. Although the patient experience is not a new concept, how best to create it is still a work in progress. Especially as the age of the empowered patient meets an often-fragmented, patient-care journey. Rockwell offered insights into how each and every design decision, and the sum of all interactions results in an experience. And that ideal experiences are those that look beyond today and are inspirational and actionable.

The takeaway challenge: To create a better patient experience, translate emotion, align stakeholders (all of them), and eliminate ambiguity and unpredictability at all patient touchpoints. Then measure design outcomes against the desired experience.

  • Martin Kastner, Founder and Designer, Crucial Detail, an award-winning design studio working at the forefront of fine dining. Kastner has collaborated with the world’s best chefs, exploring the synergy of food and design. Taking attendees out of the healthcare element, he immersed the audience in an entirely different design world. Kastner offered glimpses into the creative process behind the extraordinary serviceware designed for renowned chef Grant Achatz and his Chicago restaurants, Alinea and Next.

The takeaway challenge:  How would you go about reconsidering ordinary materials and retooling simple tools of daily living?

The culmination and an additional highlight of the forum was honoring The HCD 10 at an awards dinner—all are stars in our industry. Click to view the winners.

I am always humbled by the knowledge, passion, and camaraderie that this group of leaders brings to the industry. I hope these shared ideas and KI solutions will help kick off a few bright ideas in your upcoming planning sessions. 


Deborah Breunig

About the author: Deborah Breunig

Vice President of A&D Marketing As Vice President of A&D Marketing, Deborah is responsible for building and nurturing relationships with significant influencers and decision-makers throughout the Architectural and Design community. Deborah has been a key marketing contributor to KI for more than 20 years. She most recently served as Vice President of Sales and Marketing – Healthcare. She is responsible for all aspects of A&D strategy; including business development and execution of strategic business and marketing plans. Deborah holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) from Bellin College of Nursing and an EMBA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is a licensed registered nurse in the state of Wisconsin and an Evidence-Based Design Accredited Professional (EDAC) with the Center for Health Design.