There’s an online article about 2012 innovation that I keep revisiting, specifically the words from Ryan Jacoby:  “What’s new is the network infrastructure to tap into talent, the accessibility of lean approaches to building businesses, and new interdisciplinary/entrepreneurial team structures.”

As we’ve been saying, Oh boy, does healthcare need this. Why? Because:

–> Healthcare historically is not about user-centric design, nor is healthcare equipped to identify great design talent. Healthcare recognizes that it needs design, but it doesn’t know how to find it. New processes and infrastructure can enable a better connection between the two industries so that everyone wins: healthcare practitioners, designers, & users.

–> Healthcare does not partner very well. HIPPA and other systematic rules and regs have sucked the concept of “partnership” right out of healthcare, whereas design has been free to partner. Healthcare now has to relearn new, healthy partnerships in order to survive. Lean approaches to building business together is critical to quality, sustainable healthcare outcomes.

–> Healthcare is rigid/slow/closed/private. Design is agile/fast/open/social. This significant culture clash can be tended to with interdisciplinary team structures.

Healthcare, unlike design, has had to deal with relentless litigation, greedy regulatory entities, and unfriendly government. But healthcare + design = innovation. So we must solve for these industry culture clashes. Step by step. Jay Parkinson has been writing about healthcare + design for years (see his popular post about doctors who think outside the box).   United Health is working with with Rock Health. Some of my 2011 strategy projects to pair healthcare with design include Habit Design, RFP Live Design, Stanford Calming Technology Lab, and a Medicine 2.0 presentation. All of these examples are first steps…in the right direction.

I hope Ryan is right, and that what he says is going to happen more, happens more. I come from healthcare; I am a healthcare advocate. I will continue to learn everyday how to make my contribution to the betterment of healthcare in 2012…better.

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