Now Reading: 2011 Insights – Annual Report of the Innovation Learning Network

More than occasionally people ask me what the Innovation Learning Network ( @HealthcareILN ) is, either because I am tweeting from one of the in person meetings, or the person desires (or we could say “aches”) to find their innovation tribe. 

2011 Insights is the recently released annual report of the ILN and it has a great overview of what the Innovation Learning Network is, who’s in it, what they do, and descriptions of several exercises that I’ve posted about here that you can use in your own innovation work.


It’s PDF’d and ready to go, publicly available, and has that signature design style that we’ve come to expect from Tim Rawson and colleagues.

This is also prep for the next series of tweets / blog posts, which will come from Detroit, Michigan, where we’ll be hosted by The Henry Ford Innovation Institute. The theme will be Innovation & PLAY. Hashtag will be #iln12 . 

The 3 x 5 exercise

I looked and looked and realize I hadn’t posted the detailed instructions to that one, here they are:

  • On index cards, each participant writes:
    • A powerful insight from the conference or meeting
    • A related action you are considering
  • No names needed and please write legibly.
  • Stand up, mill around, and pass your card to someone new. Keep milling…
  • Then stop in front of another person. Read the card you were given, and rate the card on a scale of 1-5. “5” is fabulously inspiring to you, 1 is OK without inspiring YOU. Talk over your ratings adjust as needed. Write your final rating on the back of the card. 
  • Mill again. Pass “your” card to someone else. Keep milling. 
  • Stop in front of another person. Rate the cards in the same way.
  • Repeat five times, in five rounds. By round 5, each index card should have five ratings. Add them up. What is the score?
  • Invite each person holding the top 5 to 10 highest scoring cards to read them out loud to the whole group. “Who has a card with 25 points?… 24 points?…. Voila! This creates a shared sense of what “the crowd” thinks are the most compelling ideas/actions.

Here’s what it looks like in action, even grown ups enjoy it!

#iln11 Day 2 – Prototyping life

Learning how to prototype (View on

I remember my conversation with Chris McCarthy (@McCarthyChris) and Tim Rawson (@noswar) in Seattle at the last Innovation Learning Network meeting in May, 2011, and I’m paraphrasing:

Chris: We’re going to the Garfield Center for the fall in person meeting

Me: Why?

Chris: We’re going to prototype.

Me: Prototype what?

Chris: Life.

That put me in the right frame of mind to try something new, and it also relates in my mind to the passing of Steve Jobs. Besides Steve’s passion for innovating, I will remember that every purchase of an Apple product meant supporting an end to discrimination, before it was popular. It still does.

Photos from the day are below.

Life is a prototype, there isn’t one way to do it. Practice as much as you can. Do it with respect for others’ diversity and promote equality wherever you can!

Innovation Learning Network Fall 2011 – co designing the future of connected healing

Obscura Digital, Innovation Learning Network 2011 View on

I have to hand it to the Innovation Learning Network (@HealthcareILN) Team, they create meetings that aren’t meetings, they are immersive learning experiences. That’s why I keep going back! That and they are always smiling.

The theme of this in person is “co-desinging the future of connected healing” and on day 1 we did the thing that is my favorite – learning from other industries and working to apply the best knowledge to health care. As I always say, if someone is doing something better than I, I want to know about it.

Christi Zuber (@czuber), Kaiser Permanente Innovation Consultancy (View on

The (large) group was split up into teams that went to iconic and next generation innovation centers all over the bay area, from PARC to Citrix to Singularity University. Our group went to Obscura Digital ( @Obscura_Digital ), in San Francisco.

You’ve seen their work before, and my photographs don’t do it justice. “The world is their canvas” – from the Coca-Cola Building in Atlanta, to the CO2 cube in Copenhagan, they create hardware and software experiences that are immersive and full information and feeling. Some of the displays reminded me of the work at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Total Health (@kpcth), so there’s already some integration of this work into integrated care.

Today teams will be doing prototyping at the Sidney R Garfield Center for Healthcare Innovation (@KPgarfield), so this wasn’t just an observation trip. We need to create something today. I don’t know what that means, yet, but I will have my camera and tweeter with me. Hashtag is #iln11.

In the meantime, we were asked to think of insights we gained from this technology, which seems to, as Matthew Winnick from GravityTank said, “invert the technology.”

I am wondering how this could be used to help patients “be known” in the health care system (I am thinking Regina Holliday’s medical facts mural , enlarged to the size of a whole wall in a patient room). Our team actually spoke about this a bit – we are all familiar with the “I need to tell my story again and again when I visit the health care system,” but we went a little deeper in our group to discover that this situation is more than inconvenient, it can really disable empathy and really be traumatic.

Check out this video from Anna-Devere Smith’s “Let me down easy” about Dean Ruth Katz, Yale School of Medicine, and the experience of her admission to her own hospital as a cancer patient: You can see video of this piece here (go to 4:49).

Or, how could an environment for collective healing could be created in patient areas as well as the health professional areas of a medical setting. I think about what the sounds and visuals are for a busy nurse/physician and how that impacts their ability to be compassionate over time.

My photos are below, and below that a video of the CO2 cube in Copenhagan, enjoy, see what you think. What are your insights – how would you apply this technology to health and health care? No reason you can’t participate remotely….

CO2 Cube from Obscura Digital on Vimeo.

Okay, one more: a recent installation they did at Facebook F8 – how might this help people be “known”?

ILN11/ Changing the Game – How to have fun while learning – Day 3

Trying something new, using the system from Storify to create the blog post from this event. I’m attaching the photos and short video of what FUN looks like at the bottom. Enjoy.

(speaking of innovation, learning, and networks, remember the below the next time you are powerpointed at a meeting)

Understanding FLOW, being low tech, Day 2 Innovation Learning Network #iln11

On day 2, we were treated to a discussion and exercise hoted by FrogDesign’s Giorgio Baresi (@giorgiobaresi) from Milan (Italy), that focused on creating Flow experiences, and how we might apply that in health situations. You can see a version of Baresi’s presentation on slideshare here. You’ll note later in the slides (slide 47) a description of what makes for a good flow experience – the right level of challenge, the right amount of skills/time required, and a little variation in that ideal zone. I think this is helpful for game-designers to be, and I would even say environment-designers to be. Looking at the analogy that @drlyle1 created for me, the “current treatment of hypertension is a really bad game,” it’s easy to see why it might fail for some people, or maybe I might say, for the people who are on the fence about it’s importance. Clearly a lot of people understand the need to treat their blood pressure and take their medicine. The question I have is what percentage of people will benefit from this approach and what are their characteristics?

We were also treated to a low-tech, paper-based game created for nursing students entering into their training in the pediatric oncology world. What I learned here was that games do not have to be graphical or apps. The game we played was plenty complicated (and complicated to create, unfortunately), and involved teams given tasks on the wards, including delivering medications, obtaining knowledge references, and collaborating with other students and health professionals. My team did the doctor thing (if I can call it that), and didn’t huddle or look at the tasks, we just did them one by one. Probably not the best strategy! One interesting outcome of the discussion was that our game designer, Jason Morningstar, from the School of Nursing at UNC, was told that impacting the actual way the ward was run our how the student nurses were treated was out of scope. Our group, the innovative-empowered, scratched our heads on that one, which is good, we could see how this go to the next level…..

“Think of the current treatment of hypertension as a really bad game” Innovation Learning Network #iln11 day 1

Frog Design - Seattle 6

The words in the title of the post come from Lyle Berkowitz, MD ( @drlyle1 ), who has been gently coaching me through the events of the first 2011 in-person meeting of the Innovation Learning Network, in Seattle, Washington.

The theme of the meeting is “gamification of health care,” and it’s hosted by FrogDesign (@frogdesign) (see cool photos of their studio below).

What I appreciate about things so far is that they are acknowledging that a portion of the audience is skeptical up front. Maybe I’m one of those people, maybe I’m not. I think, though, that my Australian friend Carolyn DerVartanian( @carolyndv ), shares the perspective of many people:

So this post is dedicated to her.

What I’ve learned so far is:

  • To think more broadly than “mobile app” when thinking about a game. I think a lot of people without health care experience choose this incarnation of a game and it may create the skepticism that Carolyn refers to.
  • Looking at examples of game mechanics, for a more theoretical basis in how games might work to help solve problems – yesterday we thought of specific gaming mechanics to address a health need of a certain population (we chose college students, and making nutritional choices)

Also, in a helpful conversation with @drlyle1, he reminds and reinforces my belief that games can be deployed to change the microenvironment, however their effectiveness will be limited if the macroenvironment rules are not changed. For this reason, I am more drawn to a societal-level game than I would be to an individual-level game. After all, if there is no healthy food available in a decent radius (see my posts about the dichotomies present in Washington, DC), does it matter if an app educates people about tracking their choices?

Lyle’s comment in the title is also a very compelling reason to explore this more, which I intend to do…really interested in the behavior of organizations and society to make the ongoing behavior choices easier. Never a dull time at @healthcareILN!