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Dateline: November 2011
Location: MIT Sloan
by MIT Sloan student David Xie

Summary This essay reflects on the strength, outcome and challenges associated with the Mayo Clinic’s design thinking approach to improving healthcare delivery, and discusses the merit of applying design thinking towards improving global healthcare delivery especially in resource poor settings. The essay concludes by saying that it could be useful to funnel healthcare delivery ideas through a local design-thinking center funded by non-profit organizations. Doing so create at least three values: to provide a common/open platform for social entrepreneurship, to rule in or rule out ideas efficiently through prototyping before significant investments are made, and to build a knowledge base for a local market that benefits future similar endeavors. Challenges for such local design center include the ability to retain top talents, to respond to high number of ideas, and to engage the local market.

Innovation is not just about creating new solutions; it is also about creating new problems to begin with. The world has put a lot of emphasis on the former, but the latter could be even more important, especially for breakthrough products or services. Apple is a classic example. Steve Jobs’ biggest question is how can one produce something that is as aesthetically beautiful as a Macbook? It later transcends from a good to a great product.

Analysis of the Mayo Clinic Design Innovation Model

Mayo Clinic certainly knows that asking the right questions to begin with is the first step towards improving healthcare delivery. So they set up SPARC, with the sole purpose to explore the current ways by which patients experience healthcare. This open-mindedness allowed them to examine every step of the current workflow [click to continue…]


What is the role of design thinking in global health delivery?

December 1, 2011

We were lucky enough to have Jose Colucci, IDEO’s Health and Wellness lead in Boston, join our class yesterday for an interactive workshop on design thinking and human centered design.  We’ve spent much time this semester looking at different business models and evaluating the care delivery value chain (see this great article for an example more »

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Further down the road with Riders for Health

November 16, 2011

We looked at Riders for Health for the third time this year, which we here at MIT always enjoy doing. And this time were lucky enough to get a call into class from Lakshmi Karan, the organization’s Global Strategy Director. What makes the Riders model work? Our past blog posts present some ideas (start with more »

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Mini studies of innovative business models for global health

July 12, 2011

What can we learn by looking at enterprises that seek to address health delivery challenges? MIT students share their observations of front-line organizations Modern medicine could reduce disease greatly, yet fails to reach millions in Africa and elsewhere. Innovations in technology, process, and finance may help address the delivery challenges. At MIT Sloan’s Business Models more »

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Health innovation: Technology + Entrepreneurs + Institutions

December 12, 2010

A brand-new special issue of BMC International Health and Human Rights features a special collection on Health innovation in sub-Saharan Africa. The papers present examples from Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda of how science and technology innovations are connected to entrepreneurship and institutions in specific examples. The very first article more »

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technology: the glamorous and the grinding

December 4, 2010

Can we make process, management, and systems a bit less dreary and a bit more glam? So, we’re at MIT, where technology is in the air, and I have my own personal obsessions with technology–witness my (often flawed) forays into twitter, delicious, and too many mobile phones, along with plenty of other tech tools. Working more »

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Riders, revisited

November 5, 2010

We looked at Riders for Health last year and were taken with their undeniable coolness as well as the focus and completeness of their operational model. Check out this discussion and related links. Since then, a new study and articles have come out: here’s Fueling Growth by Sonali Rammohan in Stanford Social Innovation Review, Summer more »

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Riders for Health as a radically incremental innovation in health care delivery

October 16, 2009

We all agree that Riders for Health are pretty cool–Ducati are sponsors, and the pictures and videos on their website make us wish we could hang out with them. But Riders also offers us a model for global health delivery worth exploring in detail. The organization is successful in their focused approach: they deliver motorcycle more »

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