3 Design Perspectives of a Colonoscopy

It’s a milestone they say, the year of your first colonoscopy.  I say it’s a huge opportunity to observe some good design, or at least get some perspective and critique.

Prep

Really, we’re talking prep and starvation.

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First, why hasn’t someone come up with a “colonoscopy prep kit”?  All the laxatives, stool softeners and toilet paper in one fine package you can pick up at your local pharmacy.  Why, this would mean the physicians would need to agree on the actual prep supplies.  As stated from the Rite Aid customer service person stocking the shelves: “I’ve never had a customer need two of THOSE.”  Hmmm…

And second, how about a nice recipe for a healthy, clear (no red allowed) broth, or even better one that is bottled/canned and is a part of the prep kit?  This would mean one less shopping stop for procedure prep.  There is only so much Gatorade one can drink.  We’re talking fluids people, and not just water, for 2 days.  That is plural.

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Anticipation

Anticipating any medical procedure can bring out the best in design awareness and critique.  Why so many medical forms?  Shouldn’t everyone already have the triplicate medical history forms on file by now?  How about the generic instructions sent via snail-mail noting that eating nuts and popcorn the week before are not allowed.  Do they not realize the Costco size trail mix is a staple in my diet?

Design Thinking design opportunities abound everywhere in a surgical center!  The risk of fatal infection has everything packaged; clever, simple and with graphics superior to food labels.  My favorite is still the staple gun used to close my son’s head wound.  So. Very. Clever.  It was disposable and that meant, keepable, and thus part design critiquing.

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Process

Yes, it’s all about the process.  The medical screening surgical process.  The “meeting the surgeon” process.  The “meeting the anesthesiologist”, the IV, the lighting, the clothing (or lack there of), the Michael Jackson drugs, the instrumentation processes.  If only I had my camera along to document it all.  Spring design, clothing details, recessed buttons, touch screens, bezels and more.  One could teach an entire course of product design, especially detail part design, in just one room.  One surgical room; tool box and calipers supplied.

Three Reasons Whiteboards Work

A lot of people think there is a clear delineation between right- and left-brain thinking; and that you’re either right or left. Left-brain dominant thinkers have an aptitude for logic, reasoning, language, and numbers. That’s why most engineers are very left-brained. Right-brained thinkers are good with intuition, creativity, colors, images, and they’re very visual.   Instead of having one or the other, we all have a combination of both left- and right-brained characteristics, though one may be more dominant than the other.

In the process of product development, it’s important to have a balance between both sides, and to be able to create something fantastic together. Whiteboard sketching brings together the best logical, intuitive, well-reasoned, and creative minds from across company work groups to create innovative products.

The three ways whiteboards contribute to a product development process is by facilitating concepts, collaboration, and sharing visions.

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Concepts

Big ideas, or things that need to get out of your head and into the world, needs to be put on a whiteboard. By putting it on the board, it gives others the opportunity to see it, get it or not, ask questions, and add or subtract things to make it stronger.

The idea doesn’t have to be fully baked before sharing. In fact, it probably helps that it’s not. That’s not what the idea exploration phase is about. Any concept that goes from idea to physical creation is going to change along the way based on factors like materials, cost, function, market readiness, and sales channel. So, the sooner the idea is shared, even if it’s just a seed of an idea, the sooner the world gets to see it.

Collaboration

The beauty of putting ideas on a whiteboard is that everyone can access it, the left- and right-brained alike can weigh-in on what makes sense from their unique mindset and department, and bounce ideas back and forth live and in-person.

Sharing your vision on the whiteboard gives everyone in the room the same visual to work with and build upon. It gets every side of the brain in the room, and working together at everyone’s best strengths. That’s how good design is done.

Share

Whiteboard sketching facilitates sharing. After an idea is shared, and team members come together to build it out, it’s time to communicate the completed vision.  With contributions of colleagues from different work groups, who all have different ways of thinking, the presentation of the idea can be much more clear, targeted, and well-reasoned than it would be if a single department or individual created it in a silo.

The idea now has company wide buy-in across all disciplines, and the relevance to each department has been baked into the function and design of the product. The efficiency with which the product can move through the product development process is greatly expedited as a result, and products can go to market quicker with this design thinking approach.


Whiteboard sketching is a catalyst for idea exploration, collaboration across work groups, and is an easier sell when it comes time to pitch the idea for production. A picture is worth a thousand words, they say, but when used effectively, it can be worth millions.