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    Innovating Customer Experience with Design Thinking: The Doug Dietz Story

    The importance of customer experience (CX) for organizational success

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      Vaughan Broderick

      Vaughan Broderick

      Hi friends 👋,

      Customer experience (CX) is one of the most critical factors for an organisation’s long-term success.

      Let’s think about it.

      We all know that the story of bad news travels fast; the same can be true for positive news. According to ​SEMrush,​ 90% of people are likelier to trust a recommended brand (even from strangers).

      ​McKinsey states​ that leading customer experience companies tanked less and recovered faster from the pandemic by 3x above the laggards.

      We’re not competitor-obsessed; we’re customer-obsessed. We start with what the customer needs, and we work backwards. – Jeff Bezos

      The commercial ROI on CX makes a lot of sense.

      But what about CX in complex public services like healthcare?

      Today, we’ll explore a story of how design thinking in paediatric services created a breakthrough customer experience AND improved the bottom line.

      Let’s dive in!

      From Design Engineer to Design Thinker

      Doug Dietz, a dedicated and unassuming figure in high-tech medical imaging systems, found himself at the crossroads of innovation and empathy.

      With over two decades of experience at General Electric (GE) Healthcare, a division of the global conglomerate, Doug played a pivotal role in designing advanced medical imaging devices.

      His journey showcases the transformative power of design thinking, human-centred innovation, and the remarkable impact they can have on customer experience.

      A Chance Encounter with Reality

      Doug’s expertise is crafting cutting-edge magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) systems.

      Proud of his work, Doug awaited the installation of his latest MRI machine in a hospital.

      However, the true impact of his design hit him unexpectedly.

      As he stood beside his creation in a hospital’s scanning suite, Doug conversed with the machine’s technician. He asked her about the new features and awaited praise.

      But as they spoke, his attention was drawn to a frail young girl being led by her worried parents.

      The girl’s tears and apprehension struck Doug deeply.

      The technician informed him that many children needed sedation due to fear, hindering their scans.

      The encounter left Doug rattled, changing his perspective forever.

      Instead of seeing his machine as a marvel of technology, he realised that, to a child, it resembled a scary contraption.

      This insight led Doug to reframe the problem. Rather than accept the situation or move on, Doug embarked on a journey to make a change.

      Embracing Human-Centred Design

      Doug’s quest for a solution led him to explore human-centred design.

      He attended a workshop introducing him to a fresh approach to design and innovation, emphasising empathy and collaboration.

      Here, he learned to understand consumer needs by observing and interacting with users, fostering cross-industry collaboration, and iteratively building on ideas.

      The Transformation Begins

      Back at GE, Doug resolved to redesign the MRI experience for paediatric patients.

      He began by observing children in daycare centres and consulting child life specialists to comprehend their experiences.

      He assembled a diverse team, including experts from a local children’s museum, hospitals, and volunteers.

      Together, they transformed the MRI suite into an immersive adventure for children.

      Doug’s design retained the complex technology of the MRI machine but reframed the experience.

      The once-intimidating chamber became a pirate ship, a spaceship, and various other adventures.

      Colourful decals adorned every surface, aromatherapy was used, stories and music are played and machine operators guided young patients through the imaginative journey using creative scripts.

      Impact and Change

      Doug’s new design drastically reduced the need for sedation (from 80% to less than 1%), increasing patient satisfaction scores by 90% and higher hospital efficiency.

      Beyond numbers, his greatest reward was the simple question of a young patient who, after the scan, asked if they could return the next day.

      Parents were more relaxed helping children to be relaxed too.

      Doug’s creative confidence led him to a new role as a thought leader at GE, transforming his career trajectory.

      “If you get the child, you get the parent” – Doug Dietz

      video preview

      ⚡️ The Short of it

      Doug’s journey showcases the potential of creative confidence and human-centred design to bring about positive change.

      Here’s the key points we can learn:

      • Doug’s curiosity and openness to learn provided the opportunity to identify a need and to do something about it.
      • Doug had the low ego orientation to realise the best technology doesn’t equate to the best innovation. Without designing the whole experience, implementation can fall short and create unintended consequences.
      • Doug had the conviction and courage transcend his ‘job title’, gain confidence of leaders, align and collaborate stakeholders, and continually iterate until the right design formula was found.

      🎁 Resource Hub:

      ✍🏻 VB's Journal

      • Two week mid-term break from teaching design thinking

      Team dynamics can be a barrier or catalyst for innovation and high-performance.

      The team I’m part of are on a journey towards high-performance.

      The individual behaviours collectively create the culture. So, anytime your team changes significantly, so too does the culture. Ours has doubled overnight.

      As a team, we’re working to become high-performing by:

      • Gaining team alignment through the Team Canvas
      • Designing our strategy to win in the startup market
      • Experimenting with ways of working like daily stands and kanban boards to build communication, collaboration and visibility

      Progress > perfection

      That’s all for today friends! 👋

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      Thanks for reading and I’ll catch you next week.

      Keep future-state thinking,