IDEO - design thinking in healthcare

This episode features leaders from one of the very best design companies in the entire world: IDEO. IDEO is a pioneer of human-centered design and they work with leading organizations of all sizes to solve complex challenges. IDEO has offices in 9 cities across 5 different countries. I met Dennis Boyle, one of the partners and founding members of IDEO at the Digital Orthopaedic Conference. A few days after that conference, Dennis gave me a tour of the IDEO studio in Palo Alto where he showed me some of their work ranging from toys and voting booths, to wearable sensors and surgical kits. On this podcast, I was joined by both Dennis and Dr. Farzad Azimpour. Farzad is a cardiologist and the Director of Health at IDEO. He also serves as an Adjunct Professor at Stanford University School of Medicine, and Assistant Director of Design at Stanford Byers Center for Biodesign.

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In short, these guys know design. Tune in as we dive into the design thinking process to talk about some of the best tips to implement, and the most common mistakes to avoid when going through the design thinking process. We also talked about the myriad resources that IDEO has developed over the years which include a range of books, videos, templates and websites that are available for you to access. They have made an unbelievable amount of information available, and, to make make it easy for you, I’ve put a load of direct links below. Enjoy the conversation with Dennis Boyle and Farzad Azimpour!

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Today's Topics

  • IDEO’s roots in design thinking and the innovation process
  • What ‘design thinking’ is and how it gets applied to products, services, and environments
  • What we can learn from the extreme cases as compared to the averages
  • The big mistake made by experienced and successful professionals
  • Why doctors should be designers and doctors should be designers
  • How technology can reduce the burden and workload on healthcare professionals and allow better human connections and relationships with patients

Links and Resources Mentioned

Lightning Round Answers

What advice do you have for others working to innovate in healthcare

Mentorship is an important part of this game. Learning from mentors is critical.

We make a contribution to a charity in appreciation of your time on the show – what charity have you selected and can you tell us a little about what they do?

Diatribe Foundation  The diaTribe Foundation was founded with a mission to improve the lives of people with diabetes, prediabetes and obesity, and to advocate for action.

St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital The mission of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is to advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment. Consistent with the vision of our founder Danny Thomas, no child is denied treatment based on race, religion or a family's ability to pay.

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Dan Kendall

Dan Kendall


As an engineer and business leader, I've worked to develop, launch and scale innovative products and solutions that impact health and wellness. As an entrepreneur, I know firsthand what it takes to start a business, build a team, and compete in the global marketplace.

On Digital Health Today, I leverage my experiences to help great leaders and innovators tell their stories and connect to users, investors and other stakeholders.

Connect with me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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