What are some of your research techniques?

November 11th, 2013

Deborah Adler

A few years ago, we discovered a technique that has been one of the most important and valuable things I’ve learned as both a designer and an entrepreneur. If you really want to understand who it is you are designing for, and who is at the heart of your work, you must go to the gemba. Gemba is a Japanese term that actually comes from Lean manufacturing. It translates as “The Real Place,” the place where the work is done. It’s where we see what really happens and what needs changing, it’s where we discover little things that turn into big things. Many times, just being there; watching, asking, solving is all the research we do. For example, the gemba for ClearRx was my grandmothers medicine cabinet. For our Foley catheter redesign, it’s the patients bedside. For surgical procedure trays, it’s central sterile supply rooms. They are everywhere, and the trick is to go and be present.

How important is empathy in your design process?

November 11th, 2013

Deborah Adler

Empathy is a huge ingredient in any work that I do. I’m not creating for the world, I’m creating for a person. In order to understand this person, I have to put myself in her shoes. What would I do if I were her? How would I feel? What would I need next? This may sound funny, but I have a love affair with the person that’s at the heart of my work. Without this deep understanding, it’s difficult for my work to succeed.

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