Someone posted a slideshare presentation on a facebook page the other day with the wonderful title, “what would Steve do?” (Steve being Steve Jobs).
It made me think about focus. When we are trying to make a change or innovate perhaps the best question is not “what do we want to do?”, but rather “what does our customer/client/patient want?”
When setting out to change things, do we really put ourselves in the shoes of those who will be affected by the change? Doing so makes a huge difference.
If you are selling a project or an idea to a commissioner, it’s far better to start with a phrase like, “patients want good signage that helps them find their way round our health centre” than “I have invented a large font signage system which I want to implement”.
Usually a story also helps.
I used to work for a charity for the deaf and blind and the changes they had made to their offices were all in order to make access better for their clients, so better signage for the deaf and voice controls for the blind. They talked to me about the way people enter a building, something I had not really considered before. For a deaf person an intercom system on entry is unbelievably frustrating, whilst for a blind person a lot of glass is dangerous.
Perhaps as a result of learning this, I wanted to implement a better system in my healthcare building that would make more sense to people using it who are elderly and may have visual and hearing challenges. Starting from their perspective and what will help them will make far more sense to the people who have to pay for a new system. Collecting information on how many people get lost, how many end up tired and frustrated even before they have seen their healthcare practitioner may also help make my case.
Telling a story of Allan who is 81 and deaf and cannot hear when his name is called and gets increasingly upset and anxious waiting to be called to see the doctor makes far more sense than walking into a meeting with commissioners or managers and saying we need an electronic screen in the surgery.
If you have a great idea which will change services and make a difference, try to consider it from the point of view of your patient or consider the challenges facing commissioners and managers before you make a pitch for funds. Thinking something is a great idea, when it comes from a provider’s standpoint and involves an injection of cash is not the same as a great idea which is backed by patients and comes from their views of services and answers a problem which commissioners face.