Nursing + Service Design + Healthcare Innovation with Brittany Merkle — DT101 E38

Welcome to the Design Thinking 101 podcast! I’m Dawan Stanford, your host. Today’s Guest is Brittany Merkle. Her design path started at the University of Virginia in the College of Arts and Sciences. During her first semester, her grandfather was diagnosed with cancer. On weekend trips home, Brittany witnessed the incredible service Hospice offered. When she returned for her second year at college, she immediately changed majors and enrolled in nursing. Brittany shadowed nursing students and learned what nursing looked like as a career.

She jumped into qualitative research and realized she wanted her career to combine two things: 1. Creativity, and 2. Make a difference. “These two seemed very siloed in my mind,” Brittany remarked. She hadn’t yet considered fusing these two aspects into one career.

Brittany wasn’t sure where she wanted to go for graduate school, when she came across the Savannah College of Art and Design. She started with Hospice Case Management, but continued to think of service design in relation to her profession. Brittany enrolled in the SCAD Master’s program and started to unlearn her previous content she learned from her Bachelor’s degree, which was her biggest challenge. She was one of the first nurses to graduate from the SCAD program.

She was looking for a new approach to bring to the healthcare system, which she found as a lead innovation strategist with the University’s healthcare team. Brittany wanted to make her mark in the system and to challenge herself with the design skills she has learned.

Our Guest

Brittany Merkle, RN, BSN, supports the innovation and design thinking efforts in UH Ventures. She graduated from the University of Virginia with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing with distinction, and is graduating from the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) with a Master of Fine Arts in Service Design.

She is one of the first nurses to graduate from SCAD, and the first in the country with this specific degree combination. She has experience in Hospice Case Management, and in acute and urgent care services as a practicing Registered Nurse before she began pursuing her Master’s. Her thesis focused on service design as a lens for nursing innovation.

Brittany is passionate about the demystification of innovation and catalyzing innovative behavior amongst healthcare providers and caregivers. Her work is focused on enhancing patient and provider experiences through innovative care models and digital tools.

Show Highlights

[01:13] Brittany’s background and path to design thinking.
[03:40] Her realization of what she wanted to do with her career.
[06:39] The turning point for Brittany, where her learning became her unlearning.
[08:44] How SCAD spoke to Brittany’s imposter syndrome.
[10:45] Brittany’s design internship.
[12:14] UH’s prototypical healthcare system.
[16:27] New design language Brittany is adapting to her new position.
[17:18] Unique superpowers when she is performing her fieldwork.
[19:33] Advice Brittany would give to other healthcare professionals who do not have a design background.
[27:49] Suggestions for faculty on the innovation side of healthcare.
[30:27] Resources that have helped Brittany along the way.

Links

SCAD | Savannah College of Art & Design Service Design Program
UH Ventures
Brittany Merkle on LinkedIn
Dustin DiTommaso’s Design Thinking 101 Podcast episode Episode 28, Behavior Change Design

Books Recommended

This is Service Design Doing by Marc Stickdorn
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
On Managing Yourself by Harvard Business Review

Resources — Thinking and Solving Like a Designer

Courses

Fluid Hive’s Designing Facilitation Course launches soon. Get notified when enrollment opens.

Good events are essential when creating effective solutions while thinking and acting like a designer. Designing Facilitation shows you how to create effective, engaging events that are easy to lead.

You’ll learn how to apply the Event Design Questions, use over 20 event creation tools, how to avoid common facilitation traps, and make the most of every second people spend at your events. Notify me when the course launches!


Ready to learn new ways to think and solve like a designer today? Enroll in Framing: Creating Better Solutions by Finding More Valuable Problems to Solve — from Fluid Hive’s Design Thinking 101 Learning.

Articles

Ask Like a Designer — Monthly articles with design ideas, methods, frameworks, templates, and a question-fueled approach to design-driven innovation. Discover new ways to think and solve like a designer.

Sample pages from inside Fluid Hive's Innovation Shield

Guide

Download Fluid Hive's Innovation Shield : a guide to avoiding innovation traps by asking 9 of Fluid Hive's Design Thinking Questions.

Learn With Us

Subscribe to Ask Like a Designer. Receive articles, podcast conversations, resources, tips, tools, templates, workshop and event information, and more to help you create and perform.

Innovation Smart Start Webinar

Your next project could be easier, faster and more effective if you play smart at the start. In this webinar Dr. Dawan Stanford will teach you ways to ask like a designer so your projects succeed more often and your revenue grows.