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Purpose-Driven Design + Problem Finding + Behavioral Design with Amy Heymans — DT101 E53

Amy Heymans is Mad*Pow’s Chief Experience Officer and one its founders. We talk about how the practice of design is evolving, the emerging role of behavior design, purpose-driven design, and making sure the problems designers are asked to solve connect to business outcomes. Show Host: Dawan Stanford

Show Summary

A love of art led Amy into a career as a designer. She started in web design during the dot-com bubble where she became passionate about user research, usability, and user experience. After the bubble burst, she began to freelance, working in partnership with a former colleague. One project led to another, and the two continued to work together until, eventually, they founded Mad*Pow, fueled by Amy’s vision of design being used to improve the human condition.

Their passion for creating positive change transformed them into healthcare innovation pioneers. Since its inception, Mad*Pow has been at the forefront of helping businesses across multiple industries create human-centered and purpose-driven solutions using design thinking, strategic design, and behavioral change design.

Amy offers listeners her insight into the way design is currently evolving, what the future of design will look like, and how behavior change design is an integral part of that evolution.

Listen in to learn more about:

  • The evolution of design thinking and purpose-driven design
  • Innovation in healthcare
  • How designers are shaping business model design
  • The business environment necessary for long-term innovation success
  • Behavior change design — what it is, and how it’s changing design

Our Guest’s Bio

Amy believes that design can help improve the human condition. It was with that mission and vision that she founded Mad*Pow in 2000. Amy plays an essential role in Mad*Pow’s visualization of a changed healthcare system in the United States. Her work with companies like Aetna, CVS, McKesson, and Fidelity has helped them improve the experiences their patients and customers have with them, leverage design to drive change, and facilitate human-centric innovation. As the chief instigator behind Mad*Pow’sHealthcare Experience Design Conference—now in its fifth year and expanded and rebranded as HxRefactored—Amy has successfully connected and networked disparate parts of a challenging and siloed system.

As a speaker, Amy shares her vision and methodology at influential events such as Design Management Institute, UXPA, IA Summit, Partners Center for Connected Health Symposium, Stanford MedicineX, Health 2.0, and HIMSS.

With her partners Will Powley and Bradley Honeyman, Amy’s grown Mad*Pow’s presence, client base, and revenue, leading to Mad*Pow’s 2009 recognition as one of Inc. 500’s fastest growing privately held companies. Mass High Tech, which named her one of its 2009 Women to Watch, has recognized Amy’s passion, energy, and commitment, and she’s been acknowledged as one of Boston’s “40 Under 40” by the Boston Business Journal for 2014. She supports the vision and mission of An Orphan’s Dream, a nonprofit organization offering an oasis for AIDS-orphaned children in Gachoka, Kenya.

Show Highlights

[02:02] Amy’s love of art led her to a career in design.
[03:19] Freelancing and co-founding Mad*Pow.
[04:30] How design work has changed and evolved over the years.
[04:55] Big brands can be thanked for putting design front and center.
[06:04] Behavior change design is becoming more prominent in design now.
[06:30] Purpose-driven design: finding the balance between what a business wants to achieve and what their customers or clients want to achieve.
[07:16] The ways Amy approaches the topic of purpose-driven design with potential clients.
[08:12] Banks are now recognizing the need for purpose-driven design in their industry.
[09:53] The pre-pandemic state of health systems and behavioral design.
[10:24] Health systems had begun moving towards value-based care.
[11:40] There is no “silver bullet” tech innovation that will fix our healthcare systems.
[12:55] Amy talks about the gaps between the wants and goals of health insurance companies, healthcare systems, and their patients.
[13:20] Amy sees collaboration between groups of companies as the next frontier in healthcare innovation.
[14:32] Focus of design has shifted to working directly with a business to tailor solutions.
[15:13] How design is helping to innovate business models and strategies.
[15:49] Business design is a blend of design thinking and business strategy.
[17:24] The environment that’s needed in an organization for a project to succeed and thrive long-term.
[19:48] Amy’s advice to business leaders considering working with a design firm.
[20:10] The importance of understanding the problem space before jumping to a solution.
[21:53] Why Amy believes the future of design is behavior change design.
[23:23] How behavioral science and behavioral design is changing the field of design.
[24:20] Designing today means using both creative right-brain and analytical left-brain.
[26:56] The state of healthcare design during today’s COVID-19 crisis.
[27:50] How digital health and home healthcare are evolving.
[29:00] COVID-19 has shone a light on healthcare inequity and the social determinants of health.
[30:26] Amy talks about her interest in the ethos-logos-pathos concept.
[31:03] Amy recommends designers study philosophy, communication and speech-writing.
[33:17] Information about Mad*Pow’s two conferences.


Amy on MadPow
Amy on LinkedIn
Amy on Twitter
Amy’s page on MassArt
Transforming our Empathy into A Future of Connectedness
Designing an Eco-system of Care, from Stanford MedicineX 2013
Our Calling: Improve Health, from HXRefactored 2015
Design for Change: Empathy as our Guide
The Case for Purpose-Driven Design TEDx Talk by Amy
Design for Change: Empathy and Purpose, HXR 2016
Purpose Driven Design Can Change The World
Designing for Systemic Change Fireside Chat
Design Museum interview with Amy
Edison Profile of Amy (video)
The Three Pillars of Persuasion: Ethos, Logos, Pathos
Book Recommendation: Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business, by John Mackey and Rajendra Sisodia

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

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