I’ll be attending a Human Centered Design training course next week and that got me thinking more about Ideo’s methodology. At an ultra-high level, they promote the ‘Hear – Create – Deliver’ process. Whether or not you’ve identified the problem, the first step is to observe the situation. Hear/observe really means you need to eliminate predispositions, listen to stories, pay attention to natural behaviors, and look for trends.

You can see the Hear phase of HCD in process if you check out a recent HBR article ‘Fighting the Fears that Block Creativity’ in which Tom & David Kelley from Ideo describe how a GE executive made a small transformation to healthcare. Mark Dietz wanted to see his MRI machine in action, and at the hospital recognized that nurses had to sedate most young patients who were going in for radiology because they were afraid of the machines. This observation led him to create a new ‘Adventure Series’ line of MRI machines that had color decals that made kids feel like they are on a pirate ship or a spaceship.

In short, Dietz took the first critical step of observing natural behaviors, recognized an opportunity, took a small risk, prototyped a solution, and tested his concept. The result? GE’s new line of scanners reduces the need for powerful sedatives, and improved countless families’