Health Care Innovation by Service Design

The word “design” comes from latin and simply put it means to consiously develop something. To create something of value which is seen as functional and appealing to the end user or users. Design contains a number of different subdivisions, such as industrial design of products, interactive design for the human-computer interface, fashion design for clothes and service design for services.

Experio Lab works with service design. Service design is characterised as inclusive and based on user needs, allowing for patients, their families, staff and designers to come together as a team to create sustainable health care services and a more positive experience for the patient.

Today, more and more leading companies and organisations are making use of design as part of their innovation strategy. NHS Innovation (UK), MindLab (DK), Mayo Clinic and Kaiser Permanente (USA), among others, are pioneers within the health care service and have inspired us to found Experio Lab. They describe design as a creative, problem-solving, holistic and, above all, user-focused work method.


Our Design Process

In our projects, we work systematically from a design process consisting of five steps.

Illustration of Our Process


To start, we work from a wide perspective, maintaining a dialogue with patients and staff in order to define the challenges and problems together. The aim is to identify the right problems and avoid incorrect assumptions.


At this stage, we want to capture people’s needs, known as well as unknown. In order to identify the needs we use ethnographic tools, such as shadowing and thorough interviews. We often combine several tools to get a better understanding. What people say is not always what people do. This step normally ends with a co-creative workshop to define the problem statement and the design challenge, which provides us with a direction for the rest of the project.


In order to understand people’s needs, we map them out. We do that by, for example, visualising the user experience using a so-called customer journey. This makes the background material understandable to patients and staff. This step provides insights to the user’s needs and the solutions required to meet these needs. We conclude with a co-creative workshop to confirm that we share the same understanding and challenge.


Everyone has the ability to be creative if they are provided with the right tools and conditions and that is what this step is about. Using creative methods and co-creative workshops, patients and staff can work together in a creative process. Ideas lead to concepts which are used to improve services. At an early stage we develop prototypes to evolve and improve the service. We try out the prototypes in the actual environment where they will be used, go back, amend and try again. The goal is to have concrete, radical and well-founded improvements ready for implementation.


The new solutions are implemented. The experience and functionality is then evaluated from a user perspective as well as in relation to previously defined criteria such as quality and economy.

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