Innovation in the Medical Design Industry through the use of Phenomenological Themes

Minke Dijkstra, Mieke van der Bijl-Brouwer, Geke Dina Simone Ludden, W. Mees van der Bijl

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The healthcare industry struggles with the creation of radical innovations due to many different stakeholders with competing interests. This research project aimed at the development of a methodology that supports medical designers to create innovations by using deep human insights. As a starting point, we used a four-layer model of insights into human needs and aspirations, ranging from solutions (‘what’) and scenarios (‘how’), to goals and themes (‘why’). To transform this model into a design methodology, we iteratively developed and evaluated the methodology together with medical designers in a real world design setting. As a result, we distinguished five stages of a so called ‘Thematic Framing’ process: (1) current frame, (2) needs and aspirations, (3) themes, (4.a) new frames, (4.b) ideas for solutions, and (5) opportunities. The added value of the methodology is that the ‘why’ level is divided in why’s on the goal level – within the design context – and why’s at the theme level that will be analysed outside the design context. Moving outside the design context allows for mapping the pattern of the theme to solutions in other contexts; this can create metaphors that can subsequently form a bridge to new frames and solutions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIASDR 2915 Interplay
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings
EditorsVesna Popovic, Alethea Blackler, Ding-Bang Luh, Nithikul Nimkulrat, Ben Kraal, Yukari Nagai
Place of PublicationBrisbane, Australia
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2015
EventWorld Conference on Design Research, IASDR 2015: Interplay - Brisbane, Australia
Duration: 2 Nov 20155 Nov 2015


ConferenceWorld Conference on Design Research, IASDR 2015


  • METIS-314856
  • IR-101235


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