Jul 03, 2012

Triple Bottom Lunch: Adam Dole, Mayo Clinic

Elysa Soffer's picture
Elysa Soffer

Mayo Clinic business planning manager Adam Dole was our third guest speaker for Hot Studio’s Triple Bottom Lunch event in May. For his presentation Adam explained the role of his team—Business Development and New Ventures—and how they introduce design-thinking to influence behavior change and disease prevention programs in Mayo’s large organization.

A recent graduate of California College of the Arts’ DMBA program, and former strategist at Method, Adam shared his inspiring career path which began with a position at NASA’s Human Factors Lab. While at the lab, he was a member of a multidisciplinary team made up of physicians, psychologists, and engineers conducting research on astronauts to better understand the physiological and psychological impact of stress under extreme conditions, in preparation for the long duration of a space flight to Mars.

Exception to the rule
Mayo Clinic, a not-for-profit healthcare organization based out of Rochester, Minnesota, has a reputation for using innovative approaches to treat complex medical cases. Its fully integrated patient experience is world-renowned. From the moment a patient arrives at the airport in Rochester until release from the clinic, Mayo has intimately designed the touch points throughout the entire patient experience. However, Adam explained, this is an episodic view of healthcare which is not only very costly, but does not adequately address opportunities to proactively prevent such complex cases which are contributing to the chronic disease epidemic in the United States.

Designing to prevent illness
This is where Adams’s team at Mayo gets involved. The Business Development and New Ventures team identifies businesses that can broaden the reach and impact of Mayo Clinic. Adam focuses on opportunities to help people effectively manage their personal health and engage them in healthy behavior, hopefully preventing them from becoming patients.
The nimble team collaborates with groups across the institution, including the Center for Innovation which employs researchers, service designers, and design strategists. Adam and his team get involved when there are commercial applications to insights that could lead to the development of new products, services, and business.

Adam recognizes that he's not a medical expert, which is exactly why Mayo Clinic hires people like him. Mayo wants people who can think differently, outside of the traditional healthcare mindset. Most of Adam’s projects require specific domain experts who he can leverage from across the institution. For example, he calls on behavioral psychologists when the goal is to facilitate a change in behavior, or cardiologists for projects intending to reduce risks for heart failure patients.

Communicating the case for change
Mayo is one of the oldest not-for-profit healthcare institutions in the United States. It can be difficult to drive ideas forward within large organizations, especially ones that have been around for many years and are more resistant to change. Adam's team’s focus on preventative care creates many conversations at the highest level of the organization around investment decisions and core values.

Adam's team also faces cultural challenges, common within large organizations. Identifying the right key stakeholders to make decisions on budgets—and convincing them of a project’s value—is a very involved process, especially when key stakeholders are less familiar with a specific opportunity space. This is why it's critical for the team to not only be great storytellers, but also create high level concepts and bring them to life through rapid prototyping. 

Triple Bottom Lunch concluded with Adam pitching his latest innovation. In this project, the Business Development and New Ventures team took advantage of four major trends: Mobility, Connectivity, Big Data, and Personalization.

Adam’s presentation, and his team’s work at Mayo, left everyone at Hot inspired. We look forward to seeing how the work progresses.

To stay tuned, follow Mayo Clinic and Adam Dole on Twitter.

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Triple Bottom Lunch is a monthly event for Hot Studio’s employees organized by Senior Producer Julie Kim, and Sarah Brooks, Director of Social Innovation. The purpose of Triple Bottom Lunch is to expand Hot Studio’s knowledge of current, inspirational trends and discuss different ways to apply them to our work.

Previous guest speakers for Triple Bottom Lunch include Julie Sammons, Director at Bay Area Biomimicry Network (read more about her visit); Patrice Martin, IDEO.org Co-Lead & Creative Director; and Liz Ogbu, current IDEO.org fellow.

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