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Making the world healthier through design-doing

Co-creating solutions to drive thoughtful innovation 



SeanCarney hr

At Philips we have an ambitious goal: to improve the lives of 3 billion people a year by 2025. We want to do that by delivering solutions that address significant societal challenges and unmet end-user needs. As such, you might have read my view on innovation in my previous blog and, even more importantly, about how we are driving innovation through design within Philips.

This year we are celebrating 90 years of design at Philips. Looking back at all these designs, you can’t help but notice the impact each and every single design has had on people’s lives around the world. Today I believe the impact of design on innovation is bigger than ever.


That said, no single company will be able to create such solutions alone, so it will need to be done by working together closely with others.


In healthcare, it will no longer be enough to create the world’s best imaging equipment; we need to bring enterprise-wide solutions to hospitals and to emerging healthcare systems that are accountable for the care delivered to entire populations.


In lighting, it will no longer be enough to create the most energy efficient lamp with the best quality of light; instead, we need to bring connected lighting solutions that operate seamlessly as a sub-system of a smart building or smart city solutions.


Designing for ecosystems makes it possible to truly understand in real time not only people’s personal needs but also the local context and societal issues. For these reasons, we embrace and foster co-creation of solutions together with leading customers, like healthcare providers or governments, who share our values for a more sustainable and healthier world.


Let me share a few examples of recent activities that, to me, truly represent ‘Design Doing’ – driving thoughtful innovation across the organization and beyond, together with our partners.


Harvard Summer School Program
In August, Philips Design teamed up with Harvard University (USA) and their Harvard Summer School program. The five weeks’ co-creation program was joined by students, professionals and speakers from across the world and focused particularly on societal health challenges, such as diet and nutrition, well-being and stress, and self-diagnostics and oral health. Within these five weeks, and by applying the full co-creation process and Systems Thinking techniques and principals, six value propositions in the personal health domain were developed, prototyped and tested.

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Innovating with the Red Cross
A great example of ‘Design Doing’ was the recent co-create workshop with the Red Cross. As partner of the Philips Foundation and the celebrations around ’90 years of design at Philips’, we committed to ‘giving a gift back’ by facilitating a dedicated co-create session. Some 70 participants from Philips Design, the Red Cross and representatives from the Philips Foundation – all with their very own vision, skills and capabilities – ideated for two days on topics such as antenatal care and data management, applying the Philips Design co-create process. They delivered some great ideas that can serve as starting points for further innovation at the Red Cross going forward.

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Teaming Up to Transform Patient Experience
Another proof point that illustrates the value of design to drive innovation is our strategic engagement with a hospital in South Florida. Philips Design and Research teams worked together with Healthcare Transformation Services (HTS) clinical, operational and financial consultants at the hospital to assess all aspects of the patient experience and clinical workflow to improve operational efficiency within the emergency department.


The team took a holistic approach, looking at market growth demands, real-time tracking data and analytics, applying financial modeling and integrating first-hand assessments on patient flows, interactions and comfort levels. Following the co-create ways of working, they put together an experience flow map to identify opportunities for process and experience improvement. Moving on, they ideated with the caregiver team to create tangible concepts and solutions.


The visualization of these helped to clearly communicate the user advantages. The financial modeling showed a new emergency department renovation solution that was less than half of the capital cost of an expansion and with much lower ongoing operational costs. Click here for more detailed information.


To me, these examples show the amazing collaborative thinking power as well as the local relevance that can be achieved by working and designing together. At Philips Design, we are careful not to focus on what might be technically possible, but instead on the shifting needs of people and how those needs can be addressed to make their lives healthier and happier. Observing societies and how people live and work within them remains central to the design approach.


The way design at Philips contributes to realizing our vision has been summarized in the recently launched Design Manifesto. Let’s make the world healthier and more sustainable through a future we design together.



Find out more about how Philips is celebrating 90 years of design.

SeanCarney hr

Sean Carney


Chief Design Officer

Sean Carney is Chief Design Officer for Philips. As the head of the design competence across the company, he is leading global teams delivering insight-driven, meaningful innovation which bring value to people and business.


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