Two ingredients to good design: careful collaboration and an open mind
When I joined Philips in 2013 after more than 15 years in design consulting, I knew I wasn’t only becoming part of a global company, I was joining a movement to change the way the world will experience healthcare in the future.
Since 1925, Philips Design has been known for outstanding innovation in both the artifacts we design and the methods we employ. Building on Philips’ mission to improve the lives of three billion people by 2020, our design team is single-mindedly dedicated to keeping people at the heart of everything we do.
By nature, designers want to change the world. Our DNA drives us to create visions and bring them to life because we want to deliver value to real people.
Right now, for me, this takes the shape of leading the design of the user experience for Philips Population Health services and solutions. This includes ambulatory care programs for high-risk patients, services for aging in place and new health programs and devices aimed at helping motivate people at risk of disease to make critical lifestyle and health changes. The focus of my work with the team is to create user experiences that are contextually sensitive and highly impactful as well as tightly integrated across the health continuum and with the Philips brand.
Naturally, not every design is going to drive a revolution, but designers thrive on knowing they have made a contribution – however big or small – to progress. This design energy and enthusiasm is exciting to have within a company, but it is not always easy to harness in the right way.
However, being tightly integrated into management teams isn’t an end in itself. The goal is to be sure that the value of design is delivered in the right way and at the right stages of software and product development. As an example, designers are an essential part of creating well-crafted software epics together with product owners and technology teams. This is a fundamental part of our co-creation process. When this doesn’t happen it’s harder to get to a great design. For instance, if a designer gets handed a list of requirements and is told to ‘just start designing, and don’t question these requirements, because we know these are the right things to go build,’ there are going to be issues throughout the program.
Designers do their best work when they understand what problem they’re trying to solve and for whom. This is a critical part of the discovery process, but it’s not just about answering one question: it’s about iteration, open mindedness and not being fixed on one answer. I believe a good designer will reframe a question as often as needed, while driving to deliver an appropriate and well-crafted solution.
Of course, this discussion is not one-sided. In the same way designers wish to be included along the process, it is only right we include – and listen to – the other key experts from our multidisciplinary teams. Design is a process of careful and deliberate collaboration, and that means designers also have to compromise and be able to pivot and evolve the vision. It is important to fight for the qualities you know are essential, without which the design would never deliver on its promise. It’s equally important to stay realistic and realize that success comes from many angles, and only together do all these aspects drive value for the user and in the market.
At Philips, we bring many perspectives to the challenges we are solving but are united by one goal – to improve people’s lives.
VP and Head of Design, Healthcare Informatics Solutions and Services & Personal Health Solutions at Philips
Abby Godee is the head of design for the Healthcare Informatics Solutions and Services and Personal Health Solutions business groups at Philips. Prior to Philips, she spent more than 15 years consulting on innovation strategy, product design and digital service strategies, working across numerous industries such as health care, consumer products, energy and telecommunications.
By clicking on the link, you will be leaving the official Royal Philips Healthcare ("Philips") website. Any links to third-party websites that may appear on this site are provided only for your convenience and in no way represent any affiliation or endorsement of the information provided on those linked websites. Philips makes no representations or warranties of any kind with regard to any third-party websites or the information contained therein.