From December 2013 – January 2014, I participated in the third year of IIT Institute of Design’s India Immersion Program (IIP). Over the course of five weeks, I consulted for a large corporation to explore and identify opportunities in healthcare.
The team comprised of two students (including myself) and three client employees from different departments; none of us had worked together before and we each had varying levels of knowledge about the topic.
We iterated through a design process from primary research to solution prototyping, resulting in a final recommendation and presentation that was delivered to top managers and company executives. Because our work was protected by a non-disclosure agreement, I can only speak in the abstract about the project.
The Design Journey
We conducted a week of intense user research in offices, hospitals and homes throughout Mumbai, India and were able to document the histories and rich stories of seven unique patients. Several of the interviews were conducted in the local language, so we relied on our native-speaking colleagues to conduct the interviews and translate for us in real-time. During our analysis of patient stories, we identified a unique patient phenomenon. Our ideation focused on addressing this phenomenon and we presented to the executive team a holistic platform.
A Project with Two Goals: Design & Education
My student teammate (Adam) and I were responsible for leading the team through the design process. Our client teammates were introduced to user-centered design through our project. The project had two goals: develop an answer and rationale to the design brief, and educate our teammates on our methods and working process in order to grow organizational capacity in design thinking.
Reactions to Our Work
At the final presentation (and after a harrowing couple nights before), we presented our research, insights and final concept to 60 corporate executives, representatives from multiple business units and the CEO. Feedback from the audience was positive and several audience members applauded us for documenting an important healthcare phenomenon unique to the India context. At the conclusion of our presentation, my teammate asked the audience if they would sign up for our platform and several people raised their hands in affirmation.
Immersion in India
I had never traveled – let alone worked – in India. My colleagues and I were dedicated to the project and the company hosting us provided great opportunities to immerse myself in Indian culture and lifestyles outside of the work day. It was an incredible learning experience and I will never forget living, learning and working there.