Managing Vulnerability and Uncertainty
Developing design competencies within an American healthcare non-profit.
Keywords:Uncertainty, Vulnerability, healthcare, non-profit
This case study explores building design competencies and a design-driven organizational culture within an American healthcare non-profit. With a staff are primarily from the healthcare space, as well as some in banking and sales, we look at how the staff has adapted to working within a design-driven organization. By applying iterative design methods and embracing innovation and uncertainty we observe how the organization’s founder has helped guide team members through a process of discomfort and vulnerability within an experimentally-driven and human-centered organization.Using interviews with employees and the founder at various points in new employee on-boarding processes we chart a transformational arc over six months. The learnings to share include both the universal and the particular: what are the core competencies to develop in all organizational members, and what are the specific and different ways competencies can take form. From building explicitly shared languages to facilitated sensemaking this case study offers an opportunity to share new and developing practices for embedding design-driven innovation and management practices in new fields and contexts.