Week 2: Empathy Building

(Cont. from week 2)

A week later, we reconvened to share what we had discovered through captured quotes and observations, probing further to see what each person heard, saw, and felt in each interview.

Our interviews ranged from interviews of family and friends, to interviews of current patients that were at various points throughout their treatment.  We heard stories about individuals’ relationship with “normal”. We learned about the many ways that one could try to find comfort—for some, something as simple as starting blog, and for others cosmetic surgeries or entirely changing their outlook on life. 

People expressed discomfort around certain visual and auditory triggers, like the music that gets played during treatments.  People shared both the benefits and stress related to their support groups, the treatment journey, the people they met along the way—it was endlessly valuable and impactful.     

Having captured all of these ideas on post-its displayed on a large poster-board, we took a few moments to digest the information in front of us.  We quickly moved on to the difficult task of silently grouping post-it notes across the wide variety of interviews around common themes or concepts.  As we silently moved post-its around the board, some began to find homes very quickly, while others were moved repeatedly; others were never touched. Once we began to share our ideas overtly, we tried to define the appropriate ideas that would encompass or define the group of post-its that had emerged. 

Looking at the topics and ideas that had emerged, we began to think of problem statements, or articulations of what we were really trying to solve. It also forces us to start defining our end-user and naming exactly how we interpreted a challenge heard in our interviews.  The problems that we defined were now the launch-point for our next task—completing a longer, in-depth interview that focused on learning more about our individual problem statement. 

With this, the 3rd of of 7 meetings now behind us, we are truly midway through the project.  What lies ahead in our in-depth interviews, in the prototyping soon to follow, and the continuing feedback we may hear is yet to be known, but we continue to be in the midst of a huge opportunity to improve the care we provide our patients. 

I have been sharing pieces of the stories that we have been hearing, but would love to hear from anyone who wants to share their own experiences. Feel free to email HubBlog@jhmi.edu if you want to share any of your own experiences, feelings, comments, or ideas.  Feel free to come by the Hub and find me, too.