Extreme Sprint!

Rehab Clinical Program Manager Jessica Michie facilitated a design session to improve the community sessions held at Sibley’s warm-water therapeutic pool. The group of 16 brought together staff from all different areas of OP Rehab, including Registration, Front Desk, Therapists, Rehab Techs, and the Director of Rehabilitation Services.

This sprint differed from most, however.  It was one of the fastest sprints we’ve ever seen – the team went through the process of challenge/pain point identification, creating “How Might We’s,” several rounds of brainstorming and selecting ideas to test – all in one hour!


Jessica set the stage by echoing Chip’s words about the formidable assets at Sibley’s disposal – 20 acres at the top of Embassy Row in the nation’s capital at a time of unprecedented change in healthcare. She added that we also have the area’s only warm-water therapeutic pool that can provide relief for a variety of conditions – and our challenge and opportunity is to figure out how to best utilize that resource.

As the participants thought through ways to improve different aspects of the community pool experience, such as user safety and the scheduling process, Jessica encouraged her team to try a different kind of brainstorming: one which includes multiple, fast-paced group sessions using Hub Advisor Doug Solomon’s trademark of coming up with at least one idea that is either impractical, immoral, or illegal. With this technique, while none of the more wild ideas may ultimately end up being selected, they can open a pathway to new ways of thinking about the situation.

With the encouragement to go broad, the team came up with a wider variety of possible solutions, from new types of classes that could be offered, to tightening up attendance policies, to creating swipable IDs like most fitness clubs use.


Jessica and Dianne McCarthy, the team’s Director, were surprised and excited by the new ideas and suggestions they heard from the team. Jessica said “It was great to see everybody working together and having fun figuring out some things we’ve been thinking about for a while. We came up with some common themes and ideas that were new and unexpected.”

One of the best things about the Design Thinking methodology is its versatility: it can be used for many different purposes, from addressing an issue that is large-scale and complex to something very small and specific. While the process of designing a specific service or product can take weeks, months and even years, many of the DT tools can be used in quick sessions like this. Sometimes it’s enough just to bring a team together in a different environment, in a different way, and create space for them to be heard in the decision-making process.

Quite a few of the participants had never participated in a design thinking activity before, and many had never been in the Hub. We were blown away by the energy, creativity, and openness they brought to the process!

 Janet Satter - jsatter5@jhmi.edu

Janet Satter - jsatter5@jhmi.edu