Free ice cream, navigation arrows and post-its

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"What will feel good to you at the end of the week, how will you know if things went well?" "I just want our employees to feel engaged and empowered, that'd make me feel good" —Chip Davis, Ph.D., President Sibley Memorial Hospital.

Challenge: Give away 200 ice cream sandwiches on a 98 degree day


  • word of mouth
  • email blast
  • signs


Ducktape arrows leading from the sweltering pavement outside, through the lobby to the Innovation Hub.

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And then there was a catch... before people could claim their 'free' ice cream, they had to undertake a mission:

2014-06-18 15.23.21How might we unlock creativity at Sibley

  1. Come inside
  2. Read the rules of brainstorming
  3. Grab a post-it
  4. Draw and write your idea
  5. Take your idea to Dr. Davis's office, and post it on his door (really, it's ok!)
  6. Come get ice cream

reall its ok


What happened?

Here's the CEO's door after 1 hour:

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What we learned:

Well, people like  ice cream and it goes fast! And people are already really creative! Some common themes from the post-its include:

  •  Sports related - softball clubs, bike clubs, Sibley sports teams
  • Communications - intra-team meetings, more wireless communications
  • Patient-centered - daily quiet time, more handicap entrances, animal therapy, music therapy

Wow! These are amazing ideas and they all happened in under an hour. They came from patients, and families, and visitors, and staff, and physicians; even a cab driver came in for ice cream!

And we also learned some other neat insights.

Simple color-coded arrows, in this case our crude duck tape arrows were so effective, we ran out of ice cream in an hour. That gives us some ideas about the project to improve navigation in the medical office building. Is there something we can do with colors, or arrows, or lines?

But the best part? Dr. Davis has a door full of post-its as proof that our Sibley team is excited and engaged with The Hub.