The Search for Feedback

Welcome to this special Friday edition of our blog post. We wish you all safety and warmth in the upcoming winter weather!

My name is Jessica Dawson, and I am a project coordinator at the Innovation Hub. A couple of months ago, I was given the task to informally survey Sibley employees to understand their perceptions regarding the Innovation Hub and design thinking. I am excited to share the story of the survey and the data we collected in this blog post*.

*Please note that some of the pictures in this post will not readily load correctly via email. Instead, click here to view the blog post on our website to see the accompanying pictures as well. 

It was late October of 2015 when my colleagues asked me to create a Heat Map of the hospital about employee knowledge about the Innovation Hub and staff participation in the Hub’s design thinking classes. Departments with a few members who knew about the Innovation Hub or rarely interacted with the Hub were considered cold and departments with high engagement and participation were considered hot. The goal of the Heat Map was to learn where in the hospital we should target to disseminate information about the Innovation Hub and design thinking. The Hub was almost a year and a half old, so we wanted to see how well our messages about ‘what we do’ have spread throughout the hospital.

I realized that the best way to create a Heat Map would be to interview staff members and compare responses across departments. I initially created a 30 second survey that I took up to the floors and departments. I even interviewed some employees during their elevator rides! The surveys asked questions such as if a person had attended a design thinking class, what were limitations holding back a person from taking a design thinking class, if they were interested in taking a design thinking class, their role, and their JHED ID. It was a simple and to-the-point survey. I recognized that I was surveying some very busy people, and I wanted to be respectful of their time.

After 60 or so surveys, I felt that the on the floor method was too time-consuming and not too effective. So, I realized that I needed to look at other tactics for gaining employee feedback. The data that we were receiving from my initial survey provided critical insight about awareness of the work the Hub has been doing and the interest of employees in design thinking classes. After evaluating the value of the survey, the Hub team realized that it was worth giving an incentive. We decided on cupcakes!

Because the Hub was offering a delicious incentive, I decided to lengthen the survey to gain a little more valuable feedback from the staff.

The revamped cupcake survey had the following questions added:

  • Do you know what the Innovation Hub is?
  • Do you know what design thinking is?
  • How do you feel about the Hub from a scale of 1 to 5? (1 Do Away with the Hub and 5 being the Hub is awesome)
  • What do you think the Innovation Hub is doing throughout the hospital and community?

I was hoping that by providing a cupcake incentive, employees would come to me and more surveys would be administered within a shorter period of time. By conducting a survey in the high-traffic cafeteria, I wanted to gain a data sample from a variety of people from different departments and roles.  With the help of the Hub team, we conducted Heat map surveys on a Monday lunch period in the cafeteria right before thanksgiving. The cupcakes were a hit, and we conducted 113 surveys in the span of 3 hours!

In total, the Hub team surveyed 177 people. We decided that our sample of 177 was enough because the respondents mirrored the larger hospital make-up based on employment-type, supervisory executive, and supervisory department. This data is extremely useful and exciting in determining how different departments and staff members feel about the Innovation Hub and their interest in the design classes we offer.  

One of the main goals of the Innovation Hub at Sibley is develop a culture of design. The Hub hopes that by teaching design thinking to hospital employees through design thinking classes, executive run design projects, and other department-partnered programs, staff members will feel empowered to utilize design thinking on their own throughout the hospital. The Hub team is here to coach, support, and teach staff members how to use human-centered design.

 In order to gauge how many staff members are aware of design thinking, we asked if people during the cupcake round of surveys if they knew about design thinking.  41% said yes and 59% said that they do not know what design thinking is. 

Additionally, the Hub team asked all survey respondents about the limitations holding them back from taking a design thinking class. The overwhelming response, 65%, was “not enough time;” 19% referred to “patient load,” 7% to “scheduling,” and 9% replied with “no limitation.”

What we learned from this data is that not having enough time is a hospital-wide problem. Something to think about is How Might We change the perceptions of the time barrier to allow employees to engage with the Innovation team and design thinking.

In order to hear about staff perceptions in their own words, I asked an open-ended question: What do you think the Innovation Hub is doing throughout the hospital and the community?

From a word cloud perspective, we can see the frequency of certain words in staff responses. Words such as improve, innovative, hospital, ideas, processes, patient, problem appeared most often. 

The responses could be categorized into four quote themes:

  • “improves processes and efficiency”
  • “innovation patient care, flow, and safety”
  • “place to listen to lectures”
  • “I don’t know”

These responses were especially interesting because of how they differ from the Hub team’s goals and vision. The Hub team plans to look at How Might We better disseminate our message of the projects and successes of the Innovation Hub.

After conducting the survey and sorting through all the data, my supervisors asked me to present the information in front of the Executive Team. I was both excited and nervous to share my work. One Friday afternoon, my esteemed colleagues, Nick and Joe, ‘helped’ me practice for the upcoming presentation. Their idea of public speaking ‘help’ was to softly throw sharpies at me whenever I said “um” or “uh.” Sometimes, I would good-naturedly throw the sharpies right back at them. It was a fun afternoon that really helped me improve my public speaking! The presentation with the executives went really well, and there was unanimous agreement to start presenting the data next to department heads. 

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    Nick and Joe get ready to throw some sharpies!

Nick and Joe get ready to throw some sharpies!

I want to say thank you to all the people who participated in the surveys. I enjoyed meeting you all during the surveys and hearing your honest feedback. The Hub team truly appreciates your input and your time. If you are interested in seeing the complete presentation, stop by the Hub! Please continue to provide feedback! We would love to hear from you.

Interested in leaving your own feedback? Take the “cupcake data” survey by clicking here!  


Thank you for reading! Stop by the Hub and say hi!
Jessica Dawson