Week 3: Synthesis

Week 3 of the breast cancer journey project was a very important week where we finally attempted to synthesize all of the information that we had collected so far.  After week 2, the team identified certain topics that stood out to them, and the fieldwork for the following week was to do an in-depth (about 20-minute) interview about the topic they found most salient. 

Week 3 began with a share-out of these interviews.  We heard a lot of pain points and highlights from patients and caregivers and others, here are just a few:

-someone saying “you are so young”-patient

-“if this was your mother, would you have her do it?”-advocate

-“having a photoshoot (with friends) made me feel normal, like a woman again”-patient

-“gone through this before, I brace myself every year”-patient speaking about annual screenings

-“I’m in good hands.  My doctor says we got this”-patient

-“I just wanted to feel normal again”-patient

-“I refuse to tell anyone which side I had surgery on, because they immediately look at my chest”-patient

-“my life took a backseat”-patient

Needless to say, these moments were moving.  As we soaked in all of the information, we silently began to rearrange the vast number of post-it notes from these interviews as well as our previous research into a timeline.  The timeline had spaces to put post-its with emotional states, triggers, goals, and opportunities that might exist at each point through the process.  The group silently moved about, connecting concepts to moments, feelings to triggers, and the many different thoughts and emotions that we heard throughout. 

Looking at the timeline, we began to identify some simple themes, but only time truly allows for most of this information to set in.  This map we created became the springboard to the “How Might We” questions that would be the central topic of the following week.  “How Might We” questions are where we finally frame the specific problem and opportunity that we want to work on.  With this in mind, the group dispersed, off to think about what questions would be the best keys to unlock the group’s creative thinking and directly address the feedback and stories that we heard.