TEDMED: Three Days Could Change the Way You Look at Healthcare Design Innovation Forever

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The world of healthcare is so vast and complex and evolves at such high rate of speed – it’s a constant challenge to keep up with the latest trends. In fact, keeping up with those trends could be a full-time job!

Even with all the advantages of new media tools, it can sometimes be most inspirational to have a focused conversation with someone.

Our team at Steelcase Health finds that the TEDMED conference is one of the best places every year to get inspired about the potential for innovation in healthcare.

For all its video and social media coverage, the most compelling part of the TEDMED experience is still the real-time, in-person gathering. For the past three years, Steelcase Health has been a primary sponsor of TEDMED — not just because of the message around innovation and systemic design — but because of this very physical and real experience of exchanging ideas with some of the biggest thinkers in health and wellness today.

Imagine listening to an informal, open conversation between Lance Armstrong and David Argus from the stage, and then sitting down at lunch and discussing those ideas with Jamie Heywood, the founder of PatientsLikeMe.com. The far flung range of ideas and participants at TEDMED may not at first bring to mind the immediate issues of environment and design, but every conversation weaves a thread into the larger topic of systemic design thinking.

We approach TEDMED as a healthcare space itself — a living, breathing, thought provoking healthcare experience.  It’s an environment designed to force you outside of your comfort zone and immerse yourself into thinking — broadly and deeply. You become part of an unbelievable organism and ecosystem that can serve as an amazing, life changing experience.

Last year at TEDMED, Steelcase Health worked specifically to encourage more active discussions and visual thinking on the design component and thinking differently about healthcare spaces. The design-focused experiences we created throughout the conference and in the Steelcase Health space helped foster “lateral thinking” — how we and others might be able to take any number of user-centered insights and apply them to what we do in the design of environments for health and wellness.

Ultimately, TEDMED helps us understand how critical it is to keep people thinking about the future – of what needs to change, where things may be headed, and where we can make a difference. TEDMED helps us begin to crystallize our thoughts about the future and more importantly, how we can help affect change. That’s a key part of our job – for our staff, our customers, our partners — to help bring the future closer to today.

This year, TEDMED is moving to spring dates in Washington, DC — April 10th-13th, and changing some of the aspects of how they’re running the conference. Steelcase Health will continue to stay engaged with TEDMED as a sponsor and we’re excited about being there to help foster and participate in the conversation.

We’d encourage you to join us and be part of an experience that changes the way you look at the world while you in turn help others to change the way they look at the world, too. Healthcare needs design, and healthcare needs you. TEDMED can help us find the right design problems to work on together.

Watch the Steelcase Health blog next week for postings from TEDMED 2012 and follow Steelcase Health on Twitter and Facebook for thought starters and highlights from the conference.

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