Design Thinking: Or Why Life with RA Forces You to be Creative

Design Thinking:

designthinking

Last night I went to a talk on Design Thinking. This is marketing/business jargon for approaching product design from a user’s point of view. The speaker encouraged everyone to go out and talk to their end-users so that they could design with empathy.

As an example, she talked about a new pill bottle that her company helped design. (Not sure what the product is, otherwise I’d post it.)

Her colleague went out and interviewed some older patients in their homes. Noticing an older woman’s severely arthritic hands, he asked her whether she had any trouble taking her medications at home. She replied that she had no problems at all.

He asked her to walk her through her medication routine, so she led him to her kitchen and showed him the electric meat slicer she used to open her pill bottles.

Yes, you read that right. She used this

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to open these

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But the thing is, from her perspective – her “new normal” – she was doing just fine.

The product designer disagreed and apparently designed pill bottles that were easier to open.

This is a great little anecdote to encourage product designers to actually meet their intended product users, but that’s not really what I got out of it. I found this woman pretty damn inspiring. Here she is, with severe arthritis, and she’s making it work with the tools she has. She’s not whining. From her point of view, she’s just fine.

Design Thinking & RA:

This morning I was woken up by my right wrist, which was so stiff and painful I couldn’t move it. So I drag myself out of bed, take a really long, hot shower, and wait for my wrist to feel a bit better. No luck.

I dig out my wrist brace and attempt to brush my hair/teeth and apply make-up left-handed. Fun!

Then I go to work and try to operate my mouse with my left hand.

Now, I’m not as bad-ass as the woman in the story above. If anyone asked me if I was having trouble today, I’m pretty sure I would be a flood of complaints. But with diseases like RA, you’re forced to roll with the punches and get creative in how to compensate.

I’m happy to say that I went for a jog in the sun this afternoon and though still painful, my wrist is now doing a bit better (I’m typing this after all!).

Design Thinking as applied to life with RA:

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