5 x 5 - Get to Know a Service Designer, Barbara Barry

Interview with Barbara Barry, Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation 

by Thomas Brandenburg

Service design practices are going viral. I wonder about how to harness all that power for design good!

 

What issue related to service design thought leadership is most interesting to you?   

Lately, I’ve been struck by how many of our collaborators are energized by our journey maps, with the impulse to start fixing pain points or making their own maps right away. Service design practices are going viral. I wonder about how to harness all that power for design good!

What skill(s) should a budding service designer have in his or her back pocket?   

The 3Cs: Communication, Complexity Theory and Coding

What reading material (articles, books, blogs, etc) would you recommend reading?  

I have a tagset on Medium is working nicely right now. It’s a mix of design, tech, and social issues. Part 1 of “When Everyone Designs” by Manzini was transformative for me; it sparks questions about the role of designers in a DIY, co-constructed, design generative world. HBR and the Stanford Review of Social Innovation are staples. I’m also a fan of MOOCs.

How would you describe your work style?

I really like to work. My work style is a mix of energy, logic, mischief, and kindness. At least, that’s what I try for.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received?

“You don’t understand anything unless you learn it in more than one way.”   This helps me remember to be flexible, cultivate many points of view, and be curious.

Bonus question, “What is your best ninja skill?”

It’s definitely the ability to take a 15-minute power nap on demand. “Power nap” has a 90s vibe but it really works! As designers, particularly in health care, we take in so much information by talking with, sitting beside, or observing people who are facing challenging and frightening health situations in a system that can be difficult to endure. We need to rest our minds and take well-timed breaks to remain centered and creative in our ongoing work to improve health care.