Gianfranco Zaccai pretends to be a lot of things: Chinese parent, a basketball player, and a child with diabetes to name a few. When asked to work on a healthcare project, Zaccai and his team at Continuum, the design consultancy he co-founded, built a fake hospital room and pretended to be hospital patients. Why? “To empathize,” replied Zaccai in a recent Wall Street Journal article.
Zaccai isn’t interested in producing a “better” healthcare product—his goal is to create a better healthcare experience. Which is exactly what he and Continuum achieved in the Compass modular furniture system for Herman Miller Healthcare. More than 550 clinicians, hospital administrators, architects, and designers were interviewed to find the most important unmet needs in how patient and exam rooms are designed now. The result was a deep understanding of what makes a better experience for everyone involved: the patient, the caregiver, the family, and the administrator. Because, as Zaccai says, “The opportunity for innovation is finding the sweet spot where needs overlap.”