BarnRaise 2015: Day 2!

We're halfway through BarnRaise and we're thrilled with the amount of work our teams have accomplished already!

Panel Discussion


The day kicked off with an insightful panel discussion during which two sets of designers and healthcare practitioners--Kim Erwin and Jerry Krishnan, and George Aye and Raed Mansour--shared some insights they had gained from working together. Memorial Sloan Kettering's Ophelia Chiu did a wonderful job moderating a discussion that gave participants some important considerations for their team sessions later on in the day. 

We've pulled out some highlights from the discussion:

Panelists on context:

  • US healthcare is leading in discovery science but lagging in delivery science
  • Design is a natural fit with healthcare because they share value systems

On communicating:

  • In a healthcare context, it's not useful to explain to people what design is. Words are empty vessels. The best thing to do is show them. 
  • Sometimes the research methods from the two fields are similar but designers and healthcare practitioners are using different language to describe them. Designers need to use language like "change" and "behavior" that doesn't require prior knowledge.

On how designers had to shift to be effective in the healthcare space:

  • It can be difficult for designers, who come from a methodological point of view, to explain their work to an evidence-based community. Designers need to be able to communicate and justify the choices they make and explain the origin of the methods they use. 
  • To aid communication to healthcare professionals, it might be useful for designers to describe their work as "pre-hypothesis"--as the work that determines which hypotheses we should go after. 

On potential barriers to impact:

  • Healthcare innovations need to pair the development of an idea with the development of people's readiness for that idea, otherwise you run the risk of generating a wonderful artifact that doesn't get used.
  • Leadership buy-in isn't enough for design to succeed in a healthcare context. Buy-in needs to trickle all the way down.

Crash Courses

After our morning panel, participants chose between two crash courses designed to establish some common ground before participants split into teams. 

Design Crash Course for non-designers

Philips Healthcare sponsored a wonderful design crash course for participants who were new to design. Philips' Knowl Baek defined design thinking, showed some of the design process, and dove into empathy. Participants then paired up and did an exercise around redesigning the sick day for their partner. 


Alice Ro of Memorial Sloan Kettering discussed obstacles and barriers that designers will face throughout the design process when working with human subjects in the healthcare space. She then presented design tools that are particularly powerful and effective in the healthcare context.                     


Team Work

After the crash courses our thirteen teams split up to start digging into their challenges. Under the guidance of design firm facilitators and community partner representatives, teams conducted primary research, analyzed their findings, started to pull out insights and some even conduct structured, rapid concept brainstorming. Some teams went out into the field to conduct their primary research and many others had users come to them for in-person interviews or conducted phone calls. 

Below you can find some great pictures snapped by our team Ambassadors.

BarnRaise Programming All-Stars


Each year BarnRaise assigns a student ambassador to each team to serve as the ID liaison between design firms, community partners and team members. They do research, invite interviewees and arrange meet-ups prior to BarnRaise. 

Let's here what some of them have to say about their role:

I am interested in how our design partner can leverage their user-centered design approaches to this topic.

I want to a part of something that tries to impact the local community in a tangible way. Hopefully we can start to elevate the conversation around mental illness in the Chicagoland area.

I am so glad having a chance to work with both MOMENT and CWHC at the same time. As a female myself, I really think it is valuable to help CWHC enhance their service.

I'm excited to help AARP help the citizens of Chicago while gaining valuable strategy experiences with the accomplished members of Wishful Thinking

Here are our thirteen amazing BarnRaise Ambassadors led by Darshana Nair and Tara Flippin. Click their pictures to visit their LinkedIn pages:


Marketing Team


The BarnRaise Marketing Team is small but powerful! 

We have done A LOT to reach out to you BarnRaisers including this whole website that's right in front of you.

Our job includes but not limited to:

Asset Creation, Document Prep, Social Media, ListServ Emails, Blogs (BarnRaise + External) and Articles, Participant Outreach and Websites.

Don't forget to follow and tweet us on Twitter! @BarnRaiseID

Who Doesn't Love Food?

This past Sunday has been a busy one for BarnRasie food team volunteers. 
Designing, cutting and sanding, they made elaborate food labels for the upcoming BarnRaise events! Bruce, one of the volunteers, said:

"I feel so happy to be involved in this big event happening at ID. I devoted so much effort, but I am enjoying working with my team at the same time. I could die for BarnRaise!"

We can not wait to see the final effect when those labels sit together with our carefully selected food!

Let's meet volunteers of the food team! They are Courtney Garland (Team Lead), Bruce Lee, Muhan Ma, Jessica Lee, and John Pew.

Are you a BarnRaiser?

 Participants at the public final shareout from BarnRaise 2014,  Photography by Aaron Wolf

Participants at the public final shareout from BarnRaise 2014, Photography by Aaron Wolf


Have you been seeing BarnRaise pop up on your social media feed? (no? well maybe you should follow @BarnRaiseID) And you are still thinking about if you want to get involved? Perhaps you are wondering why you specifically should sign up? Well, besides the obvious reasons of improving access to health care, there may be some other benefits that might not have hit you yet…


If you're interested in improving the current health care system, this is your opportunity to network with innovative medical professionals. And what a better way to network than actually working on a real problem together rather than randomly bantering over some artisanal crostini (don’t worry you will get to do that too). 

Want to work directly with some of the leading design firms in Chicago? This is your opportunity to see how they work and be a part of it. You will be watching, learning, collaborating and DOING alongside professionals in the field. These are the people who work to create the future and you'll have the opportunity to show them what you've got. 

YOU WILL GAIN more design aptitude

Maybe you have been watching the wave of mainstream attention as “design thinking” proliferates throughout blogs and boardrooms and are wondering what all the hubbub is about. This is your opportunity to not only learn, but actually DO what its all about. Then you can go back to your water cooler with sharpie stained hands, pockets full of post it notes and some game-changing skills.

Or perhaps you are facing a difficult problem in your work or community and are looking for new ways to approach it. Here's the thing with BarnRaise, while you will be working towards solving a specific problem, the methodology is universally applicable. After two and a half days, you will have learned new ways to tackle any challenging problem and will have contributed to tangible solutions for improving the healthcare system. Take that Tony Robbins.

YOU CAN BUILD your portfolio

Maybe you are looking at the white space in your resume wondering how else you can say “creative problem solver effective working with teams”. Well they say action is louder than words right? You can show that you seek and crave DOING and MAKING things happen. Students can take advantage of discount pricing, and we'll even hook you up with a free home-stay. No Airbnb necessary.

BarnRaise is awesome and so can you

Or maybe you’re the kind of person that gets inspired watching different people come together united around a common goal of making the world a better place to live in. Well, we want to get inspired with you. We want your excitement and your contagious energy. 

Bottom line-we regret the things we don’t do more than the things we do. So stop thinking and start DOING. You will get something out of it.