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The Center For Innovation

Photo of the Center for Innovation's Design Research Studio

The center's research and development origins trace back almost a decade — to Mayo's early SPARC Innovation Program (See-Plan-Act-Refine-Communicate). Created in June 2008, the Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation has become a bridge between the medical practice and human-centered design thinking.

This problem-solving approach is used to improve consumer health care experiences and delivery. The CFI team uses research methods such hypothesis-based framing, observing patients and interviewing families, along with traditional consumer research including visualization, modeling and rapid prototyping. Design thinking matches people's needs with what is technologically feasible and considers how a viable business strategy converts into consumer value.

The Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation is the largest in both square footage and staff and is the first to be integrated into a world-class medical practice setting. The CFI includes an outpatient lab that allows for the observation of patients while they interact with providers in the clinical setting, the Healthy Aging and Independent Living (HAIL) Lab (HAIL) in Charter House, and spaces for low-fidelity and high-fidelity prototyping, workshops and classes.

Human-Centered Design

Leading companies are accelerating innovation through a concept relatively new to business strategy — design thinking.

The Center for Innovation design research team works together from many different backgrounds, but all share a passion for understanding people's needs and then collaborating with others to design solutions that creatively address those needs.

Designers marry tried-and-true research methods, such as observing patients, interviewing families and traditional consumer research, with design tools like visualization, modeling and prototyping, an approach not common to the health care setting.

Mayo's decision to fuse design principles and hypothesis-based scientific method is invaluable to uncovering the various human needs involved in the health care environment. This approach contributes to Mayo's ability to understand human needs and create a health care experience unlike any other.

Design Research Capabilities and Services

  • Design research and strategy
  • Service and experience design
  • Product design
  • Design thinking education
  • Environment evaluation and modification

The center is located among patient care floors in the Gonda Building and includes glass-enclosed, reconfigurable spaces along with large collaboration spaces. The CFI is designed without walls to allow for greater team collaboration and transparency between projects and those working on them.

Outpatient Lab

Photo of the Design Research Studio's outpatient lab

Center for Innovation outpatient lab is dedicated and virtual space throughout the clinic where the CFI team members observe patient and provider experiences in the hospital, in patients' homes and in other settings. Before an encounter is observed, patients are asked if they are comfortable with the observation. "Mayo Clinic's culture of teamwork is well-suited for innovation and sets it apart from other health care institutions," says Spurrier. "Our patients have a long history of participating in our research and education endeavors."

Hail Lab

Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation has created a new "living lab" in the Charter House, a continuing care retirement community in Rochester, MN. Charter House is s community of 400 residents located in Rochester and physically connected to Mayo Clinic. Rochester ranks among the nation's best cities in which to reside, according to Money Magazine.

The goal of the Healthy Aging & Independent Living (HAIL) Lab is to support 'aging in place,' helping seniors remain at home, healthy and independent. New services and technologies will be designed, prototyped and piloted in the lab. CFI is collaborating with the Kogod Center for Aging and the Charter House in the creation of this effort. The lab has a large common living area, nursing station, and four apartments, each with a bedroom, kitchen, den and bathroom.

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