DIP2017: A chat with Nothing 2 lose, Only 2 gain: Understand the issue and solve the problem with systematic thinking (TH/EN)

Nothing 2 lose, Only 2 gain, one of the teams participated in the Designing Impact Program, came up with a health promotion system that will keep everyone healthy, both physically and mentally. Health n’ Joy will motivate older adults to exercise to reduce health risks through its ‘Exercise prescription’ from a physician to track personal health information, which will then be used for the community’s benefits. In addition to good health, the system gives out ‘Health points’ for users to collect to redeem for prizes. Health n’ Joy can be applied on both the individual and community levels. The system can provide input to disease treatment and prevention, which may reduce the burden on the public health system. We had a chat with Weeratouch Pongruengkiat, a researcher/ graduate student of the Faculty of Biomedical Engineering, Rangsit University; and Karan Buasakdi , a design engineer; about this project.

What are some new insights that you gain from joining the Designing Impact Program?
The most important things are ideation and going to the field to collect data from target users, then using the data for problem analysis. We found that the elderly do not fear of death and can live with the diseases that they have. But what makes them want to continue living is their social circles and friends in the community

The key insight that we have gained is a systematic thinking. With our engineering background, we would look to create results only. However, when we apply the design thinking and service design through the tools given by the facilitators, we now look at our problem in a more systematic way. The systematic thinking, combined with our working method, lead to a more holistic view of the problem. Take, for example, motivation. Initially, we thought rewards would make them happy, but as we had dug deeper, we found that the values that the seniors consider are not only about money, but also social life, a desire not to be a burden, and having friends.

What are the fun experiences you had during the program?
We got to talk with the seniors and met other people, experiencing the personalities of people whom we interviewed. They talked to us, telling the stories in their past. A man in his 50s today was a young man like us 20 years ago. He had all these stories to share about history or fun moments that he had.

The other fun part is that we got to work with other teams and see how our thoughts developed in each stage. The facilitators introduced how to use the tools and thinking methods, guiding us on how to build on what we have and how to move forward.

Older people were young once – this is the important part. We need to come up with what is fun for them and what they want to do. They don’t expect life to be fun, but they just don’t want to look weak in the eyes of other people.

What are the challenges you faced during the design process?
It’s difficult. Sometimes it’s about overlapping problems. What should we do with management issues? How do we meet the deadlines?  The best helper is the peer review. We do not need to put the best thing on the table for review. If what we can deliver at this point is not okay, we can modify to a different solution. We make progress in some ways, including management, time, communication with the team, the facilitators, and the community.

The challenge is there are a lot of ways to go about it. When we are reviewed, it opens up our world. Our limitations are our own ideas. When we work with other people and get reviewed, it makes us realize that we shouldn’t limit ourselves to just being engineers. It’s something we can get past and go beyond. A good idea is sufficient. We don’t need to always be brilliant. We need support from a team of people to materialize our ideas. That’s more important.

How do you see your project developed to the next level? 
We believe in medical science and fitness. In our view, we can make a difference when the elderly are healthier, have better lives, spend more quality time with people they love. If we look at the overall picture, it will improve the public health system to be more effective.

What we do will create a positive impact on our users, which we think will benefit the public to a broader extent. We hope the older adults will become more physically active in their daily routines. If we can measure concrete results, it will improve the elderly’s health overall and build a better system. Systematically speaking, it is already valuable for a person to improve their health. But if we can capture and concretize it to provide feedback for them to continue with this behavior, it will change the system for the better.

What is your team’s definition of designing impact?
The change on an individual level is about spending time with friends and family without being a burden. The change on a systematic level is the impact on the public health system. If it’s very effective, there will be fewer sick people, which result in a social change. Our work does not only affect the elderly, but also the public in general. It effects a change in those who try our product and understand the importance of the primary health care on the national level.