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Forget everything you think you know, then reconnect | Sarah Beckwith

Meta description: Learn how to innovate by designing a process that works. Consider each component of an existing system and reconnect them based on your individual experiences. This article includes insights from experts in the field, real world examples and a couple of my key learnings launching Australia’s first telehealth platform, Doctus.

Unleash Your Potential to Make a Difference, Just by Being You.

Any system, industry or idea can be broken into pieces and remixed. Innovating is about having grit, and what you do with the insights that you receive from your user feedback. Listen, then you can build a solution to the users’ pain points.

As globalisation allows crossing a border to be a click away, or COVID-19 turning from a cough in one country to shutting levels of the world we knew down. We’ve seen a demonstration that we no longer live in a localised healthcare space. The world’s healthcare issues are now ours, for better or worse.

While many problems are growing from this new normal - so are the potential opportunities. The localised healthcare systems that were once good, are far from great. Global healthcare is the new platform.

Steve Jobs spoke about innovation being a process of ‘remixing’. Rather than starting from scratch, we can build upon existing ideas, infrastructure and technologies. As an F1 fan, my analogy of this is - “we don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Just connect the right ones, improve the design, put the right people in the right seats…now we’ve got an F1 car.” - Sarah Beckwith.

Steve Jobs said, “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” The second sentence is what counts here. By recycling existing ideas, features or components of a system you can create intuitive design with minimal upfront investment.

The end goal should be to allow the user to carry out an activity or task in a new way - that's more efficient and enjoyable.

Operating within an existing structure created in a different time has now led to barriers and red tape. Let's think about the potential for innovating and developing new solutions. To redesign processes and create more effective systems, we need to start with a blank slate.

You’re one in eight billion, and you’re the only one who thinks like you. If you break down the existing complex structures into blocks, then look at options for reassembling them into a way that solves your problem or pain point - you’re innovating. After all, who doesn't like Lego?

If you think of the current system like Lego, you can separate the pieces and rebuild something that solves a problem. If you think of it on a global level; find like-minded individuals with different specialities, learn from each other, pool resources and look at global trends and opportunities. We can create solutions informed by diverse perspectives and experiences, solutions that may not have existed before.

Now we have everything at high speed. It's the best opportunity to innovate, pivot and reach out to your users with increased efficiency and lower risk. By launching a new prototype of a concept, any individual can explore the range of possibilities that this new found accessibility offers.

Individuals can start creating and depending on their feedback they can move to the next potential customer, making the most of their time and resources. Further, we can utilise existing infrastructure to try new solutions in innovative and cost efficient ways.

A decade ago, when Doctus Australia’s first telehealth platform was launched I thought we’d be addressing users with chronic conditions who needed a repeat script with the aim to increase medication adherence.

A website was launched with 20% of the medication market. I locked in an international development team (for a fixed price) and would print out every page, get out a ruler, and physically colour code feedback on each website page. Well, it turns out the majority of people just wanted Viagra without asking a doctor face to face.

People are going to use your product in ways you didn't anticipate. Positioning and branding comes down to what the consumer decides, not what you decide. Fast forward a decade, Melanie Perkins and Canva allow you to have a prototype live in less than an hour. Go for it - test, pivot, get feedback and remix. Focus on your passion, your mission, then work hard and learn from your mistakes.

We can be agile, focused and learn from users faster than ever. Rather than respond to a world we’re used to, respond to how you want the system to work. Ask yourself how you would like it done? Product design works best when it’s a problem you’re struggling with.

There is no singular correct answer, don’t be afraid to fail. Meaningful work and meaningful relationships will change the world. Money will follow. Or if you’re already Mark Cuban “I could make a fortune from this… But I won't. I’ve got enough money. I’d rather f — up the drug industry in every way possible.” (referring to Cost Plus Drugs).

My last comment, our biggest regrets are the chances we don’t take. So what are you waiting for? You have the power, nobody is you, think global. As Daniel Riccardo would say “lick the stamp and send it”.

Go make it happen!

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