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This chapter is from the book

POG and SET Factor Case Studies

The remainder of this chapter examines four case studies that illustrate how the SET Factors and resulting POGs have led to successful products in the marketplace. The case studies also give a brief introduction to the issues laid out in the rest of the book, and we refer to them often. These examples from the Upper Right represent simple and complex products and services. These four products join a comprehensive collection of case studies appearing throughout the book. Although all products in this book are on the market at the time of this writing, some have recently been introduced and others have established an impressive run of market success.

The Margaritaville Frozen Concoction Maker

If you are a Parrothead, you want your backyard party to have the atmosphere of a Jimmy Buffett concert in Key West. You have had the music and the shirts since the 1970s, but the last part of the fantasy experience that was missing was the perfect margarita. Now it is possible to waste away to the music with the perfect “solution.” When Jarden Consumer Solutions acquired the licensing rights to use Margaritaville on products, it turned to Altitude to help decide what products to start with and how to design them. After considering many alternatives derived from an ideation session, a connection to Buffett’s iconic song Margaritaville rose to the top. The result was the Margaritaville Frozen Concoction Maker, meeting the value expectations of Parrotheads everywhere.

At the core of the Margaritaville fan base, Parrotheads are the Baby Boomer fans who have followed Buffett since the 1970s. The original Parrotheads are now parents and have handed down the fanaticism to the next generation. Buffett has a transgenerational fan base and a great market opportunity. Parrotheads In Paradise Inc. is a network of 200 clubs in the U.S., with additional clubs in Canada and Australia. It is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the laidback lifestyle exemplified by Jimmy Buffett and his music. In the last decade, the Parrotheads have raised more than $26 million for charity, logging almost 3 million volunteer hours. At the same time, the Buffett enterprise has included the Margaritaville restaurant chain and a similarly named chain of stores selling Jimmy Buffett–themed merchandise, encompassing clothing, accessories, cocktails, beverages, food, and home appliances. The SET Factors set the stage with a great POG for Jimmy Buffett–inspired products for the Baby Boomer fan base (see Figure 1.4).

Figure 1.4

Figure 1.4. SET Factors for Margaritaville Frozen Concoction Maker.

It’s interesting to contrast the Buffett enterprise with another 1970s musical group with a fanatical following, the Grateful Dead. Similar to the Parrotheads with Buffett, Deadheads followed the Dead from city to city, enjoying the Dead experience. Unlike Buffett, however, the Dead never saw the potential for developing and merchandizing their brand. Only in later years did Jerry Garcia’s art end up on ties that Boomers could wear after they gave up their Birkenstock sandals for a suit and tie and a 9–9 job.

When Jarden Consumer Solutions brought the opportunity to create a margarita mixer to Altitude, founder and CEO Brian Matt realized what needed to be done. The team had to develop an empathic understanding of the Margaritaville subculture. According to Matt, his team at Altitude immediately conducted “extensive research into the atmosphere, activities and social models of party settings and communal dining restaurants.” A small team at Jarden worked closely with Altitude, participating in the research process and working together to “develop the DNA of what Margaritaville meant as a durable product,” according to Alejandro Peña, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Global Appliances at Jarden. They then focused on developing a strategic approach to conceiving a set of products and determined that the first product would be the Margaritaville Frozen Concoction Maker (see Figure 1.5). This was the first of five versions now on the market. The final design of the first product combined engineering insights to produce the perfect shaved ice with a mechanism that would allow the product to come in at the right price point. Extensive experimentation on the part of Altitude’s engineering team perfected the precision choreography of shaving the ice and blending the ingredients.

Figure 1.5

Figure 1.5. Margaritaville Frozen Concoction Maker. (Courtesy of Altitude and Jarden)

To determine the visual brand characteristics—the right look and feel—the firm conducted additional consumer ethnographic research. The final design merges the rugged quality of commercial equipment with the approachable character of a small home appliance. As customers have described it in their reviews, the mixer has a “power tool” vibe that all men appreciate. Details such as brightly colored accents and maritime-inspired markings evoke relaxed afternoons by the pool or on the beach.

Interestingly, no similar product was on the market. Competitors were either low-end consumer blenders or high-end commercial drink mixers for restaurant use. The commercial mixers were too large, expensive, and heavy duty to be used at home. The typical blenders used at home did not have a strong motor capable of crushing ice consistently and easily burned out after a few hardcore ice-crushing cycles. In addition, they were chopping ice rather than shaving it, which made the drink watery and inconsistent. The team identified this opportunity as an unfulfilled market and approached it with a new solution.

The unprecedented functionality and distinct look of the drink maker makes it enormously appealing and easy to operate (see Figure 1.6). This mixer is equipped with two motors: one is located on the top and is responsible for shaving the ice into a silky mixture (which stays silky even as it melts); the second motor is placed in the lower part and simply blends the shaved ice and liquid ingredients in an automated sequence while placing very little stress on the motor. The other innovative aspect of this mixer is a reservoir located on the back. The water from melted ice is channeled into this reservoir, so as to not be mixed with the drinks. This results in thick and consistent drinks every time the device is used.

Figure 1.6

Figure 1.6. Concept sketch indicating features of ergonomics, manufacturing, technology and styling. (Courtesy of Altitude and Jarden)

Users need only fill the ice in the top compartment, pour their desired drink into the pitcher, turn the dial to the appropriate drink selection, and choose the number of drinks to prepare. The device automatically shaves the ice, pours it into the pitcher, and then blends the ingredients. Although the entire process can be done automatically, the mixer has options for manual control of shaves and blends, to add a personal touch for users who want control over the final outcome. The product was an instant hit with both Parrotheads and Parrothead wannabes, the far larger group of people who enjoy the fantasy of the Buffett lifestyle without visiting Key West or traveling city to city to see a Buffett concert.

The product gave Jarden both a presence in the backyard entertainment consumer market and a new product that was a top seller overnight. According to Peña, the decision for Jarden to develop and produce the Frozen Concoction Maker was a risk: The company had previously only dealt in mass-merchandized products for stores such as Walmart and Kmart. Making the decision to develop a luxury durable good paid off handsomely. In the first six years of production, the Frozen Concoction Maker resulted in more than $100 million in sales for the company. It also changed the culture of the company, indicating to employees that they could be innovative and that such innovation would pay off.

The BodyMedia FIT System

BodyMedia is an excellent example of a company that studied and leveraged the SET Factors in developing high-technology, user-interactive products. The company actually read the SET Factors twice—once while forming the company to introduce a product in the clinical and research space, and then again while extending the company’s technology into the consumer market. BodyMedia is a pioneer in developing and marketing wearable body monitors that equip consumers with information they can use to make meaningful changes to their own health and wellness, beginning with weight management and soon to include management of other conditions affected by lifestyle choices.

BodyMedia’s initial product was to compete with high-tech clinical services in the area of energy expenditure (a.k.a., calories burned) analysis. The growing cost of healthcare was partly caused by the prices of maintaining and using medical facilities. In sleep labs, people spend the night with many leads attached to their skin, monitoring their physiological functions while at rest. Metabolic carts also measured energy expended both while at rest and while active. Both of these approaches required the subject to be in the lab facility, using large pieces of technology—the sleep lab with EEG leads to capture brain functioning and ECG leads to capture heart information, among other details, and the metabolic cart with tubes in the subjects’ mouths to capture and analyze ECG, pulse-oximeter, breathing, and other functions.

BodyMedia introduced an alternative, a product with state-of-the-art but lower-level, low-cost, and low-power sensors specifically designed to track body functioning during activities or rest. The device wrapped around the upper arm and captured information that was then downloaded to the computer. Instead of being invasive, or at least annoying, BodyMedia introduced a simple, comfortable device that could be used at home and continuously throughout the day, the SenseWear System. The company had expertise in wearable technology and understood how to integrate sensors into that technology. However, it also had to develop the ability for sensor fusion, or the ability to use accelerometers, galvanic skin response, temperature, and heat flux sensors in an integrated way to provide highly accurate, useful, and affordable feedback, based on an external skin interface. The approach required integrating engineering, design, and computer science including advanced machine learning methods that were brought into this new field. The company founders also had a background in industrial design and recognized that, even in the clinical and research markets, ergonomics for comfort and attention to style would improve compliance and long-term use.

The SenseWear System (see Figure 1.7) demonstrates an effective effort to integrate style and technology in a clinical environment. Healthcare clinicians and researchers made sense as the target to introduce the product because they tend to be early adopters who have the financial resources to try new technologies. They were also willing to work with the technology supplier, providing feedback and working to improve the treatment’s effectiveness. Integrating four sensors into a small, light, and robust form factor was challenge enough. Recognizing that the look of the product was also critical to its compliance if people were to wear it in public or at home made for an even larger task. And as a startup with limited funds, the company had to develop the product in parallel with bringing it to production, furthering the challenge for success. However, because the company was able to read the SET Factors and anticipate the emergence of both information technology and people’s desire to learn about and take care of their health (see Figure 1.8), the product became an initial success. Today the clinical market continues, and the SenseWear System serves as a means for new data collection internationally, giving healthcare professionals and researchers new insights into patients’ bodies and their lifestyle behaviors.

Figure 1.7

Figure 1.7. Original SenseWear System from BodyMedia. (© Image courtesy of BodyMedia, Inc.)

Figure 1.8

Figure 1.8. SET Factors for BodyMedia clinical product.

Although the clinical market continues for BodyMedia, the bigger goal was to cross the chasm into the consumer market. As cofounder Chris Kasabach tells it, the company followed a mantra that “people knew more about their cars than their bodies; could the company make a dashboard for the body so that people could take care of themselves?” The company again read the SET Factors, an extension of those in 1999 for the consumer market (see Figure 1.9). Americans were becoming more aware of their health, particularly diabetes and other effects of being overweight. Two thirds of Americans were obese or overweight. People were willing to spend money to improve their health. Technology also had advanced; sensors were getting smaller, and the company had gained one of the world’s leading capabilities in externally sensing body functions. Of course, people would be pleased to lose weight, but they preferred to do so their own way and at their own pace. Emerging communications technology via low-power wireless protocols, more prevalent Internet in people’s homes, and larger server capabilities meant obtaining and processing data was easier.

Figure 1.9

Figure 1.9. SET Factors for BodyMedia consumer product.

In 2004, a culmination of circumstances took place. BodyMedia had developed a smaller, comfortable, and ergonomic sensing band that consumers could use. Downloading data and receiving information on progress toward a health goal was easy. The Biggest Loser, a reality TV competition between obese people to lose the most weight and become healthier, became a hit. The movie Super Size Me was released, illustrating the negative effects of fast food on obesity and its link to diabetes. People were actively using the Internet to search for information about health concerns. And Facebook was launched, allowing people to readily connect about health issues. BodyMedia correctly read the SET Factors and was well positioned for this growing and eager market.

At that time, a partnership with 24 Hour Fitness developed. After winning the IDEA Gold Award in clinical science in 2002, the company began its foray into the consumer market with several partnerships, including Apex Fitness, a supplement manufacturer (owned by 24 Hour Fitness). The company then could begin to interact in the consumer market in a controlled fashion. BodyMedia developed its consumer-focused product, now called the BodyMedia FIT System 1, focused on tracking calories (see Figure 1.10). Apex branded the product as bodybugg, but BodyMedia maintained a cobranding much like Intel does with “Intel inside.” Soon the company became established in the consumer market. 24 Hour Fitness was a sponsor of The Biggest Loser. The participants in the show started using the bodybugg and several times even spoke about the product on the show. Talk about national exposure! The product, eventually under the BodyMedia FIT System name, became available at retailers across the U.S. in stores such as Dick’s Sporting Goods, technology retailer Best Buy, membership warehouse Costco, and online at Amazon.com. A business model made the product affordable to the masses by selling the physical armband under $200 but requiring a monthly subscription starting at $7 to process the data and provide feedback to the user. New partnerships with popular weight loss provider Jenny Craig and the Jillian Michaels exercise program further aided reach into the consumer market. In 2012, more than half a million people had used a BodyMedia system.

Figure 1.10

Figure 1.10. The BodyMedia FIT System. (© Image courtesy of BodyMedia, Inc)

The FIT sensor device elegantly integrates the multiple sensors into the small device (see Figure 1.11). However, the FIT System is an illustration of the blurring between physical product and services. Without the FIT armband, there can be no service. Likewise, without the service of obtaining, storing, processing, and interpreting the data over time, the drive toward better health is cumbersome and far less effective. The symbiotic relationship between the physical product and service product is prominent in today’s new product innovation, a characteristic we see throughout this book.

Figure 1.11

Figure 1.11. Product details of FIT, showing technology integration. (© Image courtesy of BodyMedia, Inc)


Starbucks is an example of a service company that provides an optimal experience to the customer. Starbucks recognized the possibility of combining a core part of the American culture with the style and attitude of an Italian cafe. The act of drinking coffee has been transformed from a quick, mindless experience into a major form of cultural interaction and entertainment. Starbucks is an interesting hybrid between a product company and a service company. The core product that Starbucks provides is coffee. The service it provides is serving coffee using a range of options and complementary products in a comfortable environment that significantly enriches the experience of drinking coffee and enhances the beginning, middle, or end of your day.

Starbucks filled a POG that started in one city, Seattle, and then spread exponentially across the U.S. and internationally. It has had the same effect at the turn of the twenty-first century that Coca-Cola had at the turn of the twentieth century and McDonald’s had at mid-century. What factors allowed Starbucks to become the last great food specialty retailer of the last century? If you have ever traveled to Seattle, you will notice a city with some unique attributes. The city not only started the new coffee culture, but it also helped to start the new beer culture with the development of microbreweries. Seattle has a gray, cloudy climate and stays fairly cool throughout the year. Many people commute using the ferry system and then drive or walk to work. Americans, in general, rarely have time to eat breakfast before they leave the house; breakfast on the run is a common experience. Early morning fatigue is also common for most commuters, especially in Seattle’s climate. Drinking coffee is customary for many Americans to ramp up for the day, maintain momentum during the day, and relax at the end of the day. Seattle is also one of the primary new centers of the Information Age and, as home to Microsoft and Amazon.com, is the land of expendable income. Howard Schultz, the visionary and CEO of Starbucks, saw the POG after experiencing the espresso bars in Milan. Given the Social (S) and Economic (E) factors that are both highlighted by Seattle inhabitants and more recently shared by the rest of the U.S. and the world, it is not surprising that Starbucks started in the Great Northwest and spread to the rest of the country and beyond (see Figure 1.12). It is now possible to get a cafe latte in local neighborhoods, on university campuses, on turnpikes, and in Taipei, London, Istanbul, and even Sri Lanka (see Figure 3.13). Now that is what we call a global brand!

In lower Manhattan, Canal Street separates Little Italy from Chinatown. Both areas are favorite sites for both New Yorkers and tourists. For a long time, guests have ordered espresso and dessert at many little restaurants in this area, often after eating dinner in Chinatown. This concept had never expanded outside of Little Italy, except in other Italian neighborhoods in other big cities.

Figure 1.12

Figure 1.12. SET Factors that led to Starbucks’ success.

Figure 1.13

Figure 1.13. Starbucks’ global positioning shown through unique mug designs from international cities: London, New York, Taipei, Vancouver, and Boston.

Berkeley, California, home of UC Berkeley and the 1960s revolution, has for years had coffeehouses in which students and faculty pontificated, studied, and hung out. Peet’s Coffee began there in 1966 and preceded Starbucks. In fact, Alfred Peet trained the founders of Starbucks in the art of roasting arabica coffee beans. An addiction of locals, Peet’s is well known to anyone who has lived in or visited Berkeley. Once, before Peet’s expanded outside Berkeley, a Berkeley resident rented a ski chalet in the Swiss Alps; it turned out that the chalet owner had lived in Berkeley and regularly mail-ordered Peet’s coffee all the way to Switzerland.

Why didn’t one of the restaurants in Little Italy become the original inspiration for Starbucks? Even though eventually Peet’s became the coffee of choice for some chains, why wasn’t Peet’s Coffee the first to expand across the country? The SET Factors were not right in New York, and no one in the Bay Area either saw or acted on the potential that Starbucks’ visionary Schultz saw in Seattle. Not only do the SET Factors have to be right, but they also have to be scanned, interpreted, and developed with a vision.

Part of the technology of Starbucks lies in the machines used to prepare the coffee. The best machines for producing hot or cold coffee (and now tea) drinks are used and promoted along with the sounds they produce. Each Starbucks is a retro factory, hissing and steaming away, producing espresso and lattes at a constant rate. Other aspects of technology include special water-filtration systems in each store and sophisticated roasting facilities. Their investment and partnerships in R&D have led to innovations such as a process to extract the essence of their coffee for use in products such as Frappuccino and ice cream.

The interiors of Starbucks stores have been designed to transcend the original concept of an Italian brasserie and to combine the global nature of coffee bean production with a comfortable old college coffeehouse, with sophisticated contemporary colors, graphics, and furniture. A Starbucks store is inviting to walk into as an individual or with others. When you are in Starbucks, you are not just drinking coffee—you are having a mind-altering experience. Even if you order a drink to go, you can leave with a sense of the store experience while holding on to a cup with a protective corrugated holder that clearly states it was made from recycled paper. It doesn’t get any better than that. Starbucks has developed a flexible brand identity (discussed in Chapter 4) that uses a consistent color theme that allows for variation in secondary graphics for packaging, products, and store interiors. The response to Starbucks has been equally impressive, with the emergence of a number of national, regional, and local competitors fighting for their share of this lucrative market. As traditional coffee makers have responded to the trend, Starbucks has countered by extending its products into grocery chains, offering dark arabica coffee beans and even a range of ice cream flavors. Using new technologies, they revisited and reinvented the freeze-dried coffee made famous by Nescafe.

In his book Pour Your Heart Into It,2 Schultz chronicles the evolution of Starbucks. Starbucks is a company that epitomizes the characteristics found in a company in the Upper Right. The company sees its product as the coffee, the people who work for the company, and the experience of buying and drinking coffee in the stores. Starbucks maintains a high standard of values, from the CEO to each employee, and connects to the values of its customers. These values are clearly articulated in a corporate mission statement. The company sees its people as core to its brand, in parallel with its coffee, and recognizes that its long-term success depends on high standards for both. Each employee of the company is called a “partner” and is given stock options. Even part-time employees are given full healthcare benefits. Starbucks initially relied on the power of its experiential brand, loyally conveyed by its customers, to promote the company, and it fell back on advertising only once the company was well established. As Schultz says, “Starbucks built up brand loyalty one customer at a time.” Finally, the company is constantly looking for the next new product to “surprise and delight” the customer, from new coffee drinks, to Frappuccino, to ice cream, to jazz CDs.

Both Dunkin’ Donuts and McDonald’s countered Starbucks, but in different ways. McDonald’s began to offer coffee with arabica beans and introduced the McCafé with a variety of lattes, cappuccinos, and more. Dunkin’ Donuts took a different approach, leveraging its popular coffee to create the counterculture to Starbucks: the coffee for the everyday working person.

Upper Right products, services, and companies merge style and technology in a way that creates strong customer value and promotes a positive user experience. Strong brand, corporate values, and connection to customer values lead to both short-term and long-term customer satisfaction. Many breakthrough products stay in the Upper Right through the constant injection of useful, usable, and desirable features for the customer. The end result is greater profits to shareholders.

The GE Healthcare Adventure MRI Series

This is a case study that focuses on interface design. However, in this case, the interface makes the difference between a CT scan medical procedure with relaxed and engaged kids as patients lying still, and a stressful procedure often requiring multiple scans or even sedation for success. GE Healthcare, led by designer Doug Dietz, sought to create a new type of CT scanner to address anxiety in children. The question was how to transform a cold, sterile environment with a large piece of medical diagnostic equipment that literally engulfed a child into an experience that was fun and changed the child from patient into participant. In a study conducted by Pittsburgh Children’s Hospital UMPC from 2006 to 2007, the staff found that standard, nondecorated CT scan rooms stressed children to the point that many needed to be sedated before they would lie still. In the study, hospital staff decorated a CT scan room with an underwater theme, replete with a video player, life-size mermaids, and music. They found that the decorative addition significantly reduced anxiety in children and their families, and decreased sedation rates.

The SET Factors (see Figure 1.14) highlight the increased cost of medical care, especially the wasted resources for ineffective studies and the potential costs for sedation. The technology of the product is state-of-the-art and will not change. What will change is the social impact of a new product that results from an empathetic approach to medical care for children and thus their parents, along with the ability to make an anxiety-producing experience more calming. The result is the POG to humanize medical technology for children.

Figure 1.14

Figure 1.14. SET Factors that show the opportunity for an empathetic medical product for children.

Fulfilling this opportunity required integrating play into a medical process by enabling a child to relax while not compromising the procedure. At GE Healthcare, Dietz felt highly motivated to design this transformational space as a result of observing the children, who, while already traumatized by a serious illness, were asked to submit to a procedure that scared them. He saw the potential for play in what is at times a traumatic event. He partnered with staff at UPMC Children’s and with GE engineering and manufacturing. He recognized that nurses, empathetic to the patient, often know what types of intervention could help better than designers alone. Working with designers, they provided insights to generate more sophisticated and comprehensive solutions. Another breakthrough came from choosing an atypical advisor and resource to understand the nature of play and how museums create play experiences. GE sought help from Milwaukee’s Betty Brinn Children’s Museum for guidance, pointing to its interactive exhibits and educational resources that promote the healthy development of children in their formative years from birth through age 10. From this interaction, designers learned theories of play and how museums keep kids engaged.

The resulting design was a breakthrough in thinking that led to fusing an Adventure Land ride at Disney with a medical procedure. Dietz and his team integrated medical knowledge with a Disney Imagineering approach to break a paradigm. This approach is part of a new way of thinking referred to as empathic innovation in medical care.

In creating this new interface, a global design team at GE, in conjunction with the hospital and museum advisors, began to imagine a scan procedure with less anxiety and fear. The first step was to gain invaluable insight that children’s hospitals face every day: Kids have specific challenges and a unique set of needs, especially when it comes to imaging. Next, observational research was conducted by visiting leading children’s hospitals to analyze and dissect imaging processes and best practices. Finally, targeted focus groups that included kids were conducted. At that point, the children expressed themselves with pictures and personal stories. The findings were enlightening. Most children view big imaging equipment as scary, but the machines were especially scary for those between the ages of 4 and 9 because they lack the cognitive reasoning skills to understand what is happening and why. The team discovered simple details that often get overlooked. For instance, some of their most effective insights came from kneeling and looking at rooms from the height of a child. The team was pushed to think in terms of what kids see and how they relate to the world. After the research, the concept behind the pediatric imaging began to materialize.

In developing new products, it is critical to understand the stakeholders who most influence the success of a potential product (see Chapter 7, “Understanding the User’s Needs, Wants, and Desires”). In this case, three categories of stakeholders were identified: children, their parents, and the nursing and technician staff, who, as mentioned, identified the problems of keeping kids still and calm. Parents have high expectations when a child’s health and well-being are on the line. They expect quality healthcare and an experience that puts their child first. When families go out of their way to choose children’s hospitals over local alternatives, they look for “kid-friendly” care.

For kids, the proposed solution must provide a setting that not only keeps a child still during the imaging process, but also makes the child feel more relaxed and engaged with the MR radiation technologist so that the scan can be performed. Furthermore, it must address the way kids perceive the world around them: through colors, lights, sounds, materials, temperature, and smells. Storytelling is also highly effective. So if an imaging experience were to be truly fun instead of scary, these elements needed to somehow be incorporated.

Through their research, the GE team identified anxiety points or aspects of the experience that were hard for a child to understand, such as the noise of the machine, the hospital smell, and the need to remain still. They thought of imaginative ways to make sense of these anxiety points from kids’ perspectives, and they tried to distract kids through visuals, appropriate lighting, reduced anesthetic smells, and props when they came into the room for imaging. The intention was to make them feel as if they were on an adventure and had no need to panic; patients then could leave the room with a positive feeling after the procedure.

The result was eight room themes, called Adventure Series (see Figure 1.15), developed to use sensory tools to create an imaging experience that children find more welcoming. The rooms employ sensitivity tools to help soothe and reduce a child’s anxiety along the way. Examples of room themes were a jungle, a pirate island, a coral city, a campsite, and a sunset safari adventure; their names associated an adventure with the medical procedure, as in X-Ray Fluoroscopy Cub River Falls Adventure, CT Pirate Island Adventure, and MR Space Adventure. Each one of these themes could distract kids’ attention from anxiety points by using different techniques. For example, the MR room’s space theme was specifically chosen to target the MR scanner’s noise. In this room, where the scanner is disguised as a spaceship, children do not have to understand why the MR scanner makes noise because they can imagine a spaceship rumbling through space. Another example is the Cub River Falls Adventure: The table is a raft, so children do not have to understand why the fluoroscopy table may move—instead, they can imagine riding the rapids.

Figure 1.15

Figure 1.15. The GE Adventure Series CT scan. (Courtesy of GE Healthcare)

In addition to developing the Adventure Series room themes, the GE design team created a set of friendly characters to accompany the child through the scan process. These characters, with their own personalities, are playfully integrated into the room themes to ease the potential for anxiety of both patients and parents. A hands-on coloring book explains the procedure from a child’s perspective, while field guides assist staff in weaving the adventure into the scan procedure.

Working with the UPMC team also allowed the process to be tested and assessed for effectiveness; there was a significant reduction in the number of children who needed to be sedated for this type of scan with the Adventure Series. Children do not go to a hospital because they want to be part of an adventure. Instead, Adventure Series is about acknowledging patients and their needs beyond medicine, elevating them beyond just another patient, and addressing their needs as individuals.

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