Design Thinking Tool for Collecting Frontline Input

We talk with our client Lance P. at Blessing Health System about the tool Blessing uses to hear directly from front line staff throughout the organization.
Jarrod Lowery

Jarrod Lowery

Jarrod is a Strategy Consultant and Business Designer at Do Tank

We had the pleasure of speaking with Lance Privett, who deployed a visual tool called the Sailboat Canvas on several departments’ Gemba boards at Blessing Hospital and saw folks use it to great effect—flagging problems, celebrating successes, and getting aligned with their colleagues. Read on to learn how Lance deployed the tool, what it accomplishes, and where else it might be used!

What problem did you set out to solve?

At Blessing Hospital and Blessing Physician Services, every department has a Gemba board that serves as a highly visible tracking tool. The boards have space for updates, current issues, and A3s for problem-solving efforts. At one point a few months ago, we noticed some disparities in staff engagement levels, so I considered how to help.

What was your chosen solution?

In response to that uneven engagement, I was asked to share “organizational driver” diagrams that teams might use to improve. Those diagrams didn’t quite generate the response we were hoping for, and I started to realize it’s hard for people to feel comfortable sharing their candid thoughts or feedback.

After some thought—and remembering my Innovation Champions training with Do Tank—I replaced those diagrams with two visual tools, the Sailboat Canvas and Idea Flip.

What was your goal for using the Sailboat canvas?

My big question was just, “How can we get people’s ideas about what’s going well, what’s going wrong, and any potential future A3s?” This tool has allowed us to capture people’s thoughts on all of that—the things we’re doing well (shown in the sky), our opportunities for improvement (below the water line), and items that may need some problem-solving.

This way, everyone can see what issues their colleagues are flagging, and it leads to discussion. Ultimately, it’s up to the department leader which ones to act on.

How did people react and use the canvas?

Some departments have really taken to it and are almost running out of room! One team moved their board into a classroom so people would have more space to interact with it.

One department gave everyone a letter-size Sailboat Canvas to get feedback on their temporary shut-down and move, in preparation for the refurbishment project. I thought this was a great way to include people in the process and ensure they felt heard.

That’s excellent to hear. What’s next?

Well, this tool provides a good opportunity to gather contributions from folks—especially those who wouldn’t otherwise have a chance to share, such as third shift and weekend nursing staff. We’re looking forward to using it more contexts.