We need education that focus on problem solving and innovation

In order for our global society to develop solutions to pressing problems in an increasingly technology-driven and constantly changing world, we need to re-train our workforce to do what machines can’t: to be enterprising, independent and strategic thinkers—to be purposeful creators.

These starts with changing the way students, especially the youngest ones, learn. And learning in the future has a lot to do with play.

Learning through play with “hands-on, minds-on” approaches is a powerful way forward. Play gives children space to dream, discover, improvise, and challenge convention. It’s crucial to social, emotional, cognitive and even physical development, helping them grow up “better adjusted, smarter and less stressed.”

However, today’s youngsters have a deficit of play. Where did play go? And can we get it back?

This was one of the topics of the LEGO Idea Conference that took place last April in Denmark. Hosted by the LEGO Foundation, the conference aimed at creating and being a part of “conversations and networks around re-defining play and re-imagining learning.” Speakers included leading voices in education, learning, and child development such as Tony Wagner. He talked about the importance of disciplined play in an innovation economy. The important message of his keynote was: “The capacity of being a creative problem solver is within the human being”. We, at Moebio, agree with Wagner’s words and our goal at Design Health Barcelona, our flagship program, is to create future leaders in healthcare innovation by guiding talented people beyond their boundaries, bringing their creativity and entrepreneurial mind out and providing them new knowledge and skills to succeed.

You can watch Wagner’s inspiring TED-style keynote in the following video. ¡Enjoy!

How to import the essence of Silicon Valley to Barcelona

The Silicon Valley is the technology center of the world, the main hub for entrepreneurship. It’s no wonder that so many places seek to be the next Silicon Valley. But what are the secret ingredients that have made such environment possible? People? Money?

Many entrepreneurs visit, each year, this area in California to live its spirit, to test the viability of their ideas or to look for inspiration to, later, back at home, launch their own business. However, some innovators decide to settle there.

That’s the case of Xavier Verdaguer, a serial entrepreneur and investor from Barcelona currently based in San Francisco. Over the past fourteen years, he has set up several technological innovation businesses.

Last June, at Biz Barcelona, the international forum for entrepreneurs, Xavier Verdaguer, who is also a member of d·HEALTH Barcelona advisory board, explained what are the keys to be a successful entrepreneur in Silicon Valley but, mostly, what can we learn and import from this unique place to make Barcelona a leading innovation hub in the world.

In the following video you can watch Xavier’s complete conference:

Design Thinking, the innovation’s engine

When Thomas Edison invented the electric light-bulb, he didn’t know he was creating, also, an entire industry around it. He just envisioned how people would want to use what he made and he engineered toward that insight.

Edison’s approach is an early example of what is now called “design thinking”, a methodology that has become business innovation process’ fuel and engine. As Tim Brown (@tceb62), CEO of the design consultancy IDEO wrote in an article at Harvard Business Review in 2008, “design thinking can be described as a discipline that uses the designer’s sensibility and methods to match people’s needs with what is technologically feasible and what a viable business strategy can convert into customer value and market opportunity.

Design sensibilities include empathy, creativity, a human-centered focus and deep curiosity about the world while design methods consist of observational techniques, visualization, prototyping, sketching, storytelling, brainstorming, and so on.

Historically, design has been treated as a downstream step in the innovation process. Designers just come to put a beautiful wrapper around the idea. Now, companies are asking them to create ideas that better meet consumers’ needs and desires. Any industry can benefit by employing design thinking and achieve better results, including healthcare.

Recently, the US federal government took the Department of Veterans Affairs’ current health record system, which looks and feels like a receipt, and challenged designers to reimagine a new electronic medical record output to describe a patient’s health history. The challenge received over 230 submissions. The winner, will hopefully, replace the actual format.

Design thinking process applied to innovation consists of four key stages.

Define the problem: Sounds simple but doing it right it is perhaps the most important of all. In design thinking observation takes center stage and requires cross-functional insight into each problem by varied perspectives.

Create and consider many options: Design thinking requires that no matter how obvious the solution may seem, many solutions be created for consideration. And created in a way that allows them to be judged equally as possible answers. Looking at a problem from more than one perspective always yields richer results.

Refine selected directions: Even the strongest of new ideas can be fragile in their infancy. Design thinking allows their potential to be realized by creating an environment conducive to growth and experimentation.

Pick the winner, execute: At this stage prototypes of solutions are created and testing becomes more critical and intense. At the end the problem is solved and the opportunity is fully uncovered.

“Design Thinking starts with a need and ends with an idea for a product or service” – Paul Yock (Founder of Stanford Biodesign Program).


At Design Health Barcelonawe will apply design thinking to deliver change within healthcare. To design clinical experiences that meet patients’ needs, different teams of fellows will immerse for eleven weeks at three clinical settings in Barcelona, Sant Joan de Deu Hospital, Clínic Hospital and Guttmann Institute. They will identify dozens, even hundreds, of unmet needs, understand them and select the most promising ones to, finally, get the winner idea. In the following months, and until the program finishes, they will mature and evolve them until they are ready for the patient.

If you want to know more about design thinking we recommend you to watch this video to learn how to think like an artist or Design & Thinking the movie (here is the trailer) and then share your comments with us! Do you think that design thinking has the potential to change our lives?

Lessons Learned:

  • Thinking like a designer can transform the way organizations develop products, services, processes, and strategy.
  • Design thinking is an approach to solve problems understanding consumers’ needs and developing insights to solve those needs.
  • Design thinking relies on our ability to be intuitive, to recognize patterns, to construct ideas that are emotionally meaningful as well as functional and to express ourselves through means beyond words or symbols.
  • Design thinking brings together what is desirable from a human point of view with what is technologically feasible and economically viable.
  • Design thinking is as much a mindset as a process.
  • Design thinking is a system of three overlapped spaces: inspiration, ideation, and implementation.
  • Only through contact, observation and empathy with end-users you can design solutions that fit into their environment.