I recently watched a TED talk by David Kelley (of IDEO) on ‘how to build your creative confidence’ (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=16p9YRF0l-g). One of the stories David shared was of Doug Detz. Doug designs large medical imaging equipment including MRI machines and it was one day when he was observing one of his MRI machines in action that he saw a little girl crying. Doug soon realised that 80% of paediatric patients in the hospital he was visiting had to be sedated before entering the MRI machine – I’ve been in a few of these over the years courtesy of contact sport and motorcycle injuries and whilst my main fear has been around ruining the film by moving, I could easily see how kids would need help to keep still whilst the drone noises do their thing.
Learning of this fear by young children spurred Doug on a quest to turn those figures around. And the outcome of this quest was to create an experience in which the MRI machine would become a pirate ship and the kids invited to be part of an adventure involving the pirate ship. An adventure that has seen the number of children now needing to be sedated reduced to only 10%.
I believe this is an inspiring example of how the way we frame an experience can influence our expectations and experiences for the better. With the pirate MRI the expectation of experiencing a big bad machine has shifted to one that is fun and empowering. If only I was still playing contact sport … I’d love a ride in one of those machines.