Powell & Associates
Solving complex health care challenges through human-centered design.

Design Framework

Health Care Redesigned


Powell & Associates Design Framework, 2018

The Powell & Associates design framework introduces stages and activities that create optimal conditions for designers to discover, understand, create ideas, and inspirations, and narrow focus. This leads to a set of strategic interventions that solve complex design challenges and ultimately meet system requirements as defined by leaders and stakeholders. The approach also includes a robust prototype and test phase to iterate the solutions until ready for full scale implementation. 


Identifying design Champions

Identify senior/community leaders who are able to champion the design initiative. The champions select stakeholders, and participate in planning and execution of all phases of design. They ensure alignment of the design initiative to system, community and funder goals by developing system requirements. They communicate approach and progress to key stakeholders.  

aligning Context and Intent

The design process is a creative and open-minded process. This requires an alignment of context and intent, including agreement on the design challenge, system goals, and requirements. Powell & Associates works with leadership to foster a mindset for human-centered designers and leaders, helping designers understand the depth of a challenge, (including constraints), the business environment, and how to more deeply understand the users' needs. Exercises to lower biases and other preconceived ideas are key to creating the optimal conditions for collaboration, idea generation, and innovation. 


Understanding the who and the why

The design process builds a story that guides designers to uncover perceptions, beliefs, feelings, and conscious and subconscious thinking. Ethnographic research, storytelling, and mapping the users' journey are design methods that enable designers to make empathic connections to the users' experience, which  allow them to consider the problem from a human perspective. This is then considered through the lens of the environmental scan, to understand the business and community to further inform the WHY.    

design through collaboration 

We start by identifying the specific design challenge. Bringing together information from the environmental scan and understanding the WHO and the WHY, we move from understanding perspectives to generating ideas and inspirations, culminating in key concepts and a long list of possible interventions. Designers then rank key features and/or interventions based on system requirements and other criteria. Through group design exercises we cluster interventions into intervention packages and determine expected impact and metrics to then be tested on a small scale.  


Prototyping and validating 

At the core of the implementation process is prototyping; turning ideas into a concrete, fully conceived action plan. Through prototyping, the design thinking process seeks to uncover unforeseen challenges and unintended consequences to limit risk and create reliable long-term success.  

full scale implementation 

By prototyping and creating an implementation plan to pilot and scale the project, the design initiative culminates in a logic model, refined intervention packages, a set of measures  and enthusiastic nodes/sites ready for full scale implementation. Embedded into the implementation plan are feedback loops to ensure that the new solutions includes systematic review of data reports indicating the success of the newly designed product, service, or system.