2006 was a high-point for strategic design in the United States. Operational-excellence methods like Six Sigma were becoming commodity, and companies were looking for new ways to differentiate themselves through managed Innovation processes. Time and Fast Company were featuring Design cover stories, and companies like Apple, P&G, BMW and Nissan were showing that high-margin, design-forward products offered a path forward.
I was eager use my position as design leader to inspire Cardinal Health to catch this wave. They had recently acquired my company Alaris, and were bringing us together with Pyxis under a new organization called Clinical Technology & Services. I was busy consolidating resources, authoring PDP processes, Innovating new Products and Design Systems, and spreading the word about Design Thinking.
With a new CTS headquarters in design, I saw an opportunity for us to influence by proposing the construction of an Innovation Hub. A new learning facility for our new learning organization.
The proposal told a relevant story about Angela, a fictional CTS engineer. It included best-practice thinking from my experience as a product designer and with support from thought leaders at Carnegie Mellon, IDEO and more.
This proposal helped elevate my position to Director of Design. Its thinking was rolled into our PDP, hiring, and sustaining partnerships with IDEO and Ziba. We added a Usability Lab and Tech Lab which led to notable improvements in our Discovery and Validation design work.
Tech companies like CTS started adopting these ideas in the years to follow. I would later join Intuit, which was similarly investing in Design Thinking methods and labs like these.
CTS spun out of Cardinal Health as CareFusion in 2009 with a market valuation of $4.3B, and in 2014 was acquired by BD for $12B.