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Design Thinking

Project Background

Community Development and Health Network (CDHN) has been funded by Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) to deliver the Self-Care Pharmacy project. It aims to improve the knowledge and understanding of self-care for minor ailments through a health literacy approach.   The project is part of a strategy from the Department of Health to put pharmacy first and support self-care for minor ailments. One of the main elements of the project is Design Thinking.

What is Design Thinking?

Design Thinking is an approach to solving problems which allows everybody engaged in the process to be a creative thinker. It is most useful when tackling problems that are ill-defined or unknown – in this case, improving health literacy and increasing people’s capacity to self-care for minor ailments.   It is a five-stage process as follows.








How will the Design Thinking project be delivered?

Empathise:   A major part of this stage of the process is insight gathering.  Between May and August this year (2019), CDHN gathered insights with over 150 people in communities throughout Northern Ireland.  The next stage of the insight gathering is hearing the views of health professionals and others who support people with minor ailments.

Define the problem, Ideate and PrototypeThese stages will be delivered through a two-day Design Thinking workshop.   The participants will:

  • View the findings from the insight gathering and add further insights and knowledge
  • Listen and learn from each other about the real issues facing patients and health professionals and others who support people with minor ailments
  • Identify the problems and use a human centred approach to build problem statements 
  • Identify key themes and reach agreement on the top challenges that are ripe for innovation
  • Generate new ideas to solve the challenges
  • Begin to build potential solutions
  • Agree next steps for action

Test:  CDHN will take the lead on exploring how the solutions could be implemented.   These solutions will be presented to the project funder HSCB and the Self-Care Pharmacy reference group where potential lead partners and funding avenues will be explored.

How do I get involved in the Design Thinking project?

There are two ways to get involved (1) Insight gathering sessions and (2) Two-day design thinking workshop.      

1. Insight Gathering Sessions:

There are separate insight gathering sessions for GPs, GP practice managers and receptionists, Emergency Department staff and Pharmacy staff.  The session information is detailed in the table below.  We  want to have dates, times and places that works best for people,  please contact us if you feel another time/date/location is more appropriate, we will be happy to discuss either rearranging or holding an additional session.   We have had interest in the project from GP MDTs and the Ambulance Service,  you are also welcome to attend, please choose the most appropriate session for you. 

2. Two-day Design Thinking workshop

We will ask for one or two representatives from each session to represent their group take part in the two-day design thinking workshop.  It will be led by WorkWest who have extensive experience in delivering design thinking programmes.

Day 1: Tuesday 10 December 2019

Day 2 Either Wednesday 22 or Wednesday 29 January 2020 (TBC)  

In advance of the delivery of the two-day workshops, participants will be asked to complete an online tool called Foursight Creative Preference Tool. This is a problem solving assessment that reveals personal preference for each phase of the creative thinking process that leads to innovation.  It will be used to support the workshop delivery.

Why should I get involved?

We want to hear your experiences of what it is like in your role (as staff of a GP Surgery, Pharmacy or Emergency Department), your views on how patients self-care for minor ailments and why some people choose to visit the GP or Emergency Department for minor ailments before visiting a pharmacy.   We also want to know what you think your role is in improving people’s health literacy, that is people’s knowledge, skills, understanding and confidence to be able to use health and care information to make good health decisions.

This is a unique opportunity to provide your perspective and come together with other pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, pharmacy well-being advisors, GPs, GP practice managers and receptionists, Emergency Department staff and people in the community to develop solutions to improve health literacy and increase people’s capacity to self-care for minor ailments.  Ultimately it is hoped these solutions will lead to HSC savings which could be used for higher priority areas and also relieve pressure on GP and Emergency Department services.

Do you provide locum cover and travel expenses?  
Yes, we offer locum cover or staff costs for the insight gathering and the design thinking workshops.  We will also cover any travel expenses.  

If you would like attend one of the insight gathering sessions, the two-day design thinking workshop or if you would like to find out more contact Helen McNamee, Project Manager, T: 028 3026 4606,  E: