Wall Mural by Brendan Murphy

Designing for the Bright Spots

By Dianne Que

The Magic of Family House
For this year’s BarnRaise, Sept 9–11, The Capital ONE Design team is partnering with Family House (FH), a local nonprofit that provides free, temporary housing for families with children undergoing cancer and other treatment at the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital.

The first time our team visited Family House, we were immediately struck by the warmth, hospitality, and comfort of our environment. It was clear that the House truly provides a home away from home (vs. a home away from hospital) for the children and families it serves.

As we learned more about the organization, its history, and its vision, we were further struck by the passion of Family House’s staff. Authors sometimes refer to the idea of “the given line” — a word, phrase, or idea that passes through the air and inspires an entire body of work. During our first meeting with FH staff, when Karen Banks, Director of Volunteer Programs, said to us, “There’s Magic at Family House,” we knew we had our given line.

Finding the Bright Spots
Over the past few weeks, we’ve heard stories of pain, sadness, and loss, yes. But we’ve also heard stories about communities coming together everyday to create positive experiences for families. We’ve learned about children running up to the front desk to borrow videos when they’re feeling well enough simply because there’s no time to waste. With its arts & crafts nights, guitar therapy, birthday parties, and more, Family House is by no means a dismal place. It’s a place where stories are told and there are opportunities to laugh. It’s a place where kids get to be kids.

As designers, we seek to understand experiences holistically — including all the highs and lows — but at times we can become focused on problems and challenges rather than strengths. Certainly, one approach of design is to “solve for painpoints,” but another is to “replicate the bright spots.”1 What would it mean for our team to look at what’s working at Family House in order to help solve what isn’t?

In the theme of “Transitioning into a new chapter of life,” our team is exploring what it’s like to transition into Family House. How might we improve the experiences of families and staff during this deeply stressful and emotional time? In light of everything we’ve learned and with our given line as inspiration, rather than ask ourselves, “How might we solve for X, Y, Z?,” we ask, How might we amplify the magic at Family House?”

Register now and you could be part of this team.

About Capital ONE Design
ONE Design is Capital One’s internal design organization. It brings humanity, simplicity, and ingenuity to the products and services Capital One offers its customers. ONE Design is focused on impact in 2016: designing experiences that empower customers to better manage their finances.

1 From Chip & Dan Heath’s Switch

Dianne Que is the Team Liasion for Capital ONE Design and Family House. She is a Design Manager at Adaptive Path @ Capital One and is an alumna of the MBA in Design Strategy program at CCA. When she’s not at work, you can find her at your neighborhood ice cream shop.

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