HESE McMaster
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HESE McMaster

Creative & Collaborative Team Development

Introducing Innovate to Elevate & Dr. Murthy

Innovate to Elevate is a group of three university students who are dedicated to exploring health challenges using design solutions. As part of the 2E06 design course, we were introduced to Dr. Shruti Murthy! Dr. Murthy is a public health remote researcher who resides in Karnataka India. She works closely with organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) in leading a team of 10 to conduct and write literature reviews. She is a natural leader and hard worker who is extremely committed to her work. Take a look at our user profile to get to know her before moving forward!

We present you with… The Challenge

After speaking with Dr. Murthy over several calls, we obtained a good understanding of the challenges she faced in the workplace, as well as areas we would like to see improvement within her team. As a group, we discovered that she felt a lack of creativity in her work life, largely stemming from her daily interactions with her colleagues. Here is a summary of the challenges she was facing, and the reasons for the mentioned issues!

We discovered that Dr. Murthy required a way to make her teammates realize that they are in a safe space to ask questions, reach out for help, and be honest at all times, in an effort to improve the quality of work and develop a creative group dynamic as a whole.

Ritual we created

We created a ritual activity called Roses, Buds, and Thorns where each team member shares a rose (personal or work-related success), a thorn (personal or work-related challenge), and a bud (something that they are looking forward to or want to develop). The goal of this ritual was to open up discussion among team members and acknowledge the strengths and weaknesses of others. This allows teams to put measures in place to do more of what’s going well, and fix what needs fixing. As well, this activity inspires creativity and debate within teams. Discussing Buds can encourage new, creative ideas to come to the fore. Finally, the activity allows teams to gain insight from all members of the team!

By introducing our “Rose, Bud & Thorn” activity to our HCP, she was eager and excited to try it. Once she tried out the prototype she told us her team responded very well. It increased empathy, open communication, and a reduced sense of authority. She received feedback from her team as well. They agreed and thought the activity was extremely effective and addressed the challenges they faced well.

Beyond The First Iteration

Following this iteration, we reflected on the sustainability of our solution. Could this one idea address all the challenges we have identified? Through talking with our HCP we decided that to make a sustained change on the team, we could find more resources for her to try with her team based on different tones she senses from her team members that week. This way, beyond our help, she will have resources to use!

This is when we discovered Session Lab: a platform that connects leaders worldwide to assist each other in bringing creativity to the workplace.

On the platform, you can search for activities based on feelings you are experiencing as a facilitator and easily find tools for teamwork, energizing, idea generation, issue resolution, skill development, and remote working. Our team guided Dr. Murthy through using this resource to become part of her professional rituals. As well, we actually decided to make an account and post the ‘Roses Buds and Thorns’ graphics and resources on the page:

Ultimately, we had a unique design journey and we're happy with where we left it off. Bringing it back to our journey with Dr. Murthy, we left her with all the resources to be able to effectively guide her team. This included the original Roses, Buds & Thorns ritual activity, as well as a whole range of new activities on Session lab! She now understands the value of team professional development on a personal level. In the end, her team thanked us for all the hard work we put in and they are aware if they ever need guidance on teamwork in the future, we are always an email away!

Reflection From Dr. Murthy

Working alongside Olivia, Miguel and Martin throughout this project has been an absolutely incredible experience. They have helped me identify several within my daily work life that could use some creative innovation, which I was previously not aware of. But most importantly, they have been able to make a significant impact on my team’s dynamic, interactions, and even my level of comfort in my workplace. This was accomplished by facilitating our interactions, assisting us in getting to know each other on a more personal level, and beginning to eliminate the sense of superiority that was unconsciously pre-established. Overall, it has been a pleasure to work with them these past months and I am really grateful for the creativity they have brought into my workplace.

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Health, Engineering Science, and Entrepreneurship stream in McMaster’s Integrated Biomedical Engineering and Health Science (IBEHS)

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