Susanne Devlin’s work focuses on health conditions that have a stigma around them, like mental health.
Design Director, Fjord Middle East, Part of Accenture Interactive
My background is in Service Design, Product Innovation, and new ventures.
I’ve been in the Middle East for about two and a half years. There’s a lot of innovation here which is really exciting and more importantly, there’s so much enthusiasm around it.
I’ve always dreamed of working on complex problems and having the ability to use future signals and forecasting. Here in the Middle East, I feel like some of it is actually possible.
My background is in Neuroscience and Human Biology. I’ve always been very interested in psychology, mental health, and behavioural science. So when I moved into Design, I had a natural interest in the health side of the business.
I’m interested in health conditions that have a stigma around them, such as mental health. Even the ones where people can’t get the treatment they need and thus their lives are affected. And if you get that right, you give people who suffer from those kinds of health conditions a chance to be the best version of themselves without being hindered by their illnesses.
When working on products that impact people’s health, I believe that health needs to be treated in another way with a different set of rules, and the understanding that the return on investment may take longer, or that the return on investment is about more than money. When it comes to health, you need to be prepared that you won’t see the benefits for a while. Therefore it’s crucial to work with people with a long-term vision and the willingness to see it through until the end.
We recently set up a community of practice with an international team consisting of experts from North America, Europe, and Australia with backgrounds in Health Design and Health Systems, as well as a design expert who worked on a very insightful point of view around health at home. The goal of this community with 100+ members is to share tools, case studies and methodologies across the global Fjord/Accenture network, as well as look for opportunities to partner on thought leadership topics or experiments.
One strength I have in going after an idea and doing it right within Health is my risk appetite.
From connections I’ve made through this initiative, we are now looking to explore what the future of health at home looks like in the Middle East, amongst other topics. Here, there’s still a huge stigma around mental health issues so what will be important is to take an approach with total care, empathy, and listening deeply to people — the first principle of healthcare is that you need to care deeply to do it right.
One strength I have in going after an idea and doing it right within Health is my risk appetite. I have seen so many things that have gone wrong in innovation for the wrong reasons, and I am willing to explore and research all the possible angles of the problem. No matter how many times I find the wrong answer, I know I will eventually get to the right one.
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