We want an app! But should you really? While some ideas are best served through the use of an app, many problems have multiple experience solutions and building an app shouldn’t be the default. As a service designer at Mayo Clinic's Center for Innovation, I worked on our innovation grant projects. We opened submission to anyone in the organization who thought they had a new idea for funding and service design support. We tended to get a lot of submissions for people wanting to build an app as the solution to their problem.

While some ideas were really best served through the use of an app, many ideas had multiple ways to solve their problem, or the problem they thought they were solving with an app wasn't actually the problem that needed to be solved. It felt like everyone thought innovation could only happen within an app and that was the cool trendy thing to do. I'd like to encourage people to not just default to an app as the solution. We should truly understand the context and alternative ways to solve the need. Sometimes it might be an app, but sometimes, it might not.


Molly Fuller has a background in fashion design and human factors and has worked as a service designer at the Mayo Clinic. She now leads experience design at a startup health insurance and primary care company called Harken Health. Molly also started her own side business creating stylish compression garments for teens with autism.