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Service Design – Thinking of Solutions

For our Service Design class, Garrett and I have been working with We Are Blood, formerly known as The Blood Center of Central Texas. We chose to work with them due to the fact that despite their success, they still need an increase in donations.

To date, we have conducted research relating to the donors and employees and synthesized our findings via externalization and primarily the creation of a customer journey map. The purpose of this was to help us visualize the entirety of the donation process in relation to our interviews and identify potential breakdowns. This led us to where we are today, creating potential solutions to help minimize the breakdowns we have identified. In deciding which ideas would be most impactful to We Are Blood we weighed the impact to donors, value to We Are Blood, and the amount of effort for implementation.

Overall, We Are Blood is missing an opportunity to create an emotional connection to all of their donors. Some donors coming into donation centers and mobile drives do not feel connected to the mission of We Are Blood. These donors often do not donate again, causing the blood supply to be lower than it could be. There is also a lost opportunity during the donation to make donors feel more comfortable by explaining the process.

The first major area of opportunity is around perception. We found that the one-off donors don’t see the need for blood as continuous and only come to donate whenever there is a tragic event. The irony here is that due to the sudden increase in donations We Are Blood ends up not being able to use all of the donations they receive. In fact, 36,000 units of blood are used every day in the United States. There is very much a constant demand.

To communicate the continuous need and motivate people to come in outside of tragic events we want create a sign which will be able to be seen by people when they drive by the Lamar donation center. There will be two primary components of this sign. One being a blood bag about ⅓ full with a message explaining how they are always in need of donations. The other component will be an interchangeable “fact” that will further communicate the constant need for donations, such as “36,000 units of blood are used every day in the United States.” The reason for being able to update the sign is to catch people’s interest with new information rather than ending up ignoring what the sign is trying to communicate. Although this is one version of implementation, this same message could take the forms of a billboard, a pamphlet, or a dedicated page on their website. We think the sign outside would be the best immediate course of action due to the low cost and modular design being able to update frequently.

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The next area of focus we decided to work on is around the understanding of the process of donation. We found a number of donors who weren’t exactly sure what was happening during the donation process; they were just along for the ride. This created anxiety and a feeling of discomfort for the donor. When we asked a phlebotomist about the disclosure of the donation process to the donors we found out that he/she will only explain the details if he/she is asked, or is visibly distressed. The problem here is that these emotions can deter someone away from becoming a regular donor.

To help combat these negative emotions we are recommending that the phlebotomists regularly explain what is happening to donors, especially to first time donors. This will help create that emotional connection we identified earlier. In addition, we noticed that there are a number of TVs within the donation room that were never being utilized. We feel this is a perfect medium to be able to help communicate the donation process, in addition to the phlebotomists’ explanation. We understand the the phlebotomists are busy and won’t always be able to explain or help facilitate this need in the donor. Overall, by explaining more of the process while someone is getting literally stuck with a needle, their overall anxiety will be reduced affording a higher chance of returning for more donations.

We are proposing a presentation of that includes a step by step explanation of the process, stories of successful donations, and even some powerful facts about blood donation. It’s important to note that the presentation should be able to be viewed with or without sound. The unused TVs are a perfect medium of delivery considering they are already in place and are not currently being used for anything else. All that would be needed is to create the presentation. This could also take the form of a pamphlet that is handed out, but since the donors are already sitting in the chair we see the explanation being powerful while the actual donation is occurring.

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The last opportunity we are proposing solutions for is around creating empathy between the donor and the recipient. We found that donors want to feel like they are helping an individual, not a business. By creating this emotional connection we are providing a more tangible result to the donation. Right now there isn’t much that happens after your donation, in relation to the donor. This is what creates the feeling of donating to a business and not an individual. We feel this opportunity has the largest potential to increase regular donors out of what we have found.

To create this connection we want to utilize technologies that We Are Blood currently has and is also working towards. The ultimate goal will be able to send an email or text message with information ranging from the donation was simply used to even a short description of that person and how the donor’s blood helped their situation. We heard from most donors that they would love this information, although some did say they would prefer not to know the details of the person, but would still love to know when their donation was used. Either way, this would still create empathy for the donor and their efforts. This also affords a way to schedule another time for the donor to come in to donate.

 

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We Are Blood is working to connect to all donors and make them feel like family to ensure the blood supply of Central Texas is available for generations to come. These designs offer value not only to the organization, but also to the donor as they work together to provide life saving products for the community overall.

If you would like to review this information in deck form, you may view it here. The deck also has an appendix which details more of our findings and our process.