This year I participated in the RSA Student Design Awards, a global curriculum and competition for emerging designers, with a team of four other Global Business and Digital Arts students.
This year’s challenge was to “design a vision and business case for a way to promote greater wellbeing when people are at work, wherever that work takes place, that will contribute to higher productivity and better overall mental health.”
RSA strongly discouraged app solutions, so my team and I worked hard to generate ideas that were not solely technological solutions.
The solution we came up with is called the MindPod: a small space designed to reduce general stress in the workplace. With this space, you can step away from your workplace and self reflect, and heal.
My main roles for this project were prototyping, UX research/testing and stakeholder management.
Create a product that promotes greater wellbeing while EMS workers are at work.
It all began with Paramedics.
After doing some online research we discovered that EMS workers have an extremely high suicide rate in Canada and worldwide. They also suffer from PTSD, depression and anxiety.
So we decided to reach out to EMS workers around us. We visited Perth County Paramedics and the Waterloo Region Paramedics to get a better sense of issues in the workplace. We also sent out a survey to paramedic Facebook groups to further our research.
After validating the problem was real, we started addressing the question of "How might we help them reduce the general stress in their workplace?"
Emotional user journey
After multiple interviews and conversations, we noticed a pattern. Paramedics work 12 hour shifts that always get pushed into over time, making them work on average 16-18 hours shifts.
They are always doing something -field work, paperwork, cleaning trucks, restocking equipment- and on the rare occasion that there is nothing to do at work, they are surrounded by co-workers.
With long shifts, they tend to feel like they are neglecting their families and try to spend whatever time and energy they have left with them. Once all that is done, then they sleep.
They never have any time alone, and while user testing, many of them mentioned that they wished for even 5 minutes to have some alone time.
Our solution is to create a personal space that anyone can go to to escape the general stress of work, and take some time to themselves.
The MindPod also includes guided meditation. We created a simple interface in which you can pick the type of meditation you would like and the amount of time you will be guided for.
Having some alone time helps increase empathy and productivity, as well as reducing stress.