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The Problem with Problems: Reframing and Cognitive Bias in Healthcare Innovation

Journal article
Authors Samantha Hookway
Mia Fay Johansson
Anton Svensson
Bowman Heiden
Published in The Design Journal
Volume 22
Issue Issue sup1: Running with Scissors: 13th International Conference of the European Academy of Design, Dundee, 10-12th April, 2019, edited by Louise Valentine and Leon Cruickshank
Pages 553-574
ISSN 1460-6925
Publication year 2019
Published at Institute of Medicine, Department of Clinical Trials and Entrepreneurship
School of Design and Crafts
Pages 553-574
Language en
Keywords Design Thinking, Healthcare Innovation, Reframe, Problem Formulation & Cognitive Bias
Subject categories Design, Other Medical Sciences


Design Thinking (DT), well-branded in the world of innovation, is typically defined as a methodology for problem-solving stemming from the way designers think and do. However, from a cognitive science or social psychology perspective, DT can be viewed as a process for overcoming cognitive bias in decision-making (Liedtka 2015). The purpose of this study is to better understand how cognitive biases influence the way decision-makers frame problems and the impact of DT methods to reframe the problem. Specifically, this relationship was investigated through a comparative analysis of nine healthcare innovation projects and two in-depth case studies. Thus, asking (1) is the problem really what people think it is, and if not, why? and (2) which methods are most useful in exposing misunderstandings and reframing the problem? The cognitive difference between the original and the reframed problem is further propositioned; resulting in the theoretical concepts of reframing distance and reframing space.

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Utskriftsdatum: 2020-08-08