What We Do


A new approach

Leading companies are accelerating innovation through a concept relatively new to business strategy
design thinking.
It's a creative, problem-solving approach that the center uses to revolutionize the experience and delivery of health care by going beyond process analysis and quality improvement.

Design thinking has become a vital tool in fueling business innovations. What is our product? Are we delivering it in a way that makes the consumer feel good about the experience? Are we providing a service that won't become obsolete? In health care, design thinking has played a role in creating competition in medical innovation where there previously was none.

Mayo Clinic's Center for Innovation fuses design principles with the scientific method to uncover human needs in the health care environment, which include empathy, creativity, systems thinking and a human-centered focus. Design methods include ethnographic and observational techniques, visualization, prototyping, sketching, storytelling, brainstorming and more. The complement of design allows the center to think beyond what it normally does and serve as a translator for ideas and possibilities.

The center employs a diverse research team to design solutions that creatively address patients' needs.


"Design is a dynamic, inclusive methodology, that can engage many stakeholders-providers, patients, and families. It is a strategic differentiator that drives innovation."
— Barbara A. Barry, PhD, design strategist,
Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation

Design research capabilities and services

  • Design research and strategy
  • Service and experience design
  • Product design
  • Design thinking education
  • Environment evaluation and modification

Past, present, patient

Mayo Clinic has a history of investing in innovation, working diligently to deliver best practices to patients. In the late 1800s, when Drs. William J. and Charles H. Mayo founded their medical practice around the concept of an integrated team practice, they knew then what Mayo continues to acknowledge today: Innovation doesn't happen by chance.

In a Harvard Business Review article, Tim Brown, CEO of the design consultancy IDEO, said, "Design thinking can be described as a discipline that uses the designer's sensibility and methods to match people's needs with what is technologically feasible and what a viable business strategy can convert into customer value and market opportunity."

Today, business evolves at a rapid pace. Innovation is more critical than ever, and health care is no exception. During the past 60 years, there have been significant advances in medicine. There is clearly an opportunity to do more — and Mayo Clinic's Center for Innovation is doing it.

Mission, goals and approach


The Center for Innovation's mission is to transform the experience and delivery of health and health care.


  • Focus on the human experience to identify needs and design services, products and business models to meet them
  • Innovate care delivery that's accessible, affordable and value-driven
  • Collaborate openly — internally and externally
  • Generate economic value by demonstrating financial return from sustainable delivery models, services and products


The Center for Innovation works with a "Think big. Start small. Move fast.™" philosophy.

  • Connect. Bring people together in new ways inside and outside of Mayo Clinic.
  • Design. Identify opportunities and realize solutions that transform care delivery and experience.
  • Enable. Facilitate and accelerate innovation across Mayo Clinic.