Major construction projects do not happen often, sometimes only once in an entire career. When organization leaders decide to build a new space or redesign their environment, they are also creating the opportunity for large-scale transformation. These projects can be an exceptional springboard for a cultural shift that will excite and stimulate the active engagement of every player. But it's important to remember that a new environment on its own will not fully transform a system.

The success of new environmental design is dependent on strong leadership and a comprehensive plan that includes cultural and operational development. An ideal framework for transformational design is a human-centered, co-design process. While using this process, individuals combine their unique experiences and skills to design the interactions, systems and spaces that will enable effective patient-team partnerships and a thriving culture. Within this framework, everyone contributes to the final design, knows his or her role in achieving the intended outcomes, and moves forward with a unified sense of contributing to something larger.

Building projects can benefit greatly from the five P's of transformational design — purpose, passion, partnerships, potential and prosperity. To get the most out of these five principles, organizations need to answer a few questions:

  • Who orchestrates this multidynamic group of people to ensure that a clearly articulated care delivery model becomes a reality in the new facility?
  • How do you manage expenses and calm the churn of a design or redesign when there is a lack of clarity regarding operational models and intended outcomes?
  • How do you know if you will achieve intended outcomes, including return on your investment? Do you have measures that reflect the culture you are striving for — in the current space and in the new one?
  • Are you aware of the facility design and scientific evidence that has proven specific outcomes in experience, safety and efficiency?
  • Is the entire leadership team clear on what culture is essential to make the most of the facilities investment?
  • Do you have engaged team members already demonstrating the culture intended in the new space?
  • What patients and/or family members are involved in designing your desired culture and the spaces that support it?

Answering these questions while employing the five P's of transformational design will help to ensure that new facilities contribute to optimal outcomes and a thriving organization. Read more about how to use the five P's from our sister magazine, Hospital & Health Networks.