May 2009

(Please feel free to email us if you’d like to receive a copy of the final report for this project.)

This two-day event, comprised of an immersion exercise followed by a stakeholders’ roundtable, explored the development of health and wellness navigation tools for the uninsured and underinsured. Participants spent a day walking in the shoes of the uninsured in real-world contexts and locations. Their experiences, inspired by and designed from our ethnographic research, included joining day laborers at a street corner, visiting a botanica, spending the morning at a golf course, and other venues to facilitate empathy. The goal was to better understand how the under and uninsured currently experience the process of navigating healthcare. The subsequent stakeholders’ meeting provided the platform for developing solutions among a key set of health care professionals.

**Immersive experiences are a form of experiential learning inspired by participatory design, street theater, and empathic research. They consist of a hosted series of events during which participants (e.g., decision-makers, healthcare professionals, project managers, and potential business partners) are ushered through a scripted set of real-life places as they take on the role of a character built from ethnographic field observations of a specific target population. The goal is for participants to immerse themselves deeply in the broader context of actual lived lives and to respond to key choice points as their assumed characters, taking into consideration their cultural, social, economic, and emotional motivations/constraints. By integrating ethnographic insights into participants’ thinking in this way, immersive experiences inspire new design strategies for healthcare based on actual life events and the cultural contexts in which people approach health and wellness.