On Monday afternoon we went to the Science Museum to check out the SUPERBUGS exhibition. It was really inspiring to see how simply they communicated the challenges we're facing, as well as checking out some of the design interventions that have been tried and tested before.
Here are our top takeaways:
We loved how the exhibition made things tangible with amazing visuals. Instead of describing tricky medical theory and too-tiny-to-imagine bacteria - they showed things to aid our understanding. From a mound of pills needed for one person to treat TB, to colour coded wellies for farmers to stop bacterial spread, to cool animations of bacteria 'popping' and petri-dishes showing how viruses attack bacteria.
It made us think, HMW engage using the weird and wonderful imagery of bacteria and bugs, instead of dry data and academic language? HMW use visual cues and codes to support instant decision making? Is behaviour change always about understanding in depth, or can it just be about engaging better?
One of the doctors interviewed in a video on show put it well:
“To tackle AMR, doctors and patients need to work together. Doctors need to provide better explanations on why antibiotics are needed or not, and patients need to be responsive.”
This made us think more about how simple this solution needs to be, despite the magnitude/complexity of the challenge.
We were inspired by the potential of technologies like computer vision, machine learning in helping visualise the invisible.
One great example was an AI robot that can identify in a huge warehouse of chickens if any of them are showing signs of bacterial infections, by visualising which chickens are moving slowly or are exhibiting signs of antisocial behaviour. Another was an audio tool that plays recordings of pig coughs (sick vs healthy) to help farmers whether pigs are infected. Reminded us of our cough shazam prototype from last weeks kickoff. Made us think: HMW use technology (and machine learning) to help prescribers diagnose better, faster and with more confidence?
The show made us realise that it's the way bacteria work - such as binding, stacking, surrounding, attacking - that is really the key to their power (and dangerous strength). There is a parallel here for us with our design - it's not so much about the pharmacists/doctors as individuals but their behaviours that combined are powerful. We need to find and design for these common behaviours and moments in order to have impact at scale.