A Leap of Faith: Designing a career to create a lasting impact
Aimi Hino had a burgeoning career as a nursing and healthcare professional. She also had an itch that needed to be scratched. Motivated by a fascination with technology and a desire to create long-lasting change, Aimi has let her curiosity lead the way.
Aimi’s leap of faith landed her in IE’s graduate program as a User Experience Designer, where she has been able to apply her unique and deeply personal lens to her work.
Now Aimi uses her ever-expanding knowledge of human experience to solve challenges and impact change - one touchpoint at a time.
SO YOU WENT FROM NURSING TO UX DESIGN, WHAT SPARKED THE CHANGE?
In high school, my three favourite subjects were IT, Art and Maths. You would think the path before me would have been obvious, but life isn’t always as simple as going from point A to point B. Nursing was a necessary choice. It was a career move that ensured my financial wellbeing and would give me the opportunity to move away from the Philippines, according to my parents.
Through nursing I learned to love the challenges and the impact made by caring for others, but there was always an itch that wouldn’t quite go away.
An itch to do something that would last beyond an interaction in a recovery room. I would satisfy this itch through creative side projects, a stockings business and eventually a health technology start-up. All this alongside my full-time role as a nurse and manager. In my eight years as a nurse, I climbed the ladder quickly. I found myself leading a team of twelve endoscopy nurses, facilitating training, managing theatre lists, equipment and recovery rooms. With this came a new perspective and it allowed me to see what lay ahead of me if I continued on the same path.
I took a good look at the managers and directors around me - what they were doing, what their lives were like and what impact they had control over. I saw that no matter how much effort they put into improving the lives of those in the hospital, the field still encouraged traditional thinking, frustrating those with innovative ideas. There were daily frustrations towards the technology and processes that seemed to hinder rather than enhance efficiency. The systems in place to screen patients and discharge medication were complex and convoluted. It felt like we were spending more and more time documenting health instead of delivering health.
So like dominoes, a chain of unrelated events unfolded and led me to my tipping point. I said farewell to my nursing career and dived head-first into a new career with a new vision - to create long-lasting impact via small iterations, appropriately called “human-centred design”.
CREATING A POSITIVE IMPACT IS OBVIOUSLY VERY IMPORTANT IN WHAT YOU DO. WHAT MOTIVATES YOU TO LEAD WITH THIS APPROACH?
In whatever we do, we have “impact” on this world - be it for the better or for the worse. So if we can be purposeful with what we do, why not choose to leave this place a better place than when we first arrived?
An oldie but a goodie, as an example, is Doug Dietz, who works in GE Healthcare. After developing a new edition of an MRI machine he rushed to the hospital, excited to watch the way it would change lives. He was met with a young girl crying, so terrified of the machine that they had to call an anaesthesiologist to assist. He knew he wouldn’t be able to finance a change to the machine, so through a changed perspective, he focused on the experience of young patients.
Together with his team, he created “The Adventure Series”. With added decals, pirates, spaceships and a sprinkle of imagination, they had transformed the sterile, white machine into a child’s adventure story, putting the young patient in a starring role.
Young patients needing sedation decreased significantly and Doug knew he achieved something when he saw a young girl run out of the MRI room saying “Can we come back tomorrow?”
HOW DO YOU INCORPORATE THIS THINKING WHEN WORKING WITH IE’S CLIENTS?
I am a firm believer that any form of business needs to provide a level of value to their end-customers, no matter the industry. Whilst providing value is critical, it comes with necessary constraints; like business objectives and technical feasibility.
Envisioning to the sky can only get us so far when we only have the tools within our own hands to use.
So like Doug Dietz, at IE we balance and create a harmony of all contributing factors, curating an experience for customers and businesses, either via a singular touchpoint or through multiple streams of interactions.
No problem is ever the same and with the right mindset and application of design thinking, we are able to cater our approach according to the unique factors at play for our clients and their end-customers.
A favourite quote we commonly use at IE is:
“We are uncompromising on the vision. We are flexible on details.”
— Jeff Bezos
What’s the most exciting project you’ve worked on at IE? Why?
We had the opportunity to work with a client in the professional services industry on an idea to better care for “The Sandwich Generation” - the mums and dads raising their own family while simultaneously taking care of their older parents. The hope was to reduce the burden of taking care of your parents through convoluted systems like aged care and senior health.
It was exciting to take a seemingly simple idea and explore its potential on customers, third-party partners and the business itself. It also involved investigating plausible business models and understanding what needed to happen for it to be a sustainable idea.
The multi-faceted concept involved various stakeholders and a familiar industry that I quickly realised I knew so little about. This project was an invigorating collaborative effort between our IE team and client team - to be in a room full of passionate people who wanted to see this change happen with a balance of realism and optimism.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU? ANY PASSION PROJECTS?
I’m not completely sure what the future has in store for me. A quote by Oprah and a question I ask myself is “What is the next right move?” I guess at this point, it’s continuing to work with the amazing talents and people in IE and beyond.
On the side, I am also a community manager for a community-of-practice called Designing for Health. “Design” and “healthcare” are such general terms that it applies to many things in our life - mental health, visual design, community health, systems design. This has allowed me an outlet to explore the limitless implications of design within healthcare, in all facets and forms. It has also allowed me to curate a safe space for enthusiasts and experts alike to grow mindsets and a knowledge base that fosters multi-disciplinary conversations and impactful innovation. I guess you can call this my passion project.
With IE’s flexibility and the encouragement towards side hustles, I don’t feel like I need to live a double-life to create a happy harmony in my work and passions. I can continue to explore the vast blanket of health while expanding my skills and knowledge in digital design.
“Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”
— Theodore Roosevelt
New plant parent. Multi-instrumentalist. Can pull off green hair.
When Aimi is not busy designing magic into everyday things, you can find her bingeing “How to get away with Murder”.