Games as Design Medium: Utilizing Game Boards for Design Enquiry with Cancer Patients

J. Kronkvist
Aalto university, Helsinki, Finland

M. Järvinen
Aalto university, Helsinki, Finland

T. Leinonen
Aalto university, Helsinki, Finland

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Ingår i: ServDes.2012 Conference Proceedings Co-Creating Services; The 3rd Service Design and Service Innovation Conference; 8-10 February; Espoo; Finland

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 67:14, s. 121-132

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Publicerad: 2013-10-16

ISBN: 978-91-7519-482-0

ISSN: 1650-3686 (tryckt), 1650-3740 (online)


As the view of patients as passive receivers of care is changing towards more active participants in the healthcare process; hospitals are gearing up to provide more patient-centric services. At the same time; they are under increasing pressure to do more with stretched resources and demographic changes. To this end; service design has been utilized in many institutions to provide insights gathered from stakeholders and to design services to that focus on the patient. However; hospitals as a unique design context provide specific constraints for the design process. This paper presents a method of enquiry that was developed during an experimental service design project in which services were developed for sarcoma-type cancer patients. The method borrows visualizations; tangible props and actions from the world of games to assist the patients in the interviews to remember; understand and communicate their patient experiences. The patient journey was visualized in the form of a board game and physical props used by the patients to indicate significant people and events during their care. The game board acted as a design medium; both presenting information for the participants and engaging them to communicate personal and sensitive experiences. It was observed that in addition to the patients; the hospital staff was drawn to the game board as a way of representing information about the patient journey in an easily accessible way. The feasibility of the method was evaluated in the action and fine-tuned during the process. This paper describes the context of the case; the method developed and discusses the implications of this method for design research in services.


Design research; patient experience; design games; customer journey


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