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Live Simulation Test, Lessons Learned From Move Into New Space


At Chase Brexton Health Care, the move into new space was intended to drive a culture change. The acid test of the new space was a live simulation of the new facility with 50 "patients" — volunteers supplied courtesy of a multinational employer with a facility in Baltimore, where the facility is located. Each volunteer was given a role to play.

One team of Chase Brexton staff tested their newly designed roles in the newly out-fitted space using the newly designed processes. Volunteer patients went through the whole patient reception, treatment, and completion of visit as if they were real patients — except they didn't get actual treatment. Observers recorded what was going on, where the issues were, and how the staff managed in the new space. The list of issues was daunting but none was irremediable before opening day, scheduled for about a month later.

The staff has now moved in. Evaluation highlighted some notable features of this project:

• The organization managed the significant challenges it faced, not through a standardized or traditional change management process, but through a pragmatic and tailored transition that evolved through the business process redesign activities they engaged in.

• The change was not only associated with the Monumental Life Building but with the whole organizational system — the move to a new location was simply a vehicle for wider organizational change.

• Close links were maintained between the transition teams, senior leadership, and the architects and interior designers. The interior space and the patient flow were developed in sync. An earlier rapid prototyping exercise mocked up the new flow before there had been any commitment to a specific interior layout.

• The senior leadership team recognized that, in changing situations, communication is not enough. People doing the work on the frontline have to be closely involved in designing the change, and this is an iterative process.

This brief comes from Naomi Stanford, author of Organizational Health.

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