Managing Director, OpenLab

Years ago in a London pub, following a discussion about lemurs, a Canadian physician made a compelling argument to Kendra that her love of process improvement and helping others would be best put to use in the healthcare sector. They spoke of the potential for the healthcare system if those willing to think outside the box were able to work together to change the environment. This inspiring chat propelled Kendra back into the clinical environment, from bench work in a biology lab biosynthesizing a chemotherapy agent, to working with cardiology departments across Canada on quality improvement projects using hospital specific as well as aggregate data. At OpenLab, has Kendra worked on projects examining the diagnostic and treatment processes for lung cancer patients, understanding the patient care experience around palliative care planning and creating a symposium to bring together people who work with the arts in healthcare.

OpenLab is a design and innovation shop dedicated to finding creative solutions that transform the way health care is delivered and experienced. We build on the collective works and experience of its predecessor, the Centre for Innovation in Complex Care (CICC).

Our work in recent years has expanded beyond our initial focus on general internal medicine in the hospital setting. The name OpenLab signifies our work outside the walls of the hospital and our view that the health system is our lab. Whereas traditional medical research is often described as “from bench to bedside”, our scope is “from bedside to system-wide”.

The best ideas for change come from those working on the front-lines, as well as patients and caregivers. We employ approaches to problem solving that place the user at its core. This design-thinking process aims to optimize the users experience by involving their perspective from identifying problems to brainstorming and piloting solutions.

OpenLab always starts with the problem rather than the solution. We have a particular affection for low-cost solutions because innovation doesn’t have to be expensive.

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