Design Lab with Bon Ku

Does living in a well-designed city make you healthier? How can surfing increase your creativity? Have you ever wondered why hospitals are so ugly? Bon Ku is a physician and an avid fan of design, food, surfboarding and Medicine. In each episode of DESIGN LAB, Bon and his guests tell stories about how the worlds of design, art, science and health intersect. Listen and learn new insights, hacks and design principles that you can apply to your own life. ISSN 2833-2032

Health & Fitness
Society & Culture
EP 98: Designing the Future of Patient Safety |...
Learn about the creative journey of a Chinese immigrant who served as a Green Beret and then started a medical device company that uses AI to make hospitals safer.
39 min
EP 97: Designing Nature Prescriptions | Melissa...
Is your health suffering from nature deprivation? Why are doctors prescribing park prescriptions? Can nature exposure prevent the onset of chronic disease?
29 min
EP 96: Designing the Long Life | Ayse Birsel
Can we view life as a design project? What design principles can help us be more creative? Why should we start designing for the life we want as we grow older?
35 min
EP 95: Designing Environmental Health | Jennife...
How can we microdose nature into the built environment? What are the benefits of green spaces and who has access to them? What’s the story behind Billie Holiday’s song Strange Fruit?
45 min
EP 94: Designing for Disaster | Sheri Fink
How might we better prepare for disasters? What role did deadly design play in Hurricane Katrina? How does the concept of triage during a crisis reflect our values?
42 min
EP 93: Designing for Humanity | Platon
How does one of the world’s most renowned photographers humanize data? Can ordinary people do extraordinary things? What is true power?
48 min
EP 92: Designing Pandemic Survival | David France
Can we survive the next pandemic? How does the Covid-19 pandemic parallel the HIV pandemic? What lessons can we learn from the current global pandemic response?
39 min
EP 91: Designing for Complex Systems | Valerie ...
How does design excel at producing experience outcomes? What’s the role of a chief design officer? What does it look like for design to have a strategic role?
41 min
EP 90: Designing for Long Covid | Lekshmi Santhosh
How do you design care for patients with Long Covid? Will the pandemic lead to a redesign of medical education? Can design principles create safer standards in healthcare?
39 min
EP 89: Designing Intellectual Antibodies | Seem...
Can we design intellectual antibodies? How does misinformation spread like a virus? Why do our brains cling to biases?
39 min
EP 88: Designing Relationships for Health | Jul...
Does loneliness make us sicker? Do people who have more friends live longer? Why is loneliness a public health issue?
29 min
EP 87: Designing for Health in the Age of Anxie...
Is there scientific evidence behind the daily decisions you make about your health? What role should clinician scientists and institutions play in debunking pseudoscience? Why does misinformation spread like a virus?
39 min
EP 86: Designing for Disability | Laura Mauldin
Why do we hate disability? Why does design neglect disability? How do disabled people tap into their creativity to make the world accessible?
36 min
EP 85: Designing Curious Minds | Perry Zurn and...
How do you define curiosity? Can it make us happier? Does curiosity have style?
41 min
EP 84: Designing Healthcare through Stories | J...
Does creativity help physicians care for their patients? Can making space for stories improve healthcare? How does imagination come into play in the practice of Medicine?
39 min
EP 83: Designing a Healthy Work Culture | Nina ...
How can we create a healthy work culture? What is equitable listening? How does making space for learning benefit organizations?
39 min
EP 82: Designing Creative Acts | Sarah Stein Gr...
How does design unlock your creative abilities? Why is it so hard for us to tolerate ambiguity? Can the fundamentals of design help us to learn more quickly?
41 min
EP 81: Designing Against Burnout | Sudhakar Nuti
What are guiding principles for addressing burnout? Can burnout be reversed? Why is burnout one of the most pressing issues in healthcare?
38 min
EP 80: Designing Wayfinding | Katie Osborn
How can wayfinding improve the patient experience? Why are hospitals so confusing? What are the design principles for great wayfinding?
44 min
EP 79: Designing the Treatment of Pain | Haider...
Why is almost everything we know about pain wrong? How can we reframe our understanding of chronic pain? Is there a more effective way to treat pain outside of pills and procedures?
43 min
EP 78: Designing Health Technology | Subha Aira...
How can better designed healthcare tools decrease clinician burnout? Why does the EHR suck so bad? What are ways to improve data visualization in the medical record?
45 min
EP 77: Designing Stories in Medicine | Alessand...
Can the practice of writing make better physicians? Why are stories essential to the practice of Medicine? How can you become a better storyteller?
38 min
Ep 76: Designing Smell | Nancy E. Rawson
What is the relationship between smell and memory? Can our sense of smell improve our emotional health? Should a smell check be a part of our regular check-ups?
43 min
EP 75: Designing Global Health | Tracy Johnson
What is a design anthropologist? How can design reframe challenges in global health? Why does Montreal have outdoor staircases?
38 min
EP 74: Designing the Future of Everything | Phn...
What is the role of culture when designing for humans? How can you create a culture of creativity? Do you always need to do research before designing?
38 min
EP 73: Designing for Mars | Melodie Yashar
How do you 3D print habitats for Mars? What is a space architect? Can designing for extreme environments improve healthcare?
38 min
EP 72: Designing on the Front Lines, Part 3 | ...
From plastic sneeze guards to graphics for social distancing, new norms sprang quickly into place. What worked and what didn’t? How can everyone have access to healthier spaces?
54 min
EP 71: Designing Recovery Through Surfing | Th...
Is surfing the most addictive sport? How did surfing help a writer with a substance use disorder enter into recovery? What activities can be a form of therapy for you?
35 min
EP 70: Designing Civic Tech | Sha Hwang
How does an architect end up working on Obamacare? What are the differences between designing with data and physical materials? Why does the government need more designers?
38 min
EP 69: Designing a Covid-19 Vaccine for the Wor...
What is an open source vaccine? How are vaccine and beer production similar? Are D.I.Y. vaccine starters kits the best strategy to vaccinate the world?
43 min
EP 68: Designing on the Front Lines, Part 2 | D...
This is part 2 of a special 3-part virtual talk in partnership with Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum and the Health Design Lab at Thomas Jefferson University.
56 min
EP 67: Designing Health into Everyday Life | St...
Is the everyday world making us sick? Can we hold companies responsibility for the health consequences of their products and services? How do you design health into the operating systems of our civilization?
41 min
EP 66: Designing Products of the Future | Allan...
What does design even mean? How can you decrease the number of meetings in your schedule? What is one of the smartest ways to make sustainable change?
55 min
EP 65: Designing Strategic Innovation | Kevin B...
How does design transform organizations? Why does diversity fuel innovation? What happens when you let curiosity guide you?
38 min
EP 64: Designing for Fun | Catherine Price
Bon and Catherine talk about fun magnets, minimizing flow disruptors and microdosing fun into our daily lives.
38 min
EP 63: Designing on the Front Lines, Part 1 | B...
This is a special 3 part virtual talk in partnership with Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum and the Health Design Lab at Thomas Jefferson University.
54 min
EP 62: Designing Motherhood, Part 2 | Michelle ...
Did you know that a graphic designer created the first over-the-counter pregnancy test? How did giving birth become medicalized? What does culturally appropriate care look like?
47 min
EP 61: Designing Motherhood, Part 1 | Zoe Gregg...
Why have the designs of motherhood remained hidden? What can we learn from the design history of pessaries? How can we expand the definition of motherhood?
43 min
Introducing: Design Lab with Bon Ku
We tell stories about how the worlds of design, art, science and health intersect!
1 min
Ep 60: Designing Creative Responses to Epidemic...
How do diseases shape design? What does a low cost prototype look like? Where can you view the face masks that Naomi Osaka wore during the U.S. Open?
39 min
EP 59: Designing Peer-to-Peer Health | Susannah...
How can peer to peer connection make a healthier society? Can Amazon reviews give us fresh insight into our health? Why do on-line patient communities represent an incredible untapped resource in healthcare? How can a co-designed death give us a fuller life?
51 min
EP 58: Designing Healthier Schools | Dina Sorensen
Bon and Dina talk about how can we leverage the built environment to unlock our potential and what happens when scientists, architects and public health experts work together.
38 min
EP 57: Designing for Scale | Doug Powell
Bon and Doug talk about the superpower of designers, why healthcare needs designers and how to create the conditions for designers to thrive.
35 min
EP 56: Designing Cures Faster | Michelle Longmire
Bon and Michelle talk about redesigning clinical trials, health equity in clinical trial diversity and the importance of the creative process in scientific discovery.
40 min
EP 55: Designing for Labor and Delivery | Jules...
Bon and Jules talk about creating safe spaces in hospitals for sharing needs, making labor and delivery safer and why healthcare is incredibly creative.
40 min
EP 54: Designing for Inclusivity | Grace Jun
Bon and Grace talk about co-design, the definition of inclusivity and why accessible design is better design.
36 min
EP 53: Designing Beauty in Hospitals, Part 2 | ...
Bon and Michael geeked out about design and health for so long that we had to split the conversation into two episodes. They talk about the evolution of the modern hospital, creating buildings that breathe, bringing beauty into healthcare and so much more.
33 min
EP 52: Designing Beauty in Hospitals, Part 1 | ...
Bon and Michael geeked out about design and health for so long that we had to split the conversation into two episodes. They talk about the evolution of the modern hospital, creating buildings that breathe, bringing beauty into healthcare and so much more.
41 min
EP 51: Designing Medical Technology for Everyon...
Bon and Krista talk about what’s next in design for global health, designing for serviceability and putting the patient at the center of care.
41 min
EP 50: Designing Healthier Places at Scale | Ma...
Bon and Matt talk about how the built environment is a modifiable risk factor for health, public health experts as design thinkers, and why creativity will win over time.
43 min
EP 49: Designing Decolonization | Dori Tunstall
Bon talks with Dori about her journey from anthropology to design, role of design in new technologies and how we can decolonize design.
46 min
EP 48: Designing a DIY Artificial Pancreas | Da...
Bon talks with Dana about why she designed an “artificial pancreas”, patients as the experts, and how we can reduce stigma among people living with chronic diseases.
50 min
EP 47: Designing Vaccine Equity | Aika Matemu a...
Bon talks with the Dalberg Design team (Aika, Pragya, Joy and Mihret) about designers as global health storytellers, the need for creativity in global health and the challenges of social media misinformation.
41 min
EP 46: Designing Healthcare Payment Equity | Jo...
Bon and Josh talk about behavioral architecture, redesigning the healthcare payment system and the jump from Jacobean drama to Medicine.
39 min
EP 45: Designing for Inclusivity | Pinar Guvenc
Bon and Pinar talk about why inclusive design is better design, diagnostic ideation, and the broadening definition of health.
39 min
EP 44: Designing Stories as a Physician and Scr...
Bon and Sethi talk about the parallels between screenwriting and medicine, writing as an act of empathy, and the art of storytelling.
32 min
EP 43: Designing Acute Care | Monique Smith
Bon and Monique chat about the importance of understanding people’s lived experiences, health equity, and approaching problems in healthcare through a design lens.
40 min
EP 42: Designing Your Immune System | Wendy Sue...
Bon and Wendy talk about how we can design our immune system by introducing diverse foods, using social media for public health and the role of creativity in medicine.
47 min
EP 41: Designing Solutions in Global Health | D...
Bon and Daniel talk about reducing mortality in non-communicable diseases in India, the journey from Silicon Valley to Global Health and why everyone needs a design mindset.
48 min
EP 40: Designing Open Source Healthcare | Juhan...
Bon and Juhan talk about open source healthcare, the need for a longitudinal health record for patients, and why Juhan shared his own genome publicly.
43 min
EP 39: Designing Cities | Inga Saffron
Bon asks Inga about her journey in becoming an architecture critic, transforming public spaces through design and why diseases are the most powerful architects.
36 min
EP 38: Designing Childbirth | Neel Shah
Bon and Neel talk about why so many women in the U.S. die in childbirth, affirming dignity in healthcare, and Neel’s mission on redesigning childbirth.
40 min
EP 37: Designing Equitable Health Environments ...
Bon and Kati talk about the psychology of indoor spaces, the function of healthcare spaces and the relationship between nature and healthcare outcomes.
42 min
EP 36: Designing to Improve Life for People | R...
Bon and Ramna talk about inclusive design, the magic of designers working in healthcare and how Indian classical music served as a training ground for a career in design.
40 min
EP 35: Designing for Patients and Caregivers | ...
Bon and Deborah talk about the legendary designer Milton Glaser, redesigning the pill bottle and how to design more confidence for patients and caregivers.
42 min
EP 34: Designing Urgent Care | Richard Park
Bon and Rich talk about starting one of the largest urgent care chains in the U.S., investing in vulnerable populations and how running a one-hour photo store helped Rich develop the skill set to be a healthcare entrepreneur.
43 min
EP 33: Designing Cures | David Fajgenbaum
Bon and David talk about redesigning the current approach to pharmaceutical treatment of diseases, crowdsourcing in healthcare and why patients can’t wait for miracles.
42 min
EP 32: Designing Sound Baths | Sara Auster
Sara Auster is a sound therapist, meditation teacher and author. She has spent the past decade introducing sound baths to audiences and unique environments all across the globe.
40 min
EP 31: Designing for Social Change | Penina Aca...
Bon and Penina discuss learning to design for the true needs of people, bringing design education to youth in Uganda and the value of design in healthcare.
42 min
EP 30: Designing Healthcare Spaces | Abbie Clary
Bon and Abbie talk about healthcare architecture, the impact of Covid-19 on the future design of hospitals and improving the patient experience through the built environment.
42 min
Ep 29: Designing Transparency in Healthcare | L...
Bon and Liz talk about patients co-designing research, having immediate access to our own medical records and the need for a chief patient information officer.
56 min
EP 28: Creating Future Designers in Africa | Gu...
Bon and Guidione talk about creating the future of design in Africa, organizing a global design conference and life in Mozambique.
30 min
EP 27: Designing Patient Health Stories | Katie...
Bon and Katie talk about designing visual health histories, why hospitals should hire designers and improving communication between patients and healthcare professionals.
56 min
EP 26: Designing Relationships in Healthcare | ...
Bon and Larry talk about flattening hierarchies, creating safe spaces in healthcare, co-designing with patients and embracing curiosity in the culture of Medicine.
44 min
EP 25: Design as a Human Right | Mokena Makeka
Bon and Mokena talk about design as a human right, how hip hop culture informed Mokena’s architectural philosophy and understanding people through the environments they create.
60 min
EP 24: Designing for Global Health | Michael Ngigi
Bon and Michael talk about his incredible journey from living on the streets of Nairobi to becoming a designer, incorporating design in public health projects and throwing our biases out the window.
45 min
EP 23: Designing for Justice | Antionette Carroll
Bon and Antionette talk about what it means to be a redesigner for justice, the relationship between health and equity, and her journey in design.
45 min
EP 22: Redesigning Happy Hour | Ben Branson
Bon and Ben talk about tackling the public health challenge of excessive alcohol consumption, normalizing the choice not to drink alcohol and how peas can be turned into a delicious cocktail.
54 min
EP 21: Designing Equitable Places | Katherine D...
Bon and Katherine talk about the role of architecture in improving public health, repurposed buses acting as mobile produce markets and redefining public spaces.
48 min
EP 20: Designing Behavior | Kathleen Brandenburg
Kathleen and I talk about designing for behavior, how research is creative and bringing joy into healthcare.
48 min
EP 19: Designing a Patient Revolution | Maggie ...
Bon talks with Maggie and Victor about the language of care, industrialized health care and why they started The Patient Revolution.
46 min
EP 18: Designing a User Friendly World | Cliff ...
Bon and Cliff talk about how Three Mile Island was the worst design fail in U.S. history, feedback loops and why most unsexy wicked problems actually demand the most talented designers.
45 min
EP 17: Trauma Responsive Design | Rachael Dietkus
Bon and Rachael talk about how design and social work fit together, why designers should think more like social workers and about the journey of developing the field of trauma responsive design.
40 min
EP 16: Health in All Design | Andrew Ibrahim
Bon and Andrew talk about health in all design, failures in medicine, and so much more.
45 min
EP 15: Designing the Great Indoors | Emily Anthes
Emily and Bon talk about the design of modern hospitals, evidenced-based design and tips on creating healthier indoor spaces.
37 min
EP 14: Jam Session featuring Mike Natter
In this fun meandering conversation, our producer Rob Pugliese asks Bon and Mike about their holiday plans, TikTok, quarantine puppies, Jeopardy, reducing pandemic stress and so much more.
47 min
EP 13: The Practice of Design in Health Care | ...
Bon chats with Miya and Tina about how design can make healthcare more human-centered, the challenges of explaining the job of a designer to their Asian parents, and why all clinical teams need designers.
44 min
EP 12: Designing through Storytelling | Emily S...
Bon and Emily talk about tips to become better storytellers, fiercely protecting time for creativity, and challenging the status quo in healthcare to make room for humanity.
38 min
EP 11: Emancipatory Design | Lesley-Ann Noel
Bon and Lesley talk about conducting design research during a pandemic, confronting biases through emancipatory design, and the challenges Lesley has faced being a black female designer.
39 min
EP 10: Designing Death | BJ Miller
Discover how you can live a fuller and more meaningful life by redefining your understanding of death.
39 min
EP 9: Spatial Justice | Craig Wilkins
In this episode, Bon and Craig talk about hip hop architecture, urban acupuncture and spatial justice.
57 min
EP 8: Designing with Data | Giorgia Lupi
Learn about Giorgia’s stunning data visualizations and why you should create your own personal data diary.
39 min
EP 7: Technology and Design | John Maeda
Bon and John talk about computational design, John shares some sage tips on creativity, and they both make way too many Star Wars references.
42 min
EP 6: Food as Medicine | Nicole Marquis
Challenge your misconceptions about a plant-based diet and get inspired to redesign your pantry.
42 min
EP 5: Designing for Equity | George Aye
Bon and George talk about how “gut checks” can inform our everyday decisions, their Asian identities, George’s journey to becoming a designer and why Bon was ashamed of the smell of kimchi.
39 min
EP 4: The Power of Making | Emily Pilloton
Bon and Emily talk about the power of making and you will be inspired to use your own hands to shape the world around you.
36 min
EP 3: Art, Storytelling & Medicine | Mike Natter
In his conversation with Bon, Mike shares how art helps him both as a doctor and a patient living with diabetes, embracing a creative mindset and being trolled on Instagram.
30 min
EP 2: Designing for Mental Health | Nzinga Harr...
Bon and Dr. Harrison discuss the stigma around mental health, redesigning our lives for better brain health and Bon’s unhealthy addiction to surfing.
41 min
EP 1: Sharing the Power of Design | Ellen Lupton
Bon and Ellen discuss DIY design, why healthcare needs design and how each one of us can become more creative.
34 min