DATE: May 2018 - February 2022
The Proximie content is under NDA. Design work can be presented on a call.
Promotional video showing the Proximie platform in action. (below)
Proximie is a real-time video collaboration tool for surgeons. It allows for up to 4 camera feeds to be shared simultaneously from within the operating theatre. Remote participants can then interact with the surgeon in the operating theatre using several tools like the augmented reality hand, which displays a remote participant’s hand over the surgeon’s video field, allowing them to point out intricacies within the surgical area. Annotation of the field by participants also means that they can draw on top of the video, or even bring in 3D files or CT Scans (DICOM images) and manipulate those over the surgical field. Other features include live chat and the ability for surgeons to control what the audience is looking at, which is particularly valuable in a teaching setting. This is the primary user flow, but there is also a dashboard for scheduling surgical sessions and a library comprised of recordings from live sessions with the ability to play them back and toggle between screens. Social aspects like “liking”, commenting, and sharing drives engagement. User and organisation administration also form part of the platform.
Working on the product from the early stages allowed me to drive the brand and product forward at a pace. With the product team not fully formed yet, I could take the reins and shape the development. I first led the design for a complete rebuild, then took on the product manger role to bring about this change, working closely with the engineering and infrastructure teams. My work, first as a lead designer then as product manager, took a user-centric approach, focussing on the highest value features and quick wins to make the product commercially viable in a short period. I engaged end-users and used data to inform feature priority and the design. I also worked with marketing, to evolve the brand and marketing messages. It has been a great experience to see my vision realised and fulfilling Proximie’s mission of “Saving Lives by Sharing the Worlds Best Clinical Practise”. A validation of my contribution was the series B raise of $38m. I was the product owner and lead designer leading up to the raise and instrumental in making it commercially viable. It has been an incredible journey, and seeing the impact the product has made has been incredibly rewarding.
2. PROJECT and team GOALS
The product goals and vision have been ever-evolving over the last almost four years of working at Proximie. When I received my first demo of the first version of the platform, I immediately noticed a lot going on. The interface was cluttered, allowing little space for the video, and given the primary use case, a clear view of the video was paramount. I decided to do a heuristic evaluation, then started confirming my assumptions with users. Goal setting has always been part of the journey. As design lead, my first goals were to streamline the product, align the teams, and focus clearly on what matters.
I wanted to bring the brand and product into a cohesive commercial offering. My next goal was to offer more value to end-users. I consulted with stakeholders and power users to prioritise high-value editions to the platform. As the company has grown by 900%, goals have included closing gaps between teams, championing research and testing, portraying a longer-term design vision, and hiring a world-class design team. I empower my team to shape team rituals and processes and help them grow and progress along their career path to have a happy, and motivated team with a clear design vision.
3. THE TEAM
Proximie has grown at an unbelievable pace, with new additions every week. When I started, we were three individuals in the UK with an offshore team of about 10. The team is currently over140 people. Proximie has scaled incredibly with US, UK, META, and APAC teams. Given the nature of an early-stage startup, I’ve had to wear many hats since I joined, assisting many teams, but my primary focus has always been on the product. As the team grew, I nurtured relationships, keeping my door open to our hospital implementation teams and the commercial units, as they were closest to the end-users and customers. Next came bridging the gap by aligning senior stakeholder expectations to my product and design vision.
I’m incredibly passionate about growing and mentoring my design team, and I’ve hired some phenomenal talent. Given that I’ve been in the design domain for two decades, I can assemble a team around strengths and opportunities focusing on cognitive diversity. I find it incredibly rewarding to make space for junior talent to join and stimulate and mentor them to grow. I have a close relationship with my direct team through weekly one-on-ones and monthly career development discussions. I also encourage weekly team-building exercises where individuals choose a locale for our alignment and strategy meetings. We all have lunch together and go on a field trip to a surgery museum or exhibition. I’ve found this to have strengthened the relationships between team members considerably, especially the new starters. I managed recruitment and screened and interviewed the design team before we had anyone in HR. I have a knack for knowing who will work well together, and I’m able to assemble teams that support one another, not only in terms of personality and culture fit but also in terms of skillsets. I recognise the strength of and champion for team diversity.
4. MY ROLE
Lead Designer / Researcher
As the company expanded and the headcount grew, my role also evolved. I joined Proximie because I saw potential and knew I could make a substantial positive impact. Initially, most of my time went into research and gaining a deep understanding of the medical domain, the clients and surgical workflows. I then sketched and wire-framed various future ideas and used this vision to guide the design strategy and product vision. I worked as a lead product designer across web, iOS and Android apps. Another aspect of my role was defining the visual language. I put a design system in place, using the anatomical design approach that allowed for rapid high fidelity prototyping and handover to the engineering team. This ensured a consistent experience across product touch-points. We employed design thinking methodologies to establish various design options and then weigh them up in value and feasibility regarding new features and opportunities. In this fashion, I’ve devised user-focussed, creative and resourceful solutions. I also believe strongly in data driven design, not only via quantitive measures but especially on the qualitative side of things. I love talking to people and conducting ethnographic research. This always uncovers valuable insights on which to base design solutions.
As a product manager, I’ve always championed the user. I even went as far as inviting users to retrospectives, thereby closing the gap between engineering and those saving lives. This gave a first-hand account of the positive impact new features were having on surgical workflow. Garnering this empathy towards end-users enhanced the engineering teams’ output quality, with them taking a user-first approach to the implementation.
I involved stakeholders in the discovery journey and kept them informed with regular roadmap updates, design reviews and pre-release notes.
Head of Design
I thoroughly enjoyed being the product manager for two years and then progressed to a Head of Product Design role as the team grew. I know that creating a safe space for experimentation is essential. Alberto Alessi remarked, “Dance on the borderline between success and disaster. Because that’s where your next big breakthrough will come from.” A team can’t dance in this innovation space if they aren’t free to experiment. Given the norm in the surgical field, mistakes are not tolerated, which is in stark contrast to what promotes innovation. I, therefore, had to create this space and guard it. I promoted building prototypes and ensured these were thoroughly tested, first with the in-house commercial teams, and then with the end user before it gets put on the engineering assembly line. That said, I also kept engineering close, with leads sitting in on tests and demos for them to discover feasibility issues early on. I celebrated our many achievements with the team. When we achieved a notable release, I arranged for a cake to be secretly delivered to the offshore teams. We called out any exceptional teamwork, gave the team a voice and helped them build up confidence by celebrating their strengths and helping to coach them in order to strengthen their skill-set. I created a vision for the team and culture and recognised and celebrated everyone’s value. People are what make companies, not features or processes. I feel strongly about nurturing a positive and fear-free culture and creating a positive impact and making those around me shine.
Proximie promotional video showing ‘The Pursuit of Excellence’. (below)