Timeline: April 2018 – December 2018
Client: Specialty Biochemistry Lab, London Health Sciences Centre
Project Team: Ryan Voisin, Rachel Hofstetter, Nicole Francouer

Change is hard and unsettling. Whether it’s an organizational change or a physical space change, staff may feel anxious. So, how might you involve your employees in the process to help make the transformation easier?

With an upcoming move to a new laboratory, leadership in the Specialty Biochemistry Unit at the London Health Science Centre (LHSC) saw the move as an opportunity to redesign and restructure team workflows, leadership and reporting structures, and processes for collaboration and project management. To do this, they needed a partner that could engage and support their staff in planning and preparing for this transformation.


“We are going through a period of change and the amount of redesign is significant.”

Due to a variety of different factors, including the need to introduce new equipment, updates to organization strategy, and funding changes in healthcare, LHSC planned to restructure the unit—which included a physical move for some teams. This would involve merging and re-imagining six laboratories to increase efficiencies, while maintaining quality of care and ensuring the unit functioned effectively within the context of the wider organization.


Using an Innovation Lab model, Overlap worked on-site with the Speciality Biochemistry Leadership Team on a bi-weekly basis. Through these gatherings, lab staff helped to plan, design, and prototype solutions for working together in the new space. The team began by co-creating a vision and defining values to guide decision-making during the project. Then, to establish a baseline and help measure the impacts of the change, the leadership team and lab staff completed an assessment to surface an understanding of the climate for innovation in their immediate working environment. A series of on-going workshops with staff helped them plan for the move. These workshops engaged staff in co-creating ideas and strategies for managing the change, while simultaneously providing staff with tools for communication, idea generation, and the feedback that they could continue to use in their day-to-day. In the workshops, teams developed solutions that were tailored to their specific needs and championed from within. To embed learnings over the long term, team members were given practical applications within their existing responsibilities that encouraged them to go out and practice their newly acquired skills and tools.

Some of the activities included:

  • Deepening their understanding of the move
  • Assessing the risk and mitigation strategies
  • Redesigning bench responsibilities
  • Prioritizing considerations for cross training

Throughout the project, Overlap delivered Agile training to the PaLM department and used the Agile process and methodologies with leadership to manage organization transformation and ongoing work. Overlap also provided senior leaders and staff with small group and individual coaching. The coaching covered topics like increasing self awareness of preferred conflict and communication styles, improving collaboration, giving and receiving feedback, and leading effective meetings.


“There is more clarity now. There is a short-term plan and a long-term plan.”

Increased staff readiness and staff buy-in to the change
Staff were involved in building short and long-term plans for managing the change, and are prepared to put those plans in motion.

Adoption of Agile within and beyond the Unit
Overlap provided training to the Core Lab (a similar unit to Specialty Biochemistry) upon request, which has now also adopted the approach. Because we used a train-the-trainer approach, adoption of Agile methods continue to spread.

Clear strategies for Unit priorities
These strategies— such as cross training, bench responsibilities, and increasing staff readiness for the move—were created with input from all stakeholders and have undergone successive rounds of feedback. 

Increased capacity for human-centred design
The Specialty Biochemistry Unit built capacity to think differently and design innovative solutions for complex challenges that considered all staff impacted by the move —from the front-line to senior-level management. This allowed the team to develop solutions that were custom tailored to their specific needs and championed from within. The team was equipped with a suite of Human-Centred Design tools and processes, along with other innovative practices, to inspire possibility, action, and momentum.

Improved culture of innovation
Staff have more idea time, see how they can contribute to the bigger picture, and have greater ability to communicate, collaborate and manage conflict across the Unit.


Over the course of the Innovation Lab, the Specialty Biochemistry Unit made significant progress on preparing for its space transformation using Human-Centred Design. This approach supported the team to make thoughtful decisions based on the lived experience of staff most impacted by this change. Further, team dynamics and communication were strengthened as staff began rehearsing for life after the move. A successful move will take this Unit one step closer to meeting its vision to be a “cornerstone of the patient journey, uniting teams in the pursuit of transformational knowledge, quality improvement and healthcare excellence.”

“It was really interesting to hear the prototypes for redesigning responsibilities and to think about a plan forward based on which ones will have the greatest impact.”
– LHSC Specialty Biochemistry Unit Innovation Lab Participant