Simon Mawer

Simon Mawer, LLB

2016 was a big year for the Innovence Lab!


The Risk Authority Stanford’s (TRA) Innovence Lab is a collaborative center of thought innovation that combines the one-two punch of design thinking and improvement science – the first of its kind in the field of risk management. We’re pairing the ethnographic, generative process of design thinking with the evaluative rigor of data-driven approaches. Applying the strengths of both qualitative and quantitative problem-solving methods to innovation creates a comprehensive approach to identifying, prioritizing, and generating high quality, human-centered solutions for patients and providers.

TRA’s vision for Innovence Lab is to create a space and dedicated resources that strive towards perfect clinical care with zero preventable harm. We will achieve this vision by providing tools, expertise, and spaces for connection and collaboration among our clients’ medical institutions and beyond. The Innovence Lab is where medical safety and risk management ideas can grow and evolve, where pioneers across multiple disciplines can gather to collaborate and expand on traditional methods.


Goal: Eliminate medication administration errors through Design Thinking

Drawing from the data analyzed by TRA’s Innovence Pulse Risk Identification software, we began the year with an audacious goal: Eliminate medication administration errors. This has been a space of much focus and attention. Our hypothesis was that using Design Thinking, we would stumble upon new, uniquely effective ideas for addressing the underlying drivers of medication administration risks. In Design Thinking, we say that the best ideas are those that are inspired by the users and context for which they are designed.

One area we looked at was bedside administration errors in the acute care units of one of our client’s hospitals.  After spending time observing, listening, and building empathy with the nurses and patients on the units, it became clear that interruptions in the process of administering meds was a major driver of risk.  Through a series of design workshops, we engaged nurses in identifying specific opportunities for improvement, facilitated several idea-generation sessions, and then helped the nurses build and test prototypes the most promising ideas on the unit. tra-medstime

After many rapid iterations, what emerged was a concept we call “MedsTime.” MedsTime is an ecosystem of communication tools designed to mitigate risk and improve care by engaging patients and families as partners in the process of medication administration.

“All this time I have been interrupting the nurses–I had no idea. Knowing what is important about safety makes me feel in control.” – Patient’s Mother


Our early prototype showed great promise, indicating a 55% reduction in perceived medication interruptions.  

“These concepts could save lives.” – Nurse


Another encouraging data point was nurses’ feedback on using our Design Thinking approach to address this important patient safety issue: 100% said they were more likely to volunteer to be involved in future improvement efforts because of this project!  We are now preparing for unit-wide implementation of MedsTime, after which we expect to launch house-wide.

“This is precisely the work we need to be doing. What can I do to support?” – Senior Nurse


The Innovence Lab also applied its methodology in several U.S. hospitals for redesigning their improvement programs and implementing Communication and Resolution Programs. We also hosted several strategic business development workshops in Philadelphia, Austin, Liverpool, London, and Chicago – demonstrating how Design Thinking can be applied to addressing healthcare risk, safety, and organizational challenges.

In 2017, we are gearing up to continue our work in the medication safety space, and to launch into a new area of focus: patient-provider communication in high-risk surgical specialties.  We are excited!


 By: Simon Mawer, LLB

Simon Mawer is the Assistant Vice President of Risk Management for The Risk Authority Stanford as well as Program Manager of Risk Management Loss Controls and Education for Stanford Health Care and Stanford Children’s Health.

With a unique background in litigation, design thinking and decision science, Simon is a strategic planning and execution expert. His ability to conceptualize, to drill down and to provide empathetic insights is what allows him to innovate in the healthcare space. He serves as the design lead for the newly established Innovence™ Lab, where he leads interdisciplinary frontline teams from across the Stanford ecosystem to work on patient safety challenges with the tools of human-centered design.

Prior joining TRA Stanford, Simon practiced as a solicitor in personal injury and commercial litigation in Australia and Europe. He received his Bachelor of Laws and Graduate Certificate of Legal Practice from the University of Technology, Sydney, and is admitted as a lawyer to the Supreme Court of New South Wales. Simon also holds a Certificate in Strategic Decisions and Risk Management from Stanford University.