Innovating and Creating: A TechShop at Independence Blue Cross

On November 3rd, TechGirlz had the opportunity to go to the Independence Blue Cross Center for Health Care Innovation. The Center is an open space full of bright colors, inspiring quotes, and dry erase walls. Independence Blue Cross is using innovation to stay on top of trends in health care, and the center is a place for Independence associates to learn about innovation and to explore ideas to solve business problems.

While at the center, the TechGirlz met four women who work in technology-related roles throughout Independence:

1. Kim Siejak: Director of Customer Information in Informatics

2. Kendal Wilkins: Senior eBusiness Analyst in Mobile Development

3. Laura Barnes: Business Systems Analyst in Vendor Management

4. Meg Russell: Information Systems Planning Coordinator in Business Technology Solutions

The women shared their paths into their current roles, and how they use technology every day. All four women did not pursue a technology-related field right out of high school, but technology is important in each of their jobs. They emphasized that there are so many ways to incorporate technology into your career and work.

Then Michelle divided the group into two teams for a design challenge. The girls were asked to think about the question: How might we increase wellness in teens through nutrition and exercise? The first step was to gain customer insights. The girls needed to learn about the people they were building a solution for – each other! They used primary sources, such as interviews with other attendees, and secondary sources, like the internet to gain insights related to the challenge. Some questions they asked each other were 1) What do you like to eat? 2) What do you like to do? and 3) Why?

Here is what they found out:


It was then time to come up with ideas! The teams used a technique called storyboarding. They put one idea on each page, wrote a title for the idea at the top, included a written description, and drew a picture of the idea. The teams picked one idea to develop further and prototype. One team worked on a card game for kids and parents to play together to increase exercise as well as a card game for teens to play with other teens related to diet and exercise. The other team brainstormed about a machine that would make vegetables taste better and reward healthy behaviors. The second team drew out their ideas on the dry-erase walls at the Center for Health Care Innovation.

Both teams came up with fantastic ideas and had a great time!

Written by TechGirlz volunteer Becca Nock.