Design Thinking Strategies Improves Tolerance

Home / Design Thinking Strategies Improves Tolerance

“I love the combination of OT knowledge and realistic design. I was able to find and ultimately change a part of my life that I have been wanting to but in a positive manner. The tree model helped me discover and evolve aspects of my relationships.”

Health Care Professional, Erin H.

Implementing design-thinking strategies including: work role perspective, response to people, responses to environment.


Workplace Observations identified disorganized work space, detached use of work equipment and resources, no leisure or ‘break’ space available.

Observations of Employee identified poor time management skills, three co-dependent behaviors, demanding life partner

Following a verbal and physical assessment the individual was identified as incompetent in occupational justice.

The term occupational justice is key to being tolerant and self-aware because it “recognizes occupational (activity) rights to inclusive participation in everyday occupations for all persons in society, regardless of age, ability, gender, social class, or other differences” (Nilsson and Townsend, 2010).   It branches into three categories: occupational competence involves a process of working together; occupational imbalance occurs when overwhelmed or underwhelmed with work; and, occupational deprivation is lacking participation in a meaningful occupation.



WholeBeSM Performance process initiated our Design Sensibility method for interpreting work role elements. Facilitated awareness of occupational imbalance within time and organizational elements then selection of techniques, existing office products and free software to implement in daily activities. Facilitated awareness of occupational deprivation by referencing contextual elements including work history relationship to mental health needs. Assessment score improved by 65% in first 90 days with reports of job satisfaction.


GIG Coach facilitated awareness of occupational competence directly effecting organizational and time-management outcomes. Accountability partner and community group improved ability to self-advocate towards set goals, creating a foundation of interdependent relationships. Identified behaviors enabling life partner’s effect on work role and ability to meet deadlines. Reported reduced stress due to increase tolerance of diverse peer and partner behaviors.


Lack of brief leisure or periods of rest increased occupational imbalance creating feeling overwhelmed. Three spaces within the work building and four outside of the building were identified as a ‘break space’.  In consideration of peers a questionnaire was created then managed to improve occupational competence. Peers collaborated with agreeable amenities and furnishings within the selected spaces. The work place benefited from a break space prompting an interdependency in teamwork.

Nilsson, I., & Townsend, E. (2010). Occupational justice— Bridging theory and practice. Scandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 17,  57–63. http://dx.doi. org/10.3109/11038120903287182