IQ Cards

IQ Cards

Innovation Quick Cards (aka iQcards)

Here are some quick reference cards on different approaches to innovation plus key concepts.

 Principles of Influence

    • Reciprocation: People tend to feel indebted by gifts, favors, or concessions (taking a free sample at the grocery makes people feel like they should at least listen to the sales person’s pitch)
    • Authority: People tend to feel a sense of duty or obligation to comply with requests from people in positions of authority (or perceived positions of authority) (in a supermarket, a person will likely change lines when asked to do so by a cashier)
    • Social Proof: In times of uncertainty, people tend to do what others similar to them do (in traffic, people feel compelled to merge when everyone else is doing so, even if they don’t readily see a reason why)
    • Scarcity: Desire tends to increase when availability is limited (when displaying prices for airline tickets, companies will state “1 ticket left at this price”)
    • Liking: People tend to be influenced by people who are similar to themselves and by people whom they like or are attracted to (Michael Jordan endorsing Wheaties cereal causes people to buy Wheaties)
    • Commitment and Consistency: People feel compelled to remain consistent with opinions or behaviors they have committed to prior (for a fund raiser, before the event takes place, people are asked to sign a pledge committing their support, which increases the likelihood of them giving money at a later time)
Science and Practice. Cialdini, 1984 Read the book Influence by Cialdini and see other MI2 Recommended Reads. Download & print this iQcard: Influence

Concepts in Human Factors

    • Affordance: Perceived and actual properties of a thing, which provide clues for how to operate it (flip a switch, pull a cord, turn a knob)
    • Feedback (Closing the loop): The mechanism by which a system provides information back to the user about the current state of the system (when calling an automated system, getting a recorded message indicating how long the wait time is)
    • Post Completion Error: Forgetting the last step in a process or task because the main goal of the task has been completed (forgetting to get the original out of the copy machine after making a copy) Download and print this iQcard: HF_Concepts  

Introduction to Complex Systems:

How science can help us lead organizations better

  • Sensitive Dependence on Initial Conditions, Nonlinearity: Forecasting is inherently an inexact (yet boundable) art, because small changes can have big effects. (Where might we be better off with a “good enough” plan that we can monitor and adjust along the way, to replace paralysis of over-analysis?)
  • Self-organization, Emergence: Complex and orderly outcomes can emerge from a few simple rules, even without central control. (Where might we replace over-planning, over-control and top-down prescription with simple rules, feedback loops and reasonable freedoms?)
  • Coupling, Permeable Boundaries, Embeddedness: Relationships among parts may be more important than the parts themselves, because novelty often arises at intersections. (Do our organizational and partnership structures, processes and patterns support generative relationships where new ideas emerge, or are we in too rigid silos not sharing enough among ourselves and with others outside “our system”?)
  • Adaptability, Novelty: Life can proceed forward through constant tension and balance, because the system is adaptable. (Where might we need to “let go” in order to allow “creative destruction” and its potential for adaptive new growth to emerge?)
Plsek, 2013 Download and print this iQcard: Intro_Complexity

Eight Basic Rules for DirectedCreativity™

  1. Make it a habit to purposefully pause and notice things.
  2. Focus your creative energies on just a few topic areas that you genuinely care about and work on these purposefully for several weeks or months.
  3. Avoid being too narrow in the way you define your problem or topic area; purposefully try broader definitions and see what insights you gain.
  4. Try to come up with original and useful ideas by making novel associations among what you already know.
  5. When you need creative ideas, remember: attention, escape, and movement.
  6. Pause and carefully examine ideas that make you laugh the first time you hear them.
  7. Recognize that your streams of thought and patterns of judgment are not inherently right or wrong; they are just what you think now, based primarily on patterns from your past.
  8. Make a deliberate effort to harvest, develop, and implement at least a few of the ideas you generate.

When you need creative ideas, remember: attention, escape, and movement.

This heuristic directs our basic mental mechanics. These three mental activities underlie all tools for DirectedCreativity™. When you need to be creative, pay attention to things in new ways, escape your current mental patterns associated with the topic, and keep moving in your thinking to avoid premature judgment and the “way we've always done it” thinking. Plsek, 1997 Download and print this iQcard: DirectedCreativity

 Strategies to Better Handle Interruptions



  1. If you have an “interruption lag,” the time before the interruption task, take the time to think about where you are on your primary task to facilitate resumption.
  2. During the interruption lag or the interruption task itself, try to establish an environmental cue (e.g. open an email window to remember to send an email) to associate with your primary task goal.When you resume, this cue will help you recall the primary task.
  3. The “resumption lag” is the time it takes you to re-orient to your primary task and is the point where most errors are likely to occur. Take a minute to reconstruct the primary task steps before resuming.
Ratwani & Trafton, 2010 Download and print this iQcard: Interruptions

Click to download and print your own MI2 iQcards: MI2_Download_All_iQcards

3 Steps to Giving High-Impact Compliments

  1. State the compliment sincerely
  2. Justify it
  3. Ask a question about it
Example: “That was a really enlightening talk you just gave. I say that because the audience couldn’t stop taking notes as you spoke… How were you able to make sense out of such a complex topic?” Tori, 2013 Download and print this iQcard: Compliment

Evolution of a person's reaction to a new idea

  • Indignant rejection
  • Reasoned objection
  • Qualified opposition
  • Tentative acceptance
  • Qualified endorsement
  • Judicious modification
  • Cautious adoption
  • Impassioned espousal
  • Proud parenthood
  • Dogmatic propagation
HK Silver, 1965 Download and print this iQcard: Idea

Brain Tai Chi


The Leaning Tower Illusion

Looking at the two pictures above you'll notice that the tower on the right appears to lean more. However, if you take a closer look at the two pictures you might realize that they're the exact same photo. Why does the tower on the right seem to lean more than the tower on the left? The illusion occurs because our visual system processes the two pictures as part of one scene, and our wired brains cause us to perceive the two structures in a way that has been most helpful to make sense of the world. The Leaning Tower of Pisa illusion is a strikingly simple yet favorite example, which was a past winner of the Best Illusion of the Year contest. Nonetheless, you can easily simulate this illusion when viewing side by side identical angled structures. And just in case you’re wondering, the above photo was taken by an MI2er (who didn’t travel to Pisa just for this illusion photo op), but indeed the illusion is easily replicated from any perspective. To see the original photo that won the Best Illusion of the Year contest, click here. To read further about the science behind this visual illusion, click here.

Pisa pic 1

Einstein's Watching You

MI2 Einstein Illusion


The first thing you'll notice when entering the front doors of our MI2 offices is a bust of Albert Einstein...who has a bit of a staring problem. Einstein's eyes and head will turn as you walk around the room - nothing can escape his gaze! And, no, there are no robotics involved.

The  picture of Einstein's face is actually concave - the face is inverted and protrudes away from you.

The figure shown to the right is an inverted mask of Einstein's head which causes us to see a 3D face that constantly watches you. How is this possible?  This optical illusion is known as the "hollow face illusion."



10 Fun Brainteasers

Try this first brainteaser:

"Johnny’s mother had three children. The first child was named April. The second child was named May. What was the third child’s name?"

Hint: The answer is not "June." Sometimes the answer is right in front of our eyes, but we just don’t see it. At MI2 we love these types of brainteasers because they cause us to reflect on our tendency to see what we expect to see and ignore the obvious answer. These 10 brainteasers are a great way to warm-up attendees prior to a meeting. They’re fun and you’re bound to get some laughs. Click here to go to the brainteasers. Answer to the brainteaser above: Johnny!

confused panda

Invisible Gorillas

A Gorilla in the Midst

You'd notice if an 800 pound gorilla stood in front of your eyes and waved, right?  If you’re familiar with this classic video, “The Invisible Gorilla,” posted by Simons and Chabris, then you’re familiar with the concept of “inattentional blindness.”

Inattentional blindness occurs when something unexpected is in plain sight yet we fail to notice it… even something as surprising as a hairy gorilla.  This phenomenon is due to the fact that our minds are only able to pay attention to a limited number of stimuli at a time.  When our attention span is maxed out, we often fail to notice the unexpected. Everyone is susceptible to inattentional blindness.  An experiment at Harvard University Medical School found that 83% of radiologists failed to spot a picture of a dancing gorilla superimposed on CT scans. Radiologists thrive on their ability to intensely focus of medical images, however, this experiment demonstrates that the process of focus and filtering out distractions can cause us to miss seeing the unexpected. Now one question remains, did you see the gorilla that walked across your computer screen? (j/k)


Here’s the famous video, “The Invisible Gorilla” 

Checkerboard Illusion

Carefully observe square "A" and square "B" on the checkerboard.  Are the two squares different shades or the same?  They are, in fact, the same shade.



If you’re not convinced that the two squares are exactly the same, proof is provided in the second picture.


Perception Illusions

This illusion actually demonstrates the success of our visual system. Although we’re being fooled by this illusion, our brain is wired to analyze visual information to make the most sense to function.  To assess this image, the brain factors in the effect of shadows on luminance and the sharp edges and contrast among neighboring colors and shades. See more mind-boggling perception illusions.

Download the Think Differently App

So, you’ve got a stubborn problem that seems to have no solution? You’re out of ideas… and need some new ones… but you don’t know where to begin?

The Think Differently app will guide you through a series of exercises to help unstick your stuck-thinking.

The app walks you through five generic phases…

  1. It’s often good to REFRAME the problem. Looking at a problem from a variety of angles opens up new lines of thinking.
  2. Then, with this broader view of the problem, consider who else to ENGAGE as a creative partner. The more people involved in coming up with the idea, the easier it will be to put it into practice.
  3. IDEATE is the heart of thinking differently. Here, the app guides you in novel methods of brainstorming to generate a wide array of ideas.
  4. The next thing to do is to SELECT some of the most promising ideas and develop them further into concrete proposals.
  5. Unfortunately, ideas are just talk. You’ll also need to INFLUENCE others to join you in a critical transition from talk to action.

The App concludes our virtual consult with some advice on ways to test your ideas on a small scale, and in a safe way.

There is no straight-line path to new ideas. While the five phases describe the way it generally goes, expect to backtrack, jump around and maybe wander a bit.

Second, don’t expect to solve a nagging problem that has resisted solution in a single, 15-minute brainstorming session. It will take more effort than that and you’ll need to work through your virtual consult over time.

But… If you just want to start some creative juices flowing for yourself or your team by jazzing up an upcoming meeting, that’s OK too. Go directly to the Toolbox and try a few of the tools in the Reframe and Ideate phases.

We hope you enjoy thinking differently!

The Think Differently app (BETA version) is now available for MedStar Health associates.

Mobile App (iPhone, iPad)

  1. Go to – the new app store for MedStar Health associates.
  2. Tap Download and select Install (Note: in iOS 8 and iOS 9, the app will start installing, but you will still see the download page; tap the device's home button and locate the app icon on your device)
  3. iOS9 Users only: To Run MedStar Health Apps on your device, you must “trust” it first.
    • From the device home screen, go to Settings > General > Profiles.
    • Select MedStar Health, tap Trust, and then tap Trust in the pop up
  4. Open MedStar Health Apps and login with your SiTEL Learning Management System username and password.
  5. Tap on MedStar Now, and then tap Download.
  6. Open MedStar Now and tap Think Differently.

Mobile App (Android)

  1. Go to on your mobile device to install MedStar Health Apps, the new app store for MedStar Health associates.
  2. Tap Download MedStar Health Apps.
  3. Configure your Device. Set your Android device to allow installation from unknown sources by going to Settings > Personal > Security > Device Administration > Unknown sources.
  4. Install the app. Go to your downloads folder using the notification bar or the Downloads app and click on MedStarApps.apk.
  5. Open MedStar Health Apps and login with your SiTEL Learning Management System username and password.
  6. Tap on MedStar Now, and then tap Download.
  7. Repeat Step 4 for the file MedStarNow.apk.
  8. Open MedStar Now and tap Think Differently.

We want your input. Please provide your feedback directly from the app.

Primer on Thinking Differently


Paul Plsek, MedStar Institute for Innovation Innovator-in-Residence, Internationally recognized consultant and author on innovation in healthcare, and developer of the concept of Directed Creativity: Creative Thinking for Serious People™  

Basic Theory and Practical Application

Many incorrectly assume that creative thinking—the ability to think differently—is a special gift, bestowed on only a few. While it is true that we rarely see the extraordinary creativity of an Edison or Einstein, modern findings from the fields of the cognitive sciences indicate that the ability to generate innovative ideas for change in our work is a common “gift” that we all possess. The literature on organizational innovation and creative thought goes back to the 1930's. While the classic literature described methods derived pragmatically over time, more recent research from the fields of psychology and cognitive science has provided underlying principles that give rise to general classes of methods.

 Thinking Differently: Basic Theory

Natural thinking as mental valleys.  To understand how to think differently it is important to understand first how thought proceeds normally. The mind processes language by activating patterns of neurons that unfold a word into a rich set of images and concepts, based on past learning. This is illustrated by Edward de Bono’s [1] mental-valleys model of the mind (see figure). Just as randomly falling rain gets organized into streams at the bottom of valleys through years of erosion, so the mind learns to organize the otherwise random sounds of a spoken word into an associated stream of thought.

mental valleys

This flexible, pattern-matching mechanism is essential in daily life. Not only does it help us engage in conversation, it also enables a good diagnostician to quickly zero-in on a problem based on an initial review of the situation. The diagnostician has seen the pattern before and, therefore, has a good idea of the underlying explanation. The mental mechanism is the same whether we are preparing a budget, running a hospital or just trying to get out of bed in the morning. We use the past experiences stored in our memory as a guide for how to proceed. Thus, when one thinks of a clinic he or she immediately thinks of a physical location, with a receptionist and waiting area, where the medical assistant calls you back into an exam room before you see the provider, and so on. This thinking process occurs with minimal conscious effort and gives rise to the fact that most clinics, and their processes, are quite similar.

Thinking differently involves mental valley exploration.  Thinking differently occurs when we deliberately rise out of the usual mental valley to explore other possibilities. A video consult with a health care provider over the Internet is an innovative idea because it lies outside the current mental valley of the clinic. However, the mental valley of the Internet includes the concept of distant video connections as a normal thing to do. Creative thinking involves connecting the information in these two mental valleys. The connection can be made either purposefully or randomly. The terms mental model, assumption, paradigm, rule, tradition, the way we do things, and so on are roughly equivalent to what de Bono [1] calls a mental valley. The point is to rise out of it and explore other possibilities.

Creative thinking requires attention, escape and movement.  The process of rising out of and exploring other mental valleys in order to come up with new and useful ideas relies on three deliberate mental activities—attention, escape, and movement. [2] We must pay attention to our mental valleys, assumptions and traditions and not allow our thoughts to simply rush forward in the usual way. We must be willing to challenge these and escape, even if only for a few moments in our mind, in order to wonder “what if…?” We must also overcome the self-censoring that would draw us back into comfortable patterns of thought and, instead, move in thinking to create a brainstormed list of ideas and possibilities that arise out of the attention and escape. These three principles, in some sequence and relative emphasis, are the essence of thinking differently and can be recognized as lying behind all methods for creative thinking.

Seven types of change.  The range of what might constitute a new and useful idea, coupled with the endless possibilities that arise out of attention, escape and movement, leads to the observation that the degree of creativity of a given idea lies along a gradient. Author Rolf Smith [3] describes this gradient in his seven types of change (see box). This model can be used to reflect on the output from idea generation, or to deliberately focus a session to stimulate certain classes of ideas.

Seven Types of Change 

(Adapted from Rolf Smith)

1: Doing the right things - Effectiveness, focus and working to priorities

2: Doing things right -  Efficiency, standards and variation reduction

3: Doing things better -  Improving, thinking logically about what we are doing and listening to suggestions

4: Doing away with things -  Cutting, asking “why do we do this?”, simplifying and stopping what really doesn’t matter

5: Doing things that other people are doing -  Observing, copying and seeking out best practice

6: Doing things no one else is doing -  Being really different, combining existing concepts and asking “why not?”

7: Doing things that cannot be done - Doing what is commonly thought to be impossible, questioning basic assumptions, breaking the rules and being a bit crazy

Innovation funnel.  Research reveals that the process of innovation in an organization is not a linear, deterministic process. It almost never happens that a team comes up with a single idea, their first test of it is perfect, and they seamlessly transition to successful full-scale implementation. Trying many new things, and failing on most but learning and adapting as you go along, is an essential part of the process. This observation is summarized in what the innovation literature refers to as the innovation funnel. The ratio of 100 brainstormed ideas to one successful new product or service highlights the importance of not restricting idea generation with premature judgment. At the same time, the narrowing of the funnel calls attention to the need for progressively applying judgment regarding investment of resources as the process moves along over time.

innovation funnel

Directed creativity and innovation.  The concepts above support the notion that thinking differently in an organization can be a deliberate process, directed to specific ends. We can facilitate attention, escape and movement out of our existing mental valleys aimed at producing ideas for change. We can also systematically harvest and develop ideas along the pipeline illustrated by the innovation funnel. Organizational innovation can therefore be described as: directed creativity implemented.

Thinking Differently: Practical Application

These basic concepts for thinking differently give rise to methods, tools and processes to facilitate directed creativity and innovation in an organization.

Directed Brainstorming. Most people are familiar with Alex Osborne’s [4] guidelines for a brainstorming session: criticism is ruled out, freewheeling is welcomed, quantity is wanted, and combination and improvement is sought. These guidelines encourage mental movement and escape from premature judgment, but they do not provide guidance about what to pay attention to or which mental valleys to escape. Therefore, adding some direction for thinking will enhance any brainstorming session. This direction can come from the seven types of change (e.g., Based on the data we have seen, what could we do better? What are examples of things that others are already doing that we should consider?) or through use of a variety of verbs (e.g., What can we combine? What can we do away with? What can we substitute?). Participants, working alone or in small groups, focus on one such question at a time, writing down multiple ideas, each on a separate card or self-stick note. These are then arranged on a wall, combined and categorized as necessary, and voted on relative to some criteria in order to begin the innovation funnel process.

Mental Benchmarking. When we think of doing what others are doing—Smith’s idea type #5—we tend to think only about other healthcare organizations. However, many of the basic issues we face are common to a variety of industries. We can often find new mental valleys to link to if we state the challenge in plain English and remove the healthcare jargon. For example, in healthcare we talk about “access,” “patient flow,” or “matching up the correct patient with his or her medications.” But these are really common issues across many industries. McDonald’s deals with access by providing a drive-thru window; Disney World deals with waiting time for its rides by providing stimulating visual input to make the time pass more quickly; and FedEx certainly knows a thing or two about how to match up packages with the correct delivery truck. How can we adapt these concepts to our challenges in healthcare? To use mental benchmarking:

  1. State the issue in its plainest or most general terms (escape the mental valley of healthcare jargon)
  2. Select an industry or business at random, or one that you know deals with a similar issue (escape the common healthcare tradition)
  3. Describe how that industry naturally thinks about the issue (attention to other mental valleys)
  4. Borrow and adapt concepts to apply to your issue (movement back to healthcare)

Break the Rules. Identifying existing design rules, assumptions and traditions that drive what we currently do, and then moving on to explore alternatives is yet another method for thinking differently. For example: Intensive care is a specific unit in a hospital. Alternative: Consider intensive care as a set of people, equipment and capabilities that can be deployed anywhere in a healthcare system, centralizing the highest skilled, highest cost clinicians via remote monitoring. Each entity in a healthcare system must close its books each month, and that gets rolled up to system-level.

Alternatives: Close the books at system-level only… OR… Close the books at service-line level and then roll-up to system level… OR… Close the books only every 6 or 8 weeks Alternative design rules lead to different processes, staffing levels and costs. The only way to know if these differences are better is to play out the scenario. The break the rules method is particularly useful if your aim to do things that no one else is doing, or things that others say cannot be done—Smith’s idea types #6 and 7. The flow of a breaking the rules ideation session generally proceeds as follows:     

Attention. Begin by selecting a specific process or system of work as the focus. It might be helpful to construct a high-level process map to describe the current flow and the boundaries of the process. Ask: What rules, assumptions and traditions drove us to design the process this way? Capture each design rule in one column of a table, no matter how seemingly necessary and unchallengeable it is.     

Escape. In the second column of the table list 1-4 alternatives to each design rule. Avoid self-censoring; one never knows where a different design rule might lead.     

Movement. Participants will naturally begin moving in thinking and see possibilities as each alternative is stated, thereby developing some intuitions about which alternatives to explore further.

Attention. Based on these intuitions, select several alternative design rules to explore.

Movement. Reconstruct the process or system based on the alternative design rules. It is not necessary to create a detailed redesign, simply play out the scenario enough to get a rough idea of its potential impact on key indicators. A drawing, process map or bullet list of key points is a good way to summarize the thinking. The multiple scenarios created by this method can now be prioritized, developed, tested on a small scale, and evaluated (innovation funnel).

Idealized Design. If there were no existing structures or processes and we were just now creating something anew for this process or system, what would we create? This question immediately escapes the constraints of the current way of doing things and invites attention and movement toward an ideal state. Participants often experience it as “freeing” and have little difficulty imagining and agreeing upon better ways of doing things. Setting up an idealized design session requires the creation of a scenario that captures relevant elements in the environment beyond the organization’s control (e.g., customer needs, competition, reimbursement, availability of workforce) but describes the organization as a newcomer, or one that has not previously consider the issue. It is often helpful to break a large group down into subgroups to allow for more variety in thinking. The output of each subgroup is, again, a drawing, process map, or a bullet list of key points. With the picture of the ideal in mind, the group then shifts back to reality. What are we willing to change to move us away from status quo toward this vision of the future? This discussion exposes current design rules, assumptions and traditions and might lead to the application of one of the other tools described above.

  • At a minimum, it exposes the really difficult questions that stand in the way of true transformation. These can be framed for decision-making outside the team (i.e., at executive level).
  • Fully played out, the discussion leads to a transformation plan to transition the organization in a logical manner, over time, from current state to something approaching ideal.

Stepping Stones. It has been said that “necessity is the mother of invention;” that is, creative thinking often occurs at times of crisis. If this is so, then it makes sense to create an imaginary crisis and ask what we might do. That is what a stepping stone provocation does. For example: A strange virus that only attacks nurses has left us with only 20 nurses to staff the entire hospital, what are we going to do? Such a scenario escapes the status quo and cause one to focus attention on prioritizing work, eliminating unnecessary tasks and creating better skill-tasks alignment. The scenario can be designed to target thinking about any resource—staff, equipment, appointment slots, etc. As with idealized design, after stretching thinking in the extreme scenario, the group comes back to reality with new insights that can be applied to transforming the current state.  

Resources from MI2

These are but a few of the many ways to stimulate thinking differently in yourself or your group. For further reading, see: Plsek PE (2013) Accelerating Health Care Transformation with Lean and Innovation: The Virginia Mason Experience. CRC Press.      

For MedStar Health - If you are a MedStar Health associate you can download our Think Differently App which will guide you through a series of exercises to help unstick your stuck-thinking. If you want more support, ask MI2 to help you design and facilitate creative thinking exercises to match your specific challenges and time budgets. Contact Paul Plsek, MI2 Innovator-in-Residence, for more information, or to schedule a coaching session: [email protected].


  1. de Bono E (1969) Mechanism of Mind. Penguin Books.
  2. Plsek PE (1997) Creativity, Innovation, and Quality. ASQ Quality Press.
  3. Smith R (2007) The Seven Levels of Change: Different Thinking for Different Results (Third Edition). Tapestry Press.
  4. Osborn A (1953) Applied Imagination. Charles Scribner.

Blue Ocean Brain

blue-ocean-brainHave you met BOB?

MI2 recently engaged in a new program called Blue Ocean Brain (aka BOB).

BOB is a fun and refreshing brain training platform. BOB features a daily aliquot of 3-4 mind exercises, puzzles, and games plus some (very short) articles and facts about health, wellness, and productivity.

If you're a MedStar Health associate and interested in participating, please submit the form on this webpage.

Scroll down for Frequently Asked Questions.

Click on the orange tabs to expand.

Frequently Asked Questions


What is Blue Ocean Brain?

Blue Ocean Brain (aka BOB) is an online application accessible via any internet browser. The BOB application features a daily aliquot of 3-4 mind exercises, puzzles, and games plus some (very short) articles and facts about health and wellness that fall under 4 main categories: Brain Health, Critical Thinking, Creativity, and Leadership. The content is refreshed (new) every day and is designed to be able to be completed in less than 10 minutes (approximately the time it takes to grab a cup of coffee). You can login as often as you wish. To access BOB, go to to login. Don’t have any account? If you’re a MedStar Health associate fill out the form and we’ll contact you to get started. To learn more about BOB, visit their website at If you’d like a more formal tour, here’s a video tutorial:  The video’s password is "BOB-Intro-Explore".

Any MedStar associate is welcome to join. However, for Phase 1 of the rollout we have limited accounts available. If you'd like to participate in Blue Ocean Brain we encourage you to sign-up. Even if we do not have any accounts available at the time we'll let you know as soon as an account opens up. If the program is successful and we have enough people on the waiting-list we'll expand the number of accounts.

Is Blue Ocean Brain free?

Yes. We currently offer Blue Ocean Brain for FREE for MedStar Health associates. However, we only have a limited number of accounts available so sign up ASAP.

How do I login?

When your account has been created, the Blue Ocean Brain team will email you your login ID and temporary password. The first time you login you will be prompted to change your password. The link to login is: Your login information will be sent to the email address you requested to be linked to your Blue Ocean Brain account. If you did not receive this email, please email [email protected].

How do I use Blue Ocean Brain?

Simply go to to login.  You can access BOB using any browser although Google Chrome is recommended.  You can also access BOB with your smartphone or tablet/iPad, however, some of the training exercises are not compatible with mobile devices.

For a more detailed tutorial, here’s a video tutorial:  The video’s password is "BOB-Intro-Explore".

Is there a tutorial?

Yes, there's a video tutorial.  Go to:  The video’s password is "BOB-Intro-Explore".

Can I use any internet browser?

Yes, BOB is compatible with all browsers, however, Google Chrome is recommended.

Can I use my iPhone or tablet?

Currently there is no app available, however, you can login to BOB via your mobile device’s internet browser.  Please note that some of the puzzles and training exercises are not yet compatible with mobile devices.  The BOB team is still developing this feature.

You accumulate Blue Ocean Points (BOB points) as you participate in activities on the Blue Ocean Brain site. The more points you have, the more active you are on the site.  The way to earn points is by participating in the Train, Solve, and Draw areas. You can earn points in the Solve area by answering the brain challenge.  If you use the Hint or Answer, though, you will lose points. In the Train area, you earn points every time you play the brain game. You have a time limit in this area and you should work to earn as many points as possible in the time limit.  You do not need to beat your high score to earn points. In the Draw area (which is available a couple times a week), you earn points by publishing a drawing.  If you post the drawing in the Gallery and receive 'likes' from your co-workers, you earn points.  You will also earn points if you like others artwork. So jump in and explore and start earning those points!

Will anyone see my scores?

Only the top 10 scores will be posted.  Other than the top 10 scores, no one will ever see your scores, points, or Cognitive Performance Management (CPM) which is found by clicking on “My Profile” in the upper right hand corner of your BOB account.  Please note that the CPM feature is still under development.

Do the BOB exercises have time limits?

 The “Train” exercise is the only exercise that has a time limit (10 minutes).  If you time out or fail at a particular level, you can go back to Home, and then choose Train again to start another training session.  Each time you engage in a new training session you can earn BOB points.  If you are currently in a training session and the 10 minutes runs out, you will be allowed to finish your session.  The articles and other exercises do not have time limits, however, keep in mind that BOB refreshes with new content every 24 hours.

Why is there a waiting-list?

MI2 is excited to launch Blue Ocean Brain at MedStar Health.  After a successful trial with 100 associates, we are launching the first phase of the program.  For the first phase of this program, we only have 200 accounts available.  The sign-up list will follow a first-come, first-served rule.  Once all accounts are claimed, we will initiate a waiting-list.  When someone decides to turn over his/her account due to inactivity or preference, we will give that seat to the next person on the waiting-list.

2015 MI2 Innovations in… Thinking Differently Forum attendees will receive a 30-day trial subscription to Blue Ocean Brain as part of the Brain Boost CarePack. Unless you have previously enrolled in the BOB program, please check your inbox for a message from the BOB team ([email protected]) sent today with your login ID and temporary password. If you are new to BOB, attended the Forum, but did not receive this email, please email [email protected]

Who do I contact if I have questions?

Feel free to contact Taylr Jesinger if you have any questions regarding Blue Ocean Brain.  Please email her at [email protected].

If you're a MedStar Health associate and interested in participating, please submit the form on this webpage.