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anna young

Making health care work smarter

To bring rapid prototyping into hospitals for customized care, Anna Young is a collaborative list-making expert.

“Because we’re constantly coming up with unique challenges, we need something that will work in any setting … we function better when we can have a conversation, and then map that to a to-do list.”

  • - Anna Young

    Anna Young stands at a fascinating crossroads, where the maker movement – ideation, design, prototyping and production – meets the heath care industry. Anna is the co-founder of Maker Health, a startup that works to bring rapid prototyping tools and kits into hospital units to enhance the natural, do-it-yourself problem solving abilities of nurses and healthcare staff. These medical maker spaces allow providers to work alongside patients to create solutions for more customized and affordable care. As the head of a busy team that works on multiple, complicated projects simultaneously, Anna relies on Post-it® Products and list-making to drive these deep, collaborative efforts forward.

    Anna and her team break down their lists into categories – a “mission control” list of operations, business development and the network of maker space locations; a list of prototypes that are being worked on and their stages of completion; and a weekly list that has short-term deadlines with long-term implications. In every instance, Post-it® Super Sticky Notes are crucial – for top-priority deadlines, Anna always has a Post-it® Super Sticky Note on her laptop. That physical representation of her to-do list is essential.

    maker health whiteboarding with Post-it® Products

  • When it comes to short-term versus long-term list making, Anna feels comfortable with both. “My nature is to be better with short-term lists, and to execute on those,” she says. “In my role, though, I’ve been pushed to focus on reaching and defining long-term visions as well.”

    maker health kit design

  • While prototyping new kits and tools in the maker spaces, Anna’s team uses Post-it® Flags to annotate on the devices themselves, noting potential modifications like sensors, a new interface, adding wheels, etc. While tracking the prototyping process, Post-it® Super Sticky Notes act as a modular brainstorm – Anna’s team loves the freeform, visual nature of Post-it® Super Sticky Notes, and the ease of moving them around to map out components without losing their stickiness. The Post-it® Super Sticky Notes provide the team with a language that translates design into conversation, making it easy for people to jump in and contribute on the fly.


  • When it comes to list-making tips, Anna highly recommends using the “analog” solution that Post-it® Products provide to help manage your workflow, and to augment your virtual tools. She finds tremendous value in being able to track progress among her team in a physical form. Anna also believes that you have to give yourself permission to tinker and experiment, and to push the boundaries of your tools – for her, Post-it® Products have the flexibility to be hacked for her specific needs, which aligns perfectly with her maker nature.

    Anna’s tips:

    • The best kind of list isn’t just a brain dump, but prioritized so there’s forward motion
    • Visionary lists – the kind that contribute to a bigger movement – help guide and grow her business
    • Start with an experiment, and see what happens – don’t be afraid to tinker

    Throughout her intensive work, Anna continues to find inspiration in discovery and execution. “The maker movement is great because it’s playful,” she says. “We have a technical expertise, and we do a fair amount of design work, but we exist because we believe caregivers and providers can create medical devices and get them to a solution that much faster.”

    Want to learn more about your productivity style? Find out your list-making style.

“When you make something you realize what's possible.”

  • anna young maker health

    MakerHealth CEO Anna Young works from a fundamental belief that, with the right tools, everyday people can use their ingenuity to create devices that heal. Applying years of global experience with the Maker Movement, Anna brings prototyping tools and makerspaces into hospitals to enhance the natural problem solving abilities of clinicians and patients. Anna is the Co-Founder of MakerNurse, an RWJF sponsored program to support inventive, frontline nurses. Anna’s roots come from MIT as researcher in the Little Devices Lab and lecturer in the Institute for Medical Engineering and Science. In 2015, Anna was recognized by LinkedIn as a top Health Innovator under 35 and in 2016 received Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business.

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