Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Optimizing cancer care through collaboration

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Memorial Sloan Kettering is a New York-based cancer research and care center. With a wealth of research data, MSK engineers build machine learning tools (products, models, APIs, and more) that make the company’s clinical trial research data useful for researchers and clinicians.

In any large organization, parallel project efforts by independent teams can unknowingly create barriers to universal access to existing work. All MSK teams produce brilliant projects, but at the start of our engagement, employees across teams were not always aware of these innovations. Happy Cog was tasked with designing a website to unite all these projects into one platform. An “open source” approach to innovations allow engineers and data scientists to build on each other’s existing work instead of starting fresh each time.

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Icons and user avatars reference MSK’s logo.

Additionally, to be successful, this project had to “sell” the idea of engaging with the platform. The site’s messaging immediately answered the common question: “why is it important for my work to become open source within the company?” Half of the solution was mitigating the fear of hard work going uncredited. We made it a priority to emphasize attribution to each of the resource’s contributors and—much like Github—surface a permanent history of these contributors.

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Icons and user avatars reference MSK’s logo.

With a potential for increased engagement came the design challenge of extensibility. The site structure and design system must be flexible enough to account for more resource types that will be housed on this platform in the future. To ensure this flexibility, we designed menus to accommodate infinite additions, and page designs to allow for new components.

The second half to encouraging engagement within the platform was to show how smaller projects could weave together to form a larger whole. Where appropriate, a resource’s parent/child relationships are surfaced to show practical use cases and inspire reuse and extension for further innovation of cancer care.

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