Category Archives: Innovation

Millennials, who’d have them?

Building an agency, by David Hunt

Born in 1980, I’m a borderline Millennial depending on your preferred interpretation. Regardless, I can still feel like an old man when it comes to Millennial engagement in the work place, which is why I’m so proud of our retention rate. Many agencies struggle to retain bright, ambitious talent, whereas at Havas Lynx, we prosper.

We believe Millennials want to make a difference and at Havas Lynx, we are committed to doing just that. We focus on improving patient outcomes; to drive commercial success for our partners. But our efforts don’t end with the client budget, we go much further. In 2015, we’ve already funded the education of 42 children in Africa.

We believe that Millennials want to exist within a vibrant community. #LYNXLife was launched to preserve and enhance our culture. It includes a tea lady, breakfast club and Summer Fun day offline, and Facebook and Instagram, online. To get involved, join us by following #LYNXLife.

Each year we conduct an internal survey.  Of 200+ participants 30 %  said professional development was their key priority. Many people challenge our investment in #LXAcademy accusing it of being excessive but I’d challenge us to spend more.

We try our best to shun excessive structure and hierarchy. Yes, the ultimate decision resides with the senior team but you won’t find us hiding in an office. To my knowledge, no-one at either Havas Lynx, or formerly Creative Lynx, has had their own office, and it’s my intention to maintain this record.

It’s up for debate how many of these principles are specific to Millennials and to me, it simply sounds like good business. But then again, maybe that’s just the Millennial in me.

Campervan

Every week should be Carers Week

Following on from Carers Week 2015, we reflect on the need to do more to support caregivers and introduce our study into the holistic needs of those who care for people with long-term conditions.

‘Being a carer in 2015 can be incredibly tough, taking a huge toll on health and mental wellbeing, finances and relationships. More and more people are taking on a caring role – 10.6 million over the course of this Parliament. So getting it right for carers has never been more imperative. Carers can’t carry on doing this alone.’

– Heléna Herklots, Chief Executive of Carers UK.

Last week was Carers Week in the UK, an annual campaign that raises awareness of caring, highlights the challenges that carers face, and recognises the contribution that carers make to families and communities throughout the UK.

All week, at events and via the internet and broadcast media, stories of the commitment and devotion of carers have been shared. As was the case at Local Solutionsannual information event at St. George’s Hall in Liverpool on Friday, which brought together charities and organisations to showcase the services available to carers. It was wonderful to see so many people coming together in support of the caring community, and it raised reflection on whether pharma does enough to support carers.

There are nearly seven million people in the UK who are carers, a figure that is on the rise; last week it was reported that three in five of us will be carers at some point in our lives. This isn’t a UK-specific problem: the World Health Organisation estimates a soaring demand for carers the world over, with needs rising by as much as 400% over coming decades in some developing countries.

The importance of the efforts of carers cannot be underestimated. To many patients, they are a lifeline; without carers, many simply couldn’t manage. To the British economy, they’re indispensible, saving the public an estimated 119 billion pounds a year.

Whilst the pharma industry is not immune to the importance of carers, it’s rare to find pharma-initiated interventions that target carers.

Why should pharma help?

Often the question is raised of which professionals are the gatekeepers to patient care, but arguably no one professional could be more important to the success of patient outcomes than the person caring for them every single day. Ensuring their health and wellbeing can drive greater treatment success. It’s also worth noting that carers are often ‘patients’ themselves; in a 2012 survey of 3,500 carers, 53% said they have suffered a long-term condition or illness, whilst 39% had put off medical treatment due to caring responsibilities.

Additionally, this is a group of people whose need for support is greater than ever. In spite of the indisputable fiscal and social value, cuts to financial support in recent years (such as the ‘spare room tax’ and the introduction of personal independence payment) have put carers under increasing pressure. Reports on carer wellbeing indicate that this is a strain they could well do without. Carers UK has recently published research showing that 82% of carers feel that looking after a disabled or older relative or friend has had a negative impact on their health.

The statistics are both alarming and compelling, but to uncover the full story and better understand what can be done to help we need to speak to people. It’s with this in mind that, over the coming months, we’ll be talking to carers about their needs and what impact caring for a person with a long-term condition has on their lives. These interviews will form part of a quantitative study to be included in our autumn white paper later in the year.

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What makes Havas Lynx special?

The #LXAcademy, by David Hunt

“What is your point of difference?”, “Why should I work with you?”, or my personal favourite, “What makes Havas Lynx so special?” The answer is always the same – the people. But “people” does not just happen by chance. It takes investment, it takes values & it takes culture.

On the 30th of April we launched #LXAcademy 2015 at Manchester Town Hall. It was an awesome event, which reflected our commitment to, and investment in, skills development. Lucy May was inspiring as she discussed the opportunities for progressive change in healthcare with a commitment to a more holistic patient journey, fuelled by creativity. Dave Birss then followed with some phenomenal case studies that were deconstructed to their core, as we explored the discipline behind creativity. Dave beautifully illustrated the power of ideas to drive change across society. However, the greatest point of inspiration was the collective passion & expertise of the Havas Lynx community, with over two-hundred experts committed to Helpful Change in healthcare.

Over the next six months there will be over one-hundred sessions, covering Agency Fundamentals, through to Core Expertise and Thought Leadership. Not everyone in an agency has an eye for design, not everyone can use PowerPoint, and not everyone has a quality first approach – they should. The curriculum for Agency Fundamentals seeks to change this. Numerous articles and research papers discuss the most likely reason an agency would be sacked, and it’s almost always a lack of quality, attention to detail, or put another way – the fundamentals. The details count, and they are a priority for Havas Lynx.

I’d like to be a better CEO, and I’m sure that I am not alone in wanting to be better at the day job. We’ll be tackling payors and market access, content designed for a more social world, and the account teams will spend time with a restaurant manager to discuss silver service. It’s amazing the amount agencies spend on recruitment and salaries, and then neglect training and development.

The Thought Leadership programme will include discussing teamwork and marginal gains in a Formula One pit-lane, how an NHS Trust uses twitter to manage patient well-being and how the police negotiate with terrorists. All of the sessions are made available on YouTube, with last year’s #LXAcademy attracting 100,000 views, to further validate the quality.

Like all things the success of the #LXAcademy 2015 will be based on the people, the more they put in the more they will get out. As always, I’m happy backing the Havas Lynx community.

The GENERAL Election 2015

Building Brands, by David Hunt

Our politicians should be expert at the governance and stewardship of the United Kingdom. I’d prefer that they excel at economic strategy rather than twitter, that they can protect the long-term future of the NHS rather than operate periscope, that they drive education standards before using Instagram. I entirely understand their use of agencies to build their brand and develop meaningful relationships across society. I don’t want marketeers in government, I want politicians.

But my God, their agencies should be sacked.

I’m not frustrated by a lack of innovation, but by the lack of appreciation for relevance and authenticity in the social world. This election has been marketed from the 1990s, but without the passion. Society today demands real interaction, authenticity and empathy. Inevitably there will be countless communication experts advising our politicians, but rather than helping them to build relationships, they’re dismissing them.

The so-called TV debates, have been nothing of the sort. A debate; a formal discussion on a particular matter in a public meeting. The country has simply been subjected to a series of sound bites that have little or no reference to the points or questions made either side. When Tony Blair was campaigning in 1997, society was largely restricted to traditional media. Budget ensured exposure and the message manufactured the image. Voters were limited by physical proximity, their discussions taking place in their location. Today we can be nationally dismayed, frustrated and lost. If politicians won’t participate in a debate, then today we can conduct one without them. The fact that they have remained oblivious to the need to be relevant and genuine demonstrates either ignorance or arrogance, but is most certainly costly. Like many others, I don’t need perfection, I don’t even need to agree with all of the policies, but I would like to participate in a democracy. In 2015, true engagement beats stone slabs every day.

“The Community is King” should be more pertinent than ever in an election. Our horizons are broader when searching for answers, our community is larger when arguing our case. Technology has ensured we no longer have to tolerate a “politician’s answer”, and that an irrelevant leader can become an irrelevance. Stage management is understandable as there is a lot at stake, but not to the point that the show should be cancelled. For the Prime Minister to ask for the country’s endorsement to tackle world leaders on critical affairs, but be unwilling to debate local opposition in a public setting, is a critical oxymoron. As a business leader, I believe David Cameron has done a good job leading the economic recovery, however his decisions to build a relationship with the majority is fundamentally flawed.

More than ever before, the United Kingdom has the opportunity to be a community, debate national politics and shape our future together. It’s just a crying shame that no one told the politicians.

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Conduct

The importance of manners, by David Hunt

Speak when spoken to, remember your please & thank-yous, and listen to others – all important lessons I’m determined to teach my son, Hudson. They are essential to being a well-rounded member of society and equally essential in Pharma’s pursuit of social media acceptance.

We talk A LOT about governance, rules of engagement and process. For me this is the method and  internal mechanics, it’s of our concern and not our customers. Of far more importance to me is our product, their experience, which is determined by our behaviour & conduct. There’s little point in engaging in social if it does not help the community, and complement our commercial objectives. If we compromise our personality, we compromise our campaign.

Typically our behaviour is weighed down by bureaucracy; it is uptight, awkward & unresponsive. It lacks critical speed & authenticity. It can feel like a conversation with a committee, most likely because it is. Newspaper Editors the world over take responsibility for their publications. It allows them to publish breaking news, competing with their rivals, meeting the needs of their customers. The consensus is that Pharma cannot be so frivolous, the risks are too great. True, if we are publishing product related information, not true if we are engaging with a community relating to disease awareness. Of course there will be points when we can’t comment, but these should not compromise the many meaningful interactions we can have.

Of course governance cannot be underestimated, but it should be guidelines & not a rule book. It should inspire, not suffocate our interactions. And it must be built on a brand personality & values, a global tone for all markets & platforms.

By trusting intelligent individuals to take responsibility, thus replacing response by committee with a more human approach to social media, we too can become a well-rounded member of society.

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Public or private, healthcare should focus more on happiness than holding on

‘Everywhere I see the mistake of ignoring that people have priorities in their lives besides merely surviving another day.’
– Dr. Atul Gawande

In Britain, the current strain on the NHS is a key topic as we head towards the general election in May. In the closing moments of a live debate on Channel 4 News last night, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt commented that, ‘for the public, it’s not about public vs. private; it’s about good care vs. bad care’. But do we know what good care is?

The healthcare industry has been built upon treatments. Progress to date has been based on innovating around the molecular, on tackling problems in the minutiae of the atomic arena. It has brought some incredible advances and delivered great success in changing lives.

However, it’s a focus that ignores the bigger picture of the patients these treatments are created for. Patients whose conditions may infiltrate every aspect of their lives, and have consequences that they live with until their dying day. For these people, treatment is just one aspect of their journey, and the care they require extends far beyond this. They need help in communicating with professionals, understanding and accepting the implications of their condition, taking control of their health and the other aspects of their life it affects (work, finances, family). Unsupported in any of these instances, patients can feel isolated, confused, and deeply unhappy.

In his BBC Radio 4 Reith Lectures in December, Dr. Atul Gawande exclaimed that, ‘we’ve been rather limited about what we [in healthcare] think our job is, building systems of care for human existence. We think our job is to ensure health and survival, but really it is larger than that. It is to enable wellbeing, and wellbeing is ultimately about sustaining the reasons one wishes to be alive.’

We need to pay greater respect to wellbeing and happiness. It might sound trite to say that happier patients are healthier, but improved wellbeing has been shown to improve cancer outcomes, lower the risk of heart disease and stroke, encourage adoption of healthy behaviours, and even lengthen lifespans (amongst other health benefits).

In an era in which healthcare moves to outcomes based performance models, ensuring patient wellbeing could be a catalyst for improved treatment-brand success. It’s time to look far beyond the pill, from the beginning of a patient journey to the very end, and provide support at every moment in between. Support that instils patients with the happiness, confidence and encouragement to stride on toward a positive outcome.

For more on the power of subjective wellbeing and holistic support, read our latest white paper,  Smiles That Save Lives

Watch our introduction of our interview with Lucy May Middleton, holistic support advocate and educator here

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Ideas

Creativity, More Important Than Ever by David Hunt

You can have a strong brand & commitment to fulfil it. You can have the necessary culture to respond in a real fashion. You can have a relevant, quality, dynamic content strategy. And most importantly, you can share a genuine ambition with your community. But you can still, and most likely will, fail in social media.

In a world that besieges individuals with content, news & entertainment across all manner of devices & channels, standing-out from the crowd is more important than ever. Pharma has spent so long wrestling with social, that when we finally do arrive, we expect that they will come. The world has not been waiting. The world is oblivious to our fraught self-interrogation. That is not to say, we can’t add significant value to our respective communities, it is just that we need to earn the right to be socially significant. Turning-up, standing on the periphery, is not enough.

In my opinion, you need an idea that grabs attention and acts as a catalyst for your social campaign. It requires insight into the community, imagination to be unique, the potential to be valuable & engaging, but it also requires appreciation of social dynamics. It is not an advert, but it is creative. It is an idea that drives participation & interaction, from incremental approval & shares, to endorsement & actions. It takes great talent, with great ideas to unlock the great social opportunity.

In South America we have seen the Colombian League Against Cancer “Cancer Tweets” campaign demonstrating the creative opportunity social media represents.

Great ideas that leverage the social opportunity are still the exception in healthcare. I’m excited to work with clients and colleagues with the imagination and bravery to seize the initiative and make a difference.

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