Tag Archives: Creativity

Neesha Gobin & Catsou Roberts – The artists injecting life, colour and meaning into sterile wards

This week’s #HealthcareHeroes are Neesha Gobin & Catsou Roberts. They are the inspired people behind Vital Arts. An organisation that is transforming our hospitals by delivering arts projects for the well-being of patients, staff and the wider hospital community. The team work in partnership with medical staff, artists and cultural organisations to devise and deliver therapeutic creative programmes – workshops, artist-in-residencies, exhibitions, installations and public art commissions – that support medical goals; enhance patient well-being; provide continual professional development opportunities for staff; and create stimulating and uplifting spaces for patients, staff and the wider hospital community.

A sterile labyrinth of corridors and clinical rooms void of personality make hospitals scary places to visit for the majority of people. Vital Arts are looking to change that experience by transforming spaces, engage patients and make hospitals a better environment for all.

Vital Arts deliver arts projects for the well-being of patients, families and staff. We meet Catsou Roberts, Director and Neesha Gobin, Arts Manager in a hospital that has three towers, the highest of which has 14 floors, with 675 beds, 110 wards and 26 operating theatres. This is a lot of space to fill with work by professional artists, and it is just one of the five hospitals that Vital Arts deal with.

Walking through the revolving doors at the entrance we are hit with a flood of colour in geometric shapes reaching up the walls on tiles designed by renowned artist Morag Myerscough. The space immediately feels brighter, more welcoming and a whole lot more interesting than any hospital we’ve ever been in. Neesha greets us at the entrance and explains, “Because this is the Women and Children’s entrance we wanted to create a space that is bright and welcoming and Morag’s work does just that.” Vital Arts, established 20 years ago, is charitably funded and raises money for all its projects. They set out to commission site-specific, permanent artwork that has a real engagement with the architectural space, creating something unique for each designated area.

We meet Catsou, who is waiting for us in the Children’s Imaging Department eager to show us the latest installation by Tatty Devine. “Tatty Devine make jewellery that blurs the boundaries between art and fashion so commissioning them to make their first work for an architectural context was exciting.” The installation includes thousands of individual acrylic pieces carefully arranged to create kaleidoscopic compositions that catch the light like only jewellery can. The installation includes thousands of individual acrylic pieces carefully arranged to create kaleidoscopic compositions that catch the light like only jewellery can. The numerous artworks commissioned by Vital Arts can be seen in the corridors, reception areas and importantly the treatment rooms breathing colour and life into an area that could otherwise be intimidating for children. Neesha says, “As soon as we put up the artwork, the staff were delighted and told me it was lovely to see how the space was transformed. They responded to the vibrancy of it, as did the patients and their families who enjoy its playfulness.”

Vital Arts are the link between the artist and everyone in the hospital. They work closely with clinicians, staff and patients to ensure the best outcomes. Catsou said, “It’s their space and they need to feel an affinity with the art, just as we aim to reach patients using the services who might not otherwise have access to contemporary art.”

The selected artists come and spend time in the hospitals giving them a greater understanding of how the patients and staff use the space. For example, Jacques Nimki, an artist commissioned by Vital Arts, went to the children’s A&E several times in the middle of the night to understand the energy of the environment before beginning his work. Neesha said, “We are always thinking about the demographics of who will be viewing the artwork, how and when they will be seeing it. We consider whether they will be walking through a corridor, sitting in a waiting room, lying down and looking at the ceiling, and so provide artwork to be seen in various ways.” We catch a lift up to another children’s area, where the space is vibrant, playful and brilliantly tailored for the audience. In the radiography rooms there is art set into the ceiling so patients receiving treatment have something to focus on when they have to lie still. On this site alone Vital Arts have nearly every floor covered, which is astonishing. One of the great things about the artwork is that you forget you’re in a hospital; the cold, sterile, empty corridors and rooms you associate with them are gone. Catsou explained, “Unlike museums that have opening times, this building is never emptied of possible viewers. The art is beaming from the hospital walls 24/7. I love the fact that at any time of the day someone is likely to be looking at a great work of art, and quite possibly, enjoying an eye-catching and mind-opening experience.”

As well as the art installations they also run a Patient Participation Programme which provides year-round opportunities for patients to engage with music, dance, poetry, and other arts. One particular programme with the London Symphony Orchestra enabled singers and musicians to perform to patients. In the neonatal ward for example, the musicians would sing lullabies to babies in incubators. Neesha said, “The nurses noticed the babies’ heart rates dropping, their oxygen rates rising and the parents feeling more relaxed. For just a moment or two, a little calm is brought into their lives, and it makes a noticeable difference.” This participation programme is partly funded by the sale of limited edition works which Vital Arts produces with some of the artists—often as a result of an artist-in-residency—allowing the team to continue delivering new ways of patient interaction. Another successful project involved Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Contemporary Dance, who encourage movement in patients. Neesha said, “One visiting daughter had not seen her mother engage in any form of activity since her admission into hospital. Yet on this occasion, her mother was singing and clapping along to the music played by the dance artists and both mother and daughter were visibly uplifted.”

Catsou added, “Our priority is to assist clinical aims and enhance the hospital environment, and this is an effective way to do that—as attested by our physio colleagues, and supported in many recent studies on arts in healthcare.” It’s clear to see the team are passionate about what they do. Catsou says, “I want to raise the standard of what art can be in hospitals.” They also want to act as a beacon encouraging other hospitals to be courageous, ambitious and discover new artists—not to just reach for off-the-shelf solutions by recycling artists who have already made work in hospitals. They are focused on delivering innovative projects, constantly pushing themselves and the artists to create work that is fresh, interesting and meaningful.

There are hospitals around the world with empty walls, harshly lit clinical wards and intimidating operating theatres. They are places of work for professionals worldwide and are visited by millions of patients each year. What Vital Arts have done is special, it’s visionary, it opens artwork to a new audience that cleverly responds to the space it occupies and improves the patient experience within. Vital Arts have shown how some imagination can transform hospitals, making them less frightening and more uplifting. The team aren’t motivated by money, rather, they are interested in how they can offer life-changing encounters with significant contemporary art. What they do is create unique spaces which have a positive impact on everyone who spends time there.


Learn more about the #HealthcareHeroes at: www.healthcare-heroes.com

Havas Lynx pushes the boundaries of creative healthcare with new recruits

Havas Lynx, the leading global healthcare communications agency, and communiqué communications consultancy of the year has further bolstered its ranks with a string of high-profile recruits including three new award-winning creative directors. This expansion of the creative team follows on from the appointment of Tom Richards as Chief Creative Officer in April 2015.

Since Richards’ appointment, the Havas Lynx group has significantly invested in its creative talent, building on their un-paralleled expertise of science, strategy and technology. In the past nine months, it’s taken on 24 new creatives, bringing Havas Lynx’s creative team to over 70 people; making it one of the biggest creative healthcare departments in Europe.

The agency has also refurbished its workplace with an enviable new creative space that has already been used by global industry association, D&AD, for its New Blood Mixer.

As part of the creative growth, Havas Lynx has appointed three seasoned Creative Directors from non-healthcare backgrounds to oversee the delivery of high-calibre campaigns and ensure Havas Lynx’s creative output sets a new standard for the industry. It welcomes Paul Kinsella, Lou Shipley and Phil Howells.

Paul Kinsella brings over 13 years’ experience from working in agencies such as Euro RSCG WNEK Gosper, Cheetham Bell JWT and BJL. He is known for ideas, insights and creativity and is excited about the opportunity to work in healthcare. In his last three years alone, his innovative designs and concepts have won over 30 awards from ceremonies including Campaign, Kinsale Sharks, Roses, DADi and Fresh. Most recently, he gained recognition for his work on Whyte & Mackay’s whisky which featured in Campaign’s top ads of 2015.

Lou Shipley brings over 19 years’ conceptual copywriting experience from several integrated advertising agencies including the likes of McCanns, Tequila TBWA, Rapier and Ogilvy. Lou’s varied portfolio includes powerful and compelling campaigns for Cancer Research UK, Save the Children and Alzheimer’s Society. Lou is known for her creative versatility having worked across TV, print, direct marketing, digital and social platforms.

The agency also welcomes Phil Howells, a multi-award winning creative director with over 30 years’ advertising experience. Phil’s portfolio includes work on a variety of campaigns for household names including Sure, Dirt Devil, Shop Direct and John Lewis, alongside working as part of the team that launched Peperami’s famous “It’s a bit of an animal”. His work has received an impressive string of industry awards such as: D&AD, Campaign Poster, Midsummer, London Interactive, Chip Shop, Montreux, The Roses and The Northern Marketing Awards.

Phil commented on his new role at Havas Lynx:
‘I’ve already been lucky enough to work with Havas Lynx on a freelance basis. I like their hunger, passion and ambition and I’m particularly impressed with the way they treat their people. Being part of Tom’s vision to raise the creative bar, not only within Havas Lynx but across the sector, has reignited my passion to do great work and also to inspire it.’

Havas Lynx’s Chief Creative Officer, Tom Richards explained:
“Healthcare may not be known as a creative industry, but we’re determined to change that. It’s great to see so many high profile and brilliant creatives recognise this and join our mission. Our new appointments are evidence of a new and radical direction for healthcare. I’m excited to produce some life changing campaigns that will be born from some of the best scientific, strategic and creative minds in the business.”

Havas Lynx_Creative Directors

Independent Client Relationship Audit

Client relations, by David Hunt

I am terrible at receiving critical feedback, even when I’m sure it is intended to be constructive. In my defence I witness the passion, commitment & expertise of our teams, and take responsibility for their endeavours. Regardless, I know there is always room for improvement and as such Havas Lynx recently commissioned an independent study into our client partnerships, weaknesses and strengths.

Overall, the results were very positive, with all participants having both a high opinion of us, and a high intention to continue to partner with us.

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The top-line results included:

  • 100% think that Havas Lynx are pretty or very responsive
  • 100% would recommend Havas Lynx
  • 100% would envisage working together over the next twelve months

An executive summary by the auditors can be reviewed here.

More importantly, where can we improve:

  • As expected, given the fiscal pressure across the industry, we need to improve our financial rigour. Not necessarily reduce costs, but better explain them at the outset, provide financial commentary throughout and overall increase simplicity & transparency.
  • We need to get better at saying, “No”. The industry is increasingly complex, and I’m determined we become the communications agency that the specialists want to work with, by recognising our limitations and acknowledging their expertise.
  • We need to improve our creative product, which I entirely agree with. We’ve already appointed Tom Richards as Chief Creative Officer, with further investment to follow. As always, our goal is to be the best and we will get there sooner than expected.

Finally, I’m very grateful for the time and insight, from the participants. We exist in a busy world, so it is good to know our partners are also committed to our programme of continual improvement.

Tip Jar

PMGroup Communiqué Communications Consultancy of the Year

Agency of the Year, by David Hunt

The judges said, “Havas Lynx are not just preparing for the future, they are creating it.”

I agree, but not in isolation. Alongside our team, it takes great clients too. We’re incredibly blessed to work alongside some brilliant industry leaders, from all across the globe. Some have been with us since the beginning and the advent of the tablet-pc & closed-loop marketing. Others are new to the industry, but they share our vision & passion for pharma to make a meaningful & sustained impact on society. New, old, familiar, returning, former; we’re grateful to all of our clients and the role they’ve played in making us great.

We’re also very grateful to Havas Health and in particular Donna Murphy & Ed Stapor. A Global CMO of Top 10 Fortune 500 Company commented, “Your industry spends a fortune buying big digital companies, makes them worse, loses the talent, leaves them in a silo and fails to integrate them and deliver their expertise to us.” This could not be further from the reality of our transition from Creative Lynx to Havas Lynx. We’re faster, stronger, better, and significantly so. We’ve matured from a local digital shop to a global communications agency. Havas have been a catalyst for our development, ensuring that we can now boast scientific, strategic and creative excellence, alongside our unparalleled digital expertise.

From a young age, I came to understand the importance of a great team. Expertise, passion, diversity and a collective commitment are the cornerstones of our success. We mix recognised industry leaders with remarkable graduates, decorated creatives with proven engineers, and scientists with strategists. 95% of our staff are proud or very proud of the work they produce, and I am equally proud of them.

The final ingredient is the Havas Lynx Senior Team; myself, Neil Martin, Steve Nicholas, David Whittingham, and Tom Richards. With the exception of Tom, who is a recent addition, we have been together for a decade, enjoying almost all of it. It’s a great team, and one that I’m incredibly honoured to be part of. It’s reassuring to know that when times are hard, you are surrounded by experts & leaders that stand shoulder-to-shoulder. And equally, when times are good that you can celebrate with friends.Communique


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.


Our Impact in 2014

Agency Management, by David Hunt

2014, great clients, great work, great team – a great year. They’ll always be lows, but not often are they so outnumbered by the highs.

Creative Lynx was founded in 1986, shortly after a design graduate joined, today he is a Managing Partner. In 2000 the agency sponsored a Product Design undergraduate, today he is the CEO. HAVAS LYNX have a heritage of investing in bright, passionate, ambitious talent, and 2014 was no different. Over twenty graduates joined the team this year, bringing a freshness to our thinking and contemporary ideas to our strategies.

Not so long ago our business was national, and whilst we still very much enjoy the challenges
that the local market represents, today the majority is global. It ensures our ideas have a more significant impact, that we can make a bigger difference & do more. But it also ensures that we support our local economies, generating significant inward investment to London & Manchester. In addition, we created an additional thirty jobs, or one job every two weeks.

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I’ve talked a lot about #LXAcademy, it reflects the pride I take in our achievement and the excitement for the 2015 curriculum. The #LXAcademy is not about new business, driving commercial success, or making money. It is a recognition that for all the big ideas & business strategies, we are only as good as our people. And the #LXAcademy ensures that ours remain the best.

In the last two years HAVAS LYNX have raised over £60k with a social reach of 200k for the causes we champion, and in the two weeks before Christmas we sponsored a year’s education for 42 children in Africa. It’s humbling to realise that the team’s passion to make a difference doesn’t start & stop with client budgets #HelpfulChange

#LXAcademy Awards

At the heart of an agencies success are the people. Heritage, structure and framework are simply the platform. As a business we are committed to attracting, developing, engaging and retaining the very best talent. The #LXAcademy was conceived to build core expertise, and inspire imagination, curiosity & courage, across science, creativity & technology. The #LXAcademy Awards was a celebration of everything we have all achieved in 2014 – it was our finest night.

The submissions were exceptional & really quite humbling. The team behind Care4Today combined insight & innovation, with passion & belief. Their presentation belied their engineering background & claimed the Grand Prix award. The team driving Novartis Dermatology deservedly won Creative use of Technology, as we continued our track record of being digital pioneers at EADV. Combining consumer technology with pharma insight, they quickly & efficiently created a unique point of difference in a competitive environment. Having clocked up 320,000 miles for AstraZeneca and revolutionised their Japanese market, the team of the year was entirely deserved. Not everyone can travel the world & consistently bring energy, ideas & value. One of my personal highlights for 2014 is our partnership with Lundbeck, we share vales & ambition, and I was delighted that our team recorded best online campaign, it demonstrated superb alignment of insight & innovation. It also demonstrated a client-agency relationship working in tandem, towards a shared goal, delivering results. #SKINTOLIVEIN rightly won campaign of the year, described by a Big Pharma CEO as the most progressive digital campaign in their portfolio, there was little more for the judges to add. However it was also impossible to ignore the effort, expertise & collaboration required to make something so unique and of so much value to patients & pharma.

There’s a buzz in the agency & the awards epitomised this. It has also set expectations for 2015, with regards to #LXAcademy, the awards and #LYNXLife, which is scheduled to be launched in January. Our number one priority is our talent, we believe that the rest follow. Our staff retention is at 90%, we receive 120 applicants a week and 50 people have celebrated 5 years with the business. HAVAS LYNX is a great agency with great clients, and the #LXAcademy Awards were a fitting celebration.

None of this would be possible without @carlwalker & Lisa Jones, driving the #LXAcademy, supported by the amazing internal experts and our external thought leaders. And a special thanks for organising the awards to Sam Luk & the LX  Ambassadors.

You can watch some of our inspiring LX Academy thought leadership sessions on our Youtube channel and see photos from the night on facebook and twitter10356266_785876774803420_9066949141867259432_n