Over the past 15 years, we’ve partnered with health care leaders who are working to solve some of the industry’s toughest challenges. So when the first-ever MANOVA Global Summit on the Future of Health was hosted in Minneapolis, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to attend.
Determined to answer some of the biggest questions in health care, thought leaders in business, technology, consumer marketing, academia and government explored how we can shift from a reactive approach to a preventive one. How we can ensure everyone has access to quality care at an affordable price. And how data and new technologies can be used to enable better health and drive patient engagement. Here are a few key takeaways:
Physicians Are Struggling1
Shifts in the health care system have put significant pressure on physicians, who find themselves tasked with more administrative duties, more data entry requirements and far less time for patient care. They’re also struggling with information overload, both from the medical knowledge available and from all the data they can access. This scenario has led to unfilled positions and startling burnout. In fact, physicians are two to four times more likely to die of suicide than the general public.
Loneliness Is a Serious Risk2
People who feel lonely are more likely to die from cardiovascular disease, cancer, respiratory illness and gastrointestinal causes.3 In fact, insufficient social connection is a bigger risk factor for premature death than obesity – and the equivalent of smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day.4 It’s important to note, however, that being around people doesn’t necessarily solve this issue: People can have a large social circle but still feel lonely. These findings have led some people within the medical community to consider loneliness a disease, not just a set of circumstances.
Studies have shown that patients have better outcomes if they feel connection and empathy from physicians. And, to be healthy, people need to have tolerance for others. Yet there’s a tolerance issue on both sides of the physician/patient relationship, and the fact that physicians don’t represent the diversity of the U.S. contributes to it. The good news is that medical schools are beginning to train on empathy, helping providers build it as a skill.
New Ideas Continue to Emerge
No health care summit would be complete without a discussion of emerging trends and technologies, and we definitely heard some new lingo.
Precision medicine6 – Also called personalized medicine or individualized medicine, this customized approach tailors decisions and treatments to individuals in every way possible.
Pharmacogenomics7 (PGx) – A combination of pharmacology (the science of drugs) and genomics (the study of genes and their functions), PGx studies how individuals’ genes impact their response to drugs.
Software as a medical device6 (SaMD) – SaMD performs medical tasks without being part of hardware. For example, anesthesiologists could look at a dashboard that uses advanced algorithms to monitor and make recommendations based on multiple patient-specific data points, much like autopilot on a plane.
Prescription software8 – Also called digital therapeutics, prescriptive software uses online health technologies to drive behavioral and lifestyle changes. Physicians can use these tools – often in the form of apps – to treat medical or psychological conditions.
Phygital9 – A recently coined term, phygital refers to the mindset of Gen Z, which feels comfortable in and does not draw a distinction between the physical and digital worlds.
How can these emerging technologies and trends help drive better health engagement? And how can we tackle the greater issues of physician burnout, loneliness and lack of empathy? Our research team is always interested in helping find the answers. Reach out anytime if you’d like to continue the conversation.
Josh McHugh, Attention Span Media; Michael Pitt, MD, U of MN, Pediatrics.
Andy Slavitt, Former Administrator, CMS and Founder, United States of Care.
Jennifer Latson, March 2018 Psychology Today.
Robert Brook, MD, RAND Corporation; Michael Pitt, MD, U of MN, Pediatrics.
David Perry, Indigo Health & Better Therapeutics; James Mault, MD, Cquentia.
James Mault, MD, Cquentia; Aneesh Chopra, Former CTO, United States & CareJourney.
David Perry, Indigo Health & Better Therapeutics; NightWare.
David Stillman, Gen Z @ Work; Penny Wheeler MD (CEO, Allina Health); Lesley Solomon (SVP & Chief Innovation Officer, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute); Susan Turney MD (CEO, Marshfield Clinic Health System); Arianna Huffington, Thrive Global.
2018 has been a fantastic year, and we’re filled with gratefulness for our families, friends, colleagues and extraordinary clients. Before we head into the Thanksgiving weekend, we’re taking a moment to reflect on all the bountiful work and bountiful joy we’ve experienced.
Our team is 40 people strong and still growing!
For the third year in a row, we were named one of Minnesota Business Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For.
One of our founding principals, Kasey Hatzung, was named Woman Business Owner of the Year by NAWBO-MN.
We built out a deck space next to our studio, which faces the Mississippi River.
Our work has taken us to Miami, Virginia Beach, New York City, Boston and Anchorage – just to name a few.
At the heart of all of this has been our close partnership with you. And for that, we thank you.
When you think of digital assistants, you’re likely to think of Amazon’s Alexa, Google’s Assistant or Apple’s Siri, and how they make your life a little easier by giving you reminders, providing commute updates and helping you with your online shopping. The form and function of these assistants is often top of mind and it’s easy to see how these aspects align with their respective brands and help engage the user.
But what about the personalities of these digital assistants? How do their personalities enhance the user experience, and how do you design a personality that is both helpful and fun for the user to interact with?
The personality of a digital assistant is an essential piece of the puzzle when it comes to user engagement and satisfaction. A digital assistant may have plenty of functionality, but if accessing that functionality isn’t an enjoyable experience, users might decide not to use your product. Below are four key things to consider when designing a digital assistant personality that engages users and aligns with the client’s brand.
• Conveying Empathy: The digital assistant should use a tone and language that signals empathy to the user as a way to build trust. Especially when dealing with sensitive topics like health or money, it is important for the user to feel like their digital assistant is trustworthy and understands what they need.1
• Personality Quirks: While incorporating personality quirks might seem less intuitive than building in empathy, adding minor personality flaws helps humanize interactions in a way that allows the user to relate to their digital assistant.2 Think about taking an existing personality trait of the parent brand and amplifying it or adding a nuance to it for the digital assistant.
• Creating Dialogue: Users are more likely to engage with their digital assistant if they feel satisfied with the overall experience. While the ultimate goal is for users to feel like their needs are being met, something as small as creating simple dialogue can go a long way to increase user satisfaction and engagement.3
• Gendered or Genderless?: Currently, the “out of the box” personality setting for the majority of digital assistants is explicitly or implicitly female. Conversations in the media highlight concerns that female digital assistants reinforce gender stereotypes by implying that they are more suitable to fill service roles.4 This means choosing a gender – or not – increasingly has the potential to make a statement.
If you’ve ever dealt with bill-driven insomnia or credit-card-induced stomach pains, you’ve experienced financial stress. Health care professionals have long studied the role stress plays in our personal health and, subsequently, how stress affects our quality of life and how we interact with our surroundings. As our culture becomes more adamant about treating anxiety and fostering open, honest conversations about mental health, a recent push to understand how money problems produce stress has occurred.
There’s now increased awareness of “financial stress” – the relationship between financial difficulties and their effects on health – in the health care and financial industry sectors. As a result, employers, universities and research institutions alike are actively creating and developing myriad resources to combat this crisis.
Research shows that financial stress affects different components of a person’s overall health.
As institutions continue to undertake research endeavors to understand how finances affect our health, financial stress has become a widespread experience in the United States. In 2015, the American Psychological Association published research intended to identify the most common sources of tension in the United States and concluded that 72% of Americans experience financial stress. In follow-up studies published in 2017, they determined that money is the second-most-common stressor among Americans. Other institutions have discovered that the most common symptoms of financial stress are anxiety and depression and that financial burdens also affect physical health and interpersonal relationships. Further research illustrates that, as a result, our nation’s productivity, the quality of our familial relationships and the experiences we are providing for our kids are declining.
Research shows that financial stress affects certain demographics differently, too.
Apart from the distinct ways that financial stress affects individual components of our health, different demographics experience unique challenges when they encounter this issue. Communities especially vulnerable to financial stress include parents of young children, low-income individuals, the uninsured, people with limited mobility and other disabilities, and first-generation college students, to name a few. Strikingly, the heightened vulnerability experienced by these groups can be so pronounced that, sometimes, people may fall victim to substance abuse or avoid seeking medical care altogether.
Institutional endeavors and public health campaigns are helping Americans combat financial stress.
The substantial breadth of offerings provided by employers, universities and federal agencies is impactful because, as a result of our increased awareness of financial stress, resources are being customized to address the specific needs of unique communities and individual aspects of overall health.
Apart from the impact of financial stress on Americans’ health, many studies assert that financial stress reduces the quality of work and productivity of employees. Collectively, employees across all positions in any given workplace contribute to billions of dollars’ worth of lost revenue every year. Employees spend a substantial amount of time at work worrying about finances, and their productivity is negatively affected by stress even when they actively concentrate on tasks.
These insights offer a new perspective on the age-old aphorism “health is wealth.” Check out our report on the impact of finances on health to learn more about this pressing issue and its intricate nuances. Download the full report here.
Everyone is a decision maker at some point. Decisions come in many shapes and sizes, but how do we make them effectively? The best decisions are made with a plan in mind, so here are some tips on how to make an effective decision-making plan.
Making the decision alone? Set a deadline and stick to it. This ensures you don’t overthink the choice you are making, causing “paralysis by analysis.” Look for all options and solutions and think about their potential consequences. Whether you make a list or choose an option lottery style, you can make decision-making fun. Getting perspective from friends or family is a great way to approach a decision.
Making a group decision? Make sure to get other perspectives – this can reduce bias. However, avoid getting input from too many people. You can start to diminish your decision-making power, the more people you add to the mix. Make a checklist. You want to keep your goals and priorities in mind while also looking past those goals, asking, “How will this affect us in a year?” Finally, follow up after the decision has been made to see if there are tweaks to make, and get feedback from your group.
Trying to simplify the decision-making process is essential to making sure you focus on the actual decision and how it will affect you, be it big or small. Decisions need to be made all the time. Why not make them painless? Want to know more? Download the full report.
Since Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan first IM’ed each other in You’ve Got Mail in 1998 – largely normalizing online dating in popular culture – claims that we’ve entered a “dating apocalypse” have arisen time and again. Whether or not that’s true, dating has undeniably changed in the digital age.
Dating-focused tools have largely shaped the modern romance landscape.
Beginning with Match.com’s launch in 1995, a plethora of online dating sites and apps have become available to singles looking to find love. Rather than waiting for a chance encounter that leads to finding the one, modern singles can seek out partners on popular apps like Tinder and Bumble.
In terms of meeting like-minded people, these new tools are definitely convenient. However, they also have downsides. For example, curating an online dating profile and vetting possible partners often results in the online dating burnout phenomenon. In addition, the rise in assortative matching through online dating has led to more marriages between financial “equals,” but there is also a resulting paradoxical effect of increased wealth-inequality gaps across households.
New communication tools have changed romance, too.
Of course, online dating and dating apps aren’t the only things that have changed our concepts of and behaviors related to dating, romance and love. How we communicate overall has drastically changed in the last 20 years, and tools like texting, video calling and social media have also had an impact, in both positive and negative ways.
One of the positives of digital tools is how video calling can make couples in long-distance relationships feel more connected. For example, in 2015, a public radio station in California showcased Jorge and his wife, Magda, who must live separately in the U.S. and Mexico for 10 years because of U.S. immigration law. However, FaceTime helps them close the gap. Magda often strolls around the streets of her small hometown FaceTiming Jorge on her iPad and introducing him to passersby. When the Wi-Fi is working, she even “brings” Jorge to church with her.
Brands are figuring out how to use modern romance to drive loyalty.
Brands have learned that these new digital tools have both advantages and disadvantages in human relationships and are using that information in marketing. Some brands, like Apple, tend to focus on how their technology brings people together. Others, like Dentyne and Durex, have encouraged disconnecting, tapping into people’s desire to turn off their screens and have in-person interactions. Finally, some brands are actually leveraging these new digital platforms themselves to market to customers. For example, on Valentine’s Day in 2015, Domino’s allowed Tinder users to “swipe right” and engage in a pun-filled conversation for a chance to win a free pizza, resulting in 700 Tinder matches and a potential social reach of more than 200,000.
As new digital tools continue to alter human behavior, relationships and how we think about dating, romance and love will also continue to change. To learn more about the effect digital tools are having on modern romance, download the full report.
If you’ve heard the term “Internet of Things” (IoT), it might have been related to controlling your home’s heat while you’re away or dimming your bedroom lights with a smartphone. IoT refers to inter-connectivity between the internet and everyday devices, so these are certainly two examples. Yet with $772.5 billion projected to be spent worldwide on the IoT in 2018 and 31 billion devices projected to be connected in 2020, they’re just the beginning. And this hugely growing trend has the potential to drastically impact consumers and businesses.
The IoT’s Impact on Consumers
New developments in IoT technology promise to add convenience, efficiency, and automation to many aspects of consumers’ lives including what we wear, how we interact with our homes, how we shop, how we work, how we get from place to place, and how we experience travel. What if your shirt could adjust to your body heat? What if grocery stores could completely eliminate checkout lines? What if your hotel room could lead you through a morning yoga routine on a full-length mirror? These are just some of the questions leading-edge companies are asking and, using the IoT, developers are bringing solutions to fruition.
The IoT’s Impact on Business
The IoT is also having a drastic impact on businesses in every major industry by providing constant access to a huge amount of data and allowing for even greater automation of tasks. In the healthcare realm, for example, the rise of wearables and remote monitoring is starting to help patients become more involved in managing their health and is allowing for more collaborative doctor-patient relationships. In financial services, the wealth of data from IoT-connected sensors and devices has the potential to disrupt everything from retail banking and to digital payments to consumer lending, investments, and wealth management—not to mention the revolutionary potential of the intersection of blockchain and IoT.
The Internet of Things is seeping more and more into human life every day, impacting how we experience life at home, work, and everywhere in between. How can you harness the IoT in your daily life to benefit from its key advantages: convenience, efficiency, and automation? And how can your industry and your company leverage what the IoT offers to businesses: a constant stream of data and automation of tasks?
Learn more about how the IoT is impacting consumers, healthcare, and the financial industry by downloadingthe full report.
In conversations with our clients, we hear a lot of similar pain points about marketing to B2B audiences. “Our target is extremely busy.” “Decision makers are hard to reach.” Attention lies at the heart of the challenge. How can you capture the eyes and ears of B2B buyers? Think about it as a one-two punch. First, take cues from existing buyer behavior. Second, embrace the fact that bold, breakthrough creative may be required to drive awareness and consideration.
Meet buyers where they are. How do buyers want to interact? In person? Online?
For search and discovery, buyers prefer to interact online. According to Demand Gen’s 2017 Buyer’s Survey Report1, 61% of B2B buyers initiate their research with a broad web search. Boston Consulting Group (BCG)2 research adds that “[m]ore than one-third of all customers expect the supplier’s website to be the most helpful channel.”
Only after a prospect has completed the original search and discovery phase do personalized interactions become relevant; at this point, the prospect is further down the funnel and into the phase of serious consideration. According to BCG2, more than 75% of all B2B buyers say they have only limited interaction with salespeople. However, it is imperative that the sales team is able to prove their worth, as 64% of B2B buyers said the sales team’s knowledge and insights were very important when choosing a solution provider, according to Demand Gen’s 2018 Buyer’s Survey Report.3
So, invest time in your digital experience to ensure it’s a great resource for users at the top of the funnel. The content and design should clearly and simply communicate what your company offers and why it’s better than the competition. MailChimp, for example, does an excellent job of sharing their capabilities in a simple and straightforward manner.
A little creativity goes a long way.
Once you’ve developed informative digital content, aim to engage buyers in new and creative ways to break through the clutter. Creativity can be inserted throughout your strategy, whether it be through using a tactic that’s new to the industry, catching attention through creative design elements or creating unique experiences.
For example, Rayner, a British intraocular lens manufacturing company, launched a new device called RayOne in 2016. Along with the product came an eye-opening (pun intended) B2B campaign. The campaign, titled “Not everyone can do this,” featured a contortionist, whose bendy body brought the product to life. The contortionist was featured at one of the company’s key events and drew in hundreds of surgeons. In fact, so many requested product demos that CEO Tim Clover had to step in and assist as the interested surgeons far outweighed the Rayner staff4,5.
In an era when information is on overload and prospects have the world at their fingertips, it is important for marketers to make an impact during the search and discover phase. Engage in a way that your prospect will appreciate, make the smart tactical moves to capture their attention, and then wow ’em with your creative thinking. From there, it’s time to pass the reins to your sales team and allow them to seal the deal!
You’ve probably heard the term “writer’s block.” Well, we can assure you that that feeling of getting stuck isn’t limited to those of us tossing around nouns and verbs all day. From our researchers and strategists to our accounting team and designers, we’ve all found ourselves staring at a blank sheet of paper or flashing cursor. So what’s the solution?
Inspired by our new Insight on Rapid Prototyping, we asked our fellow Fusion Hill-ers what they do to get unstuck. Here’s some of what we heard:
Change locations – By far our most popular solution, going to a coffee shop, outside, home or even another part of the building for five minutes, gives us the reset we need. Emily Sauer – a director of creative and strategy – notes, “The newness of my surroundings helps ‘restart’ the way I was thinking about the problem I was trying to solve.”
Pick up some inspiration – Reading a favorite magazine, scrolling through Pinterest or walking around a museum – an idea from senior designer Sara Rubinett – can provide just the inspiration we need. Designer Erin Stahel refers to this as “switching out of creating mode and going into ‘soaking’ mode.” Sarah Nelson, a strategy intern, shared the idea of an inspiration walk.
Make a list – Adding more things to your to-do list might seem like the last thing you want when you’re feeling stuck, but Danielle Bender – a senior research strategist – finds it’s exactly what her brain needs. “I start a list of the other stuff I need to do and try to get a few of those things done and actually feel productive. Then I can come back feeling fresh and accomplished and maybe even have some ideas from my time away.”
Make some noise – Listening to music, a podcast or the Headspace meditation app are all great ways our team resets. Jessica Helvey – a director of creative and strategy – says, “I listen to my favorite ‘magic’ song that fixes everything and makes me super creative!” Just what is that favorite song? We’re curious too.
In our quest for ways to get unstuck, we heard praise for funny memes, hot showers and even roller-coaster rides at the Mall of America. But one thing was clear: While it can be tough to take a break when we’re facing a deadline, stepping away for a bit makes us a whole lot more productive and creative in the long run.
What are your favorite ways to reboot? We’d love to continue the conversation. Visit our Insight Library to download the full report.
Think about the last time you flipped through a magazine, saw an ad for a gym or visited your favorite retailer’s website. Did you see anyone who looked like you? And did you see various races, genders, ages, religions and even disease states represented as well? If you answered yes to the second question, the brands you’re engaging with deserve a high five for their representation efforts.
The concept of representation refers to speaking or acting on behalf of someone – typically those who don’t have a voice, vote or means for being seen by those making decisions that impact them. And when it comes to marketing, the imagery we choose is an important first step.
Little choice, big applause
Slack – a project management and communication platform – recently made a seemingly little decision that got a great deal of positive attention: It chose a dark-brown-hand illustration for its “Add to Slack” button. Kaya Thomas summed up why it matters in a tweet: “It may seem like a small thing but when you see graphics over and over excluding your skin color, it matters.”1
Emojis continue to evolve
A few years ago, emojis moved from the standard yellow to including different skin tone options, and later additions included variations such as red hair. In a review of 1 billion tweets, researchers at the University of Edinburgh found that use of skin tones has been largely positive. Dr. Walid Madgy noted, “The introduction of skin tone choices for emojis has been a success in representing diversity and their extensive use shows that they meet a real demand from users.”2 Recently Apple submitted a proposal for 13 new emojis that would represent people with disabilities. The new designs include a prosthetic arm and leg, hearing aids, people using sign language, and a wheelchair.3
Marketing takes note
Cannes Lions – a major festival and awards for the creative and marketing communications, entertainment, design and tech industries – took on the topic of representation by announcing the Glass Lion: The Lion for Change award, which recognizes work that challenges gender bias and stereotypical images in marketing. The award was launched with the support of Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In organization,4 and in 2017 the “Fearless Girl” statue installed on Wall Street received the top accolade.5
So how can we be mindful of representation in our own work? In our latest Insight, we explore how next-gen is leading the way with a look at apps, social media and mental health companies. Check it out and, as always, contact us anytime. We’d love to continue the conversation.
If you’ve headed out for a round of golf lately, you may have noticed the gender gap on the greens. Men are far more likely to pick up – and stick with – the sport. Golf app 18Birdies asked Fusion Hill to explore the journey of female golfers through ethnographic research, with the goal of figuring out how to attract and retain them.
Through one-on-one in-home interviews, group interviews at Top Golf, and time spent with golfers on the course, we identified the primary motivators and barriers for women. This research serves as the groundwork for a recently announced partnership between 18Birdies and the LPGA whose aim is to promote women’s golf. Fusion Hill also designed an infographic that details the results and recommendations from the research.
The partnership and research have been featured in Forbes, in GolfWRX, and via various social media platforms across the golf world.
Want to explore a gender gap in your industry? Give us a call to start the conversation.
Fusion Hill’s unique blend of research, strategy, and creative has always encouraged employees to thrive in a collaborative, innovative, and fun atmosphere. Now we’re excited to announce that Minnesota Business magazine has once again taken note, for the third year in a row, naming us one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For. The award recognizes companies whose work environment, benefits, and overall employee happiness stand out among other workplaces in Minnesota.
Of course, we couldn’t do it without all the employees, clients, and friends who help us keep up the good vibes—from attending our rooftop happy hours to sharing our love for strategic and creative thinking. So thank you all for your part in making Fusion Hill what it is.
We look forward to celebrating this accomplishment in June alongside the other honorees. To see the complete list of winners, visit Minnesota Business magazine.