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Actionable Innovation in the Workplace

Senior Marketing Manager Nicole Diamant, InterbrandHealth

— March 23, 2017 — Business
InterbrandHealth is a global branding company that focuses specifically on the healthcare industry. Trend Hunter recently spoke to the brand's Senior Marketing Manager Nicole Diamant, who discussed that innovating within pre-determined frameworks is what best suits her and her team's goals.

How does your team generate great ideas?

We base all of our work on strategy, and so while there’s obviously a creative process, there’s also a lot of “backboning” that we do. We’re always entering into things with the highest level of knowledge possible, something that’s great about InterbrandHealth is that we’re all really well versed in the health space. So that’s everything from understanding hospitals and insurance, to medical device companies, to diseases and drugs, how different pharmaceuticals work, to understanding the health and wellness market and wearables and fitness trends. There's variety in this base of knowledge that we have and we’re constantly refreshing that understanding based on the work we’re doing, the challenges we’re facing, what’s going on in the marketplace. There’s just a consistent level of information gathering that goes on, it’s not one moment in time where we have to start worrying about X, Y, or Z, we’re constantly updating the already substantial background that we have in this space, and making sure we stay ahead of things.

It’s a really interesting time to be in health and be innovating for health, because it’s starting to permeate so many other areas. Where it was traditionally cordoned off, that’s no longer the case. We’re starting to see a lot of overlap. So everything we do is rooted in this knowledge, research and education and it’s all strategic. Just on a really basic level, us working together is really our process in terms of generating great ideas. Everybody comes to the table both with a level of shared and specific knowledge, and those can be varied. We’re all strong thinkers and strong personalities and everyone gets together and we throw things around and work to see where things have legs. The legs part is determined by the strategic framework that we’ve already laid out for a brand or client.

What are some barriers to innovation and how do you get around them?

I think innovation for innovation’s sake can be a pitfall. What I mean by that is, a great idea is just that and sometimes not much more, if you can’t ground it in anything. For us, innovation in healthcare means changing behaviors. That’s how we identify innovation – what’s really changing? Are they really changing behaviors, are they changing how people approach health, are they changing how people adhere to medication, are they changing how people talk about health?

When we think about other innovative or disruptive brands out of our category, so something like Netflix or Uber, they really changed the behavior of the consumer. Even if the idea, in and of itself, feels almost “small,” the impact in changing those behaviors alters that marketplace completely. I think grounding things is really important, and I think part of that is understanding what’s feasible. And I mean that both from a marketplace standpoint and from an operational standpoint. I think it’s great to be creative and consider as many ideas as possible but then it all has to filter through a lens of what operationally a brand or company can do – whether that’s from a resource standpoint, human, financial, their production resources, their marketing budgets. All these questions about what is really an actionable innovation, and then pair the answers with the marketplace and our understanding of a customer journey in it. Is this innovation just cool, or is it solving a problem?

It's also important to consider where innovation fits in within a brand’s ecosystem. We work with clients to create brands that permeate the experience where the customer is at the center, and we want to understand where is innovation playing in that ecosystem and how is it helping the brand own key signature moments in the customer’s life.

Do you have specific rituals for resetting to be creative?

Changing environments is something that I like to do, and that can be as simple as moving from a desk to another desk, or into a different space in our offices. I think that becoming physical is helpful, so going to take a walk or going to a yoga class. I sometimes find by doing that in the middle of the day, my afternoon can change in terms of how my brain is functioning. I think giving yourself time is really important, it sounds weird but you almost have to carve out time that you’re just going to think, you’re not going to necessarily be executing or producing but a lot of what I do from a marketing standpoint is executional, I’m writing or posting or planning out content. One of the ways you can do that is to block out time and say “this is the time I’m going to be thinking about this, and I’m going to make peace with the fact that I’m not going to come out with a tangible thing but I’m just going to get into the head space.”

Talking to the smart people around you is one of the best ways to be creative and innovative. I’ve worked with a ton of people who are really smart and creative and clever, and being able to bounce ideas off other people, and develop ideas with them, is so important.

Do other industries inspire innovations at your company?

We absolutely look at other industries for inspiration. We’re seeing so much more overlap between health and consumer than we’ve previously seen, and some of that is coming from just the changing political landscape and the way the people are interacting with their health. A lot of it’s coming from tech and social. Food and beverage is one category that's tangential to health and wellness but they’re really creeping in on each other more and more as people are starting to look at health in a more holistic way, and be more in control of their health decisions.

What does the future of your industry look like?

We really don’t know what, healthcare is going to look like from a political perspective right now. That’s challenging. As far as general health and wellness goes, I personally think the cat is out of the bag, that people are now just more aware, they have a greater level of understanding of their health, their benefits, their options. We’ve become so immersed through tech and through social in terms of information gathering and sharing, and now we’re connecting the dots a lot more. So as health records become electronic and as people track their data through wearables and as they share more and more through social, I think we’re going to see those worlds seamlessly come together more and more.
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