The world is facing new challenges to stay connected. This pandemic has illuminated many of the silos and gaps that exist in both society and organizations. Making connections between people, information, and services has never been more important. We are seeing organizations adapt and fast forward transformations that have been long in planning. One of the most valuable contributions of a leader is to reduce silos and help make connections. To do this requires a good degree of awareness, empathy, and appreciation for perspective. I wanted to share some perspectives on connectivity that may help shape your leadership.
1. Human Connectivity: Quarantine has forced people to change their behavior and find new ways to connect to people and communicate. In a distanced world the value of stories, kindness, and collaboration across cultural and digital divides has been reinforced. Some of the most inspiring stories illustrate the power of communities coming together to support each other, teach each other, and to be there for the most vulnerable members. Communities get sick together, but they also get well together. Our business is community wellness.
During your next planning session, map the communities of care, support, and education that influence and shape your therapy area. We spend a lot of time on markets, health systems, and target audiences while neglecting the significance of community to positively impact healthcare. The value you bring to communities should be a key indicator of success for your marketing and PR teams. Digital is most powerful when it enables and amplifies these human connections.
2. Information Connectivity: The volume and diffusion of information outpaces our ability to organize, prioritize and understand it all. Covid-19 has given everyone a glimpse of the experience many people struggle with trying to understand a new health condition on a daily basis. There is still a large health literacy, financial literacy, data literacy, and basic literacy divide that has to be respected when developing education and marketing programs. Remember the early state of confusion and volume of misinformation and craft content that clears up versus clutters. Explore the formats that helped bring you clarity: simple diagrams, expert explanations, demonstrations, local leaders, etc.
For the parents who are home schooling or have kids taking virtual classes, many have a new appreciation for educators. Value the educators who have a unique skill to communicate effectively regardless of format – seek them out, learn from them, and partner with them. As an industry, we invest a lot in patient education; use your insights to elevate the delivery of your educational efforts.
3. Technology Connectivity: This quarantine has been an inflection point for expanded technology adoption. Generations have had to explore new digital communication vehicles to stay connected to family. Streaming consumption has shot up. Telehealth has become even more relevant with many health companies seeing jumps in usage as people seek to stay out of the health system. The need for accurate data has been spotlighted as well as the potential for intelligent analysis of data to identify and predict trends. These technology shifts can be used to better connect patients to care, experts to each other, and your teams to insights.
Organizations have had to become virtual and pressure test their business cultures. Think about your own virtual meetings and remember what moments over video or phone made an impact on you. On conference calls, everyone has something in common, a unifying circumstance. How do we create more positive unifying connections? Video meeting platforms have transformed into broadcast centers and interactive workshops. Virtual interactions don’t have to be impersonal, use this experience to push non-personal to become non-physical.
4. Service Connectivity: Imagine a world where everything had to be delivery or take away? In much of the country that day is now. Small businesses have been forced to rapidly shift their business models to stay alive. Service workers have had to play essential roles. Many small businesses are pitching in to help provide community meals. Service isn’t just logistics, it’s about emotion and human connection. How well do your services scale and connect across generations and communities? During quarantine, museums, theaters and universities have made more of their content accessible to a virtual world, bringing physical experiences to life for many people, even to those who did not have access before the stay-at-home mandates. Many organizations have content that is physically bound, hard to find, or not ADA compliant that could be similarly freed.
Quality service is bound to time – the time service workers spend, the time it takes to interact with a service, the time is takes to deliver a service, etc. Time is precious. Think about how you’ve used your time recently and the time you value. Use these insights to make your patient services more streamlined and credible answers easier to find.
5. Idea Connectivity: One bright spot in this pandemic is it has sparked ingenuity and compelled meaningful transformation across society and business. This article from the Smithsonian gives a glimpse of the healthcare changes spurred by the 1918 Flu. This is an opportunity for all organizations to listen and learn from each other. We are seeing examples like the GSK and Sanofi Covid-19 vaccine team-up that show the type of collaboration that’s possible. With more conditions requiring combination products from multiple companies there is an opportunity for novel patient support collaborations. Small business innovation is an important investment for advancing science. A recent press release from NASA highlights how they are approaching their Small Business Innovation Research fund. Learning from, thinking like, and partnering with small businesses can be the catalyst for disruptive innovation.
New services, communication tools, and social norms are fertile ground for solving much larger issues. These issues won’t be solved in silos, rather, they require new approaches to collaboration and innovation. They will be solved by communities, by organizations with purpose, by leaders with compassion, and people who believe as an industry we can continually do better.