In healthcare marketing and strategy, we move quickly to navigate and maximize our time, budget and resources. In doing so, we strive to find a solution that works and we stick to it. There is often minimal time for trial and error, or test and refinement.
So what does it mean to experiment in healthcare marketing and strategy?
Experimentation involves curiosity and a sense of wonder—moving forward to explore new ways of approaching how we experience and design healthcare interactions.
With design, we embrace the notion of experimentation and open ourselves up to not knowing what solutions will arise—but most importantly, we shed the fear of not knowing. It's okay to be in a state of flux in design. There are moments of ambiguity, inherent throughout the process—particularly the beginning stages of exploration and discovery. It is at the start of the process where we must identify our purpose and set out to formulate questions—not solutions.
Design is beautifully inherent in everything that we do and experience and its practices can be applied to any situation. Design is a framework for exploring the unknown, provoking possibility and meeting the user where they are. We can use design thinking throughout all aspects of healthcare, marketing and strategy—beginning with how we engage consumers to the messages we articulate.
Now more than ever, healthcare involves crafting meaningful relationships with users of our brand. It involves a deep understanding of users as people—what motivations, values and beliefs they hold, and in turn, how an organization can resonate with those qualities.
Challenge yourself to embed design and experimentation into your work and consider the following:
Find The Time
Dedicate a few minutes each day to look for new ways to approach your work. Seeing and experiencing healthcare from a range of vantage points is an increasingly valuable practice. Use analogous thinking to look to unrelated industries, interactions and experiences to find infinitely new ways of approaching the challenges you face. Imagine everyone within your organization and in healthcare organizations across the country adopting this practice—collectively, it has the potential to transform the industry.
Apply Conscious Effort
Be intentional in your pursuit of using design. Exploring new ways of reinvention involves challenging ourselves beyond our comfort zones. Staying ahead of the curve in healthcare marketing and strategy requires us to be design thinkers in our own right—never settling with ‘what works’ and always striving to enhance the quality and reception of interactions. Demand a higher level of accountability in yourself and others to maximize the outcomes of using design.
Champion a Committed Culture
It begins with one person leading the charge to adopt the principles and practices of design and to share its benefits organically. Iteratively apply design tools to add value to your work. Building a culture dedicated to meaningful innovation lays the groundwork for using design to purposefully enhance strategy, voice and experience. So often, ‘innovation for innovation’s sake’ occurs in this industry. An overemphasis on the need to be innovative often forces us to lead with technology or solutions that resolve a symptom but not the underlying cause.
Start as an Individual
Regardless of your role within your organization, become an advocate for the notion of design thinking and adopt its principles and tools into your work. Be open with your co-workers and share your process and insights. Consider how you can work together to enhance the quality of your work and exploration through design.
Why adopt the practices of design and experimentation as a healthcare marketer or strategist?
Design calls us to seek out answers, to collaborate with others and to learn from their points of view. By embracing the discipline of design, you let go of the preconceived belief that you must have all of the answers. In choosing design, you choose to commit to an exploration—raising challenging questions without knowing the answers—this is where innovation begins.