Health Care Giant Conducts Customer Conversation for 150

In May, a Fortune 50 health care company gathered its top 150 IT leaders for two days to determine how to better serve a diverse set of customers in a fast-changing landscape.

Based in part on The Difference’s approach in 2011, the CTO and CIO decided to aim high in this 2012 conference, inviting the Group Presidents of two businesses and nine senior external customers to the collaborative working session.

The Difference design team created an interactive experience for nine customers to discuss needs, expectations, and key opportunities. The interaction leveraged hand-drawn visuals, created by Caroline Adams, Nate Dailey and Alicia Bramlett, rather than PowerPoint slides. The work of 18 teams culminated in the generation of customer-approved value propositions across the enterprise, and the outcomes led to the CTO to comment, “in all my years here, we have never, ever thought about the customer in this way.”

To accentuate the core attributes of the team, Ben Cikanek, Kevin Bain, and Doug Cheek from The Difference devised a “30-second video commercial” module that brought the house down and resulted in a standing ovation. The video team, led by Ryan Romsey and Chris Foster, set up four video studios with green screens for filming the participant-written and participant-acted commercials. Then, the creative team worked through the night to edit the videos, adding music, sound effects, and computer-generated backdrops to create impactful and relevant pieces.

The following morning, the commercials were shown to the group of 150 as “a word from our sponsors” with breaks in a Jeopardy-style Trivia Game. In this trivia game, participants were tested on knowledge of the Health Care industry, business goals, technology trends, and customer perspectives. The video commercials brought humor, specificity, and metaphor to their exciting path ahead.

The session finished with a link back to the customer through six, simultaneous, Use Case simulations. This activity required a team to develop a fully-crafted response to a realistic business scenario. The teams had two separate customer check-points and a final, judged report out of their findings to specific “customers”, role-played by the Executive Team.

Following the simulation, the breakout teams reflected on the experience. What turned out to be most critical was fast prioritization of a few key decisions, including:  (1) determining the most critical questions to ask the customer right out of the gate, (2) identifying the highest impact messages that customers need to hear all along the way – not just at the end, and (3) having the right people and personalities on the team to deliver those messages.