Recently, as we celebrated Ketchum’s 90th anniversary, agency CEO Rob Flaherty shared that 10 percent of the focus for the occasion would be on the past, and 90 percent would be on the future. With that, I sat around a conference room table with four colleagues – all from different specialty areas – tasked with sharing our vision for the next 90 years with the New York office.
As wild ideas including media events across the galaxy and telepathic pitching filled the air, my healthcare-focused mind thought “is there a scientific journal article to back that up?” But I took less than 90 seconds to indulge this thinking, and my creative mind led me to blurt out “Yes! And we could read reporters’ minds and know exactly how to adjust the pitch in the moment so it would resonate with them.” Ultimately, we refined our ideas to those that were most significant to clients, colleagues and the community, but we also left room for some of those less comfortable ideas.
We’ve all been faced with situations at work and in our personal lives that are new, complex or downright unpredictable. In healthcare communications, our constant challenge is to understand and share complex medical information with people in a way that makes sense to them and is engaging but that also falls within the guardrails of a highly regulated industry. What’s important when working with complex information or trying to predict the unknown is to be open to new, big ideas that aren’t familiar or in your comfort zone.
Collaborate with others across specialty areas within and outside your company to help expand your perception of the challenge at hand and to broaden the solution beyond one discipline. Understand that the way we do things will constantly change as the world evolves, but trust that if we stay true to the core values, insights and goals – the WHY we do things – everything will work out OK (and often much more than just OK) in the end.
There’s no doubt healthcare communications will change as we move into the future and technology provides more opportunities for people to own their health research and decisions. We must be open to flexing with the changing environment, but we should remember that our goal is to share information with people and help encourage them to open the lines of communication about their health.
Being creative in healthcare doesn’t mean ignoring the rules and regulations. Amy McCarthy, head of Ketchum’s New York healthcare practice, encourages colleagues to construct creative solutions that our clients can actually execute. This means being open to stretching thinking for a period of time before refining it rather than shutting down an idea immediately. I challenge colleagues, clients and others to also let your inhibitions go, even in the comfort of solo brainstorming, for at least 90 seconds. Allow yourself to get past the rules, and then refine the idea so it can actually be executed.
That’s why we’re pleased to announce this special edition of Health-E Minds, Ketchum’s healthcare blog, which is dedicated to creativity in healthcare communications. We hope you’ll visit Health-E Minds and join the discussion as we explore what creativity in healthcare means, how we think it has evolved and will continue to over the years, tips from Ketchum colleagues around the network for staying creative in a regulated environment and guidance on how to help yourself and others “get past no” when it comes to championing creative ideas. This is only a starting point, and we enthusiastically welcome contributions to this ongoing conversation.
View the other blogs in the special edition here:
- Hit 90 Seconds of Uninhibited Creativity by Christa Lombardi
- Creativity In Healthcare by Nancy Hicks
- Behind the Glass: Healthcare Creativity through the Years by Health-E Minds Creativity Panel
- Healthful Creativity: How to Lead in a Regulated Industry by Health-E Minds Creativity Panel
- Getting Past No by Melissa Barry
- How Healthcare Practitioners are Helping Ideas Grow Past No by Health-E Minds Creativity Panel
Image credit: www.creativitypost.com