View From the Summit: Be a Tinkerer and a Design Thinker


A recap of day two at the Oliver Wyman Health Innovation Summit including presentations by leaders from Abbott, FedEx, Livongo Health, and many more.

Senior healthcare leaders convened in Chicago September 21-23 for the fourth annual Oliver Wyman Health Innovation Summit. The theme of this year’s event was “The Consumer Imperative: Transforming Healthcare from the Outside In.” Here’s a recap of the Main Stage Sessions from the Summit’s closing day.

Terry Stone, the Global Managing Partner of Oliver Wyman’s Health & Life Sciences Practice, opened the morning session by challenging attendees to reflect on the interconnectedness of the previous day’s topics and shared this quote: “Just because you have the ingredients, doesn’t mean you can cook like Mario Batali.”

With this, Terry drove home the concept that there are many components to health transformation, but having the right components is only step one. As a healthcare community, we need to find the right mix through collaboration and team work in order to drive positive change in the sector, she told attendees.

Terry then summarized takeaways from the Summit thus far. Here is what we learned:

  • Everyone likes different things: We need to acknowledge that every person’s preferences are different, and we all like different things. And as collaborators, it’s vital to know not one model will work for everyone.
  • The future of healthcare: Consumers are aligning their health preferences as they do their general brand preferences like Apple or Amazon. Healthcare companies need to strive for that same consumer brand passion.
  • Don’t lack innovation: People are ready for innovation in healthcare, yet we’re challenged with effectively integrating innovation to people’s daily lives.
  • New expertise is needed: As the landscape continues to transform, especially through outside industry collaboration, it’s important we simultaneously bring in new expertise to the field.
  • Be a design thinker: Change requires thinking outside-of-the-box, and we must allow ourselves to change our frame of reference. Should we become design thinkers, there is the potential to accelerate adoption to new systems and processes.
  • The big data promise: We continuously hear about big data in healthcare, but we have yet to learn how to teach people how to make this data applicable to their lives.

“We’re not lacking for innovation,” she said. “The real challenge right now is DNA and the mindset.”

She then introduced Dan Glaser, president and CEO of Marsh & McLennan Companies, as a “constant tinkerer.” Dan told attendees that the challenges facing healthcare – change, reinvention, transformation – are prevalent in many industries. “We all live in the age of VUCA: volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity,” he said.

But rather than focusing on the “gloom and doom” of so much change, Dan urged attendees to instead recognize the tremendous opportunity that exists amidst the disruption; and he encouraged leaders to foster a culture of innovation through a culture of discontent.

“Innovation comes from a permanent dissatisfaction with the result,” he said, “You need an organization where it’s safe to speak up, where people are encouraged to challenge the conventional wisdom. There is no innovation ever without dissent, without having someone in that room having the courage to put up their hand and say ‘why do we do it that way?’”

In one of the most-tweeted moments, he next told the room; “Let the satisfied and content people work for your competitors. I want a culture where there is an over acknowledgement that there is always a smarter way to do it – it may be good, it may be terrific, it can be done better.”

The session “Beyond the Checklist: Achieving Real Success in Population Health” featured panelists René Lerer, MD, President of GuideWell Mutual Holding Corporation and Florida Blue, and John Kao, President and CEO of Alignment Healthcare, with moderator Griffin Myers, MD, Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer of Oak Street Health. The discussion explored how Alignment and GuideWell/Florida Blue are reinventing care delivery for the insurer’s Medicare Advantage members with high-tech, high-touch Alignment Health Centers.

They discussed the “scar tissue” of the two-year collaboration, and their careful approach to educating both brokers and providers about the new model. “We have the best doctors and technology and hospital in the world; our goal is not to displace them,” John said. “It was working with the hospital system and working to get physicians engaged, sitting down with them, and actually working through the rules so that everybody is satisfied we can work.”

The panelists also stressed the importance of designing a truly collaborative model where “everybody plays a role and everybody can win,” as John said. “As opposed to thinking any one organization can disintermediate healthcare; that’s just not going to happen.”

The afternoon session began with the panel “Changing the Paradigm: What Innovative Employers Are Looking For and How They’re Getting It Done,” featuring Becky Atkeison of FedEx, Milt Ezzard of gaming company Activision Blizzard, and Pam Hannon of Abbott, with Renya Spak of Mercer Health and Benefits as moderator.

Renya kicked off the panel by noting the important role employers are playing in health transformation. “Employers are not only staying in the game, they are taking bold action to ignite transformation,” she said. “Employers are the conduit to 156 million healthcare consumers; and as that conduit they are the linchpin in the transformation movement.”

In discussing innovative benefits solutions, Pam noted that Abbott is working with partners to provide care management services. “If you get a diagnosis of cancer, you’re not going to think logically. You’re in panic mode and you don’t care how much it costs. You need someone to guide you through this process,” she said. “We all should think about being a consumer before we get sick, but once you get sick you’re not going to think about that.”

The panelists agreed that when it comes to engaging employees, one-size-fits all approaches simply do not work. “If you can meet people where they are, offer things that are meaningful to them, that’s a difference maker,” Becky said.

In the final session of the Summit, Mike Englehart, President and CEO of Presence Health, Dan Hilferty, President and CEO of Independence Health Group, and Glen Tullman, Chairman and CEO of Livongo Health, convened for the panel “Blurring the Borders and Boundaries: CEOs’ Forecasts on Roles in the Future Health Market.”

“We have everything we need [for health transformation],” Dan said. “It’s no longer about technology, it’s how about how do we design the right kind of systems and [put in place] the right kind of leaders to empower people.”

Mike asserted that providers’ role in the future, ironically, may be equipping the consumer so he or she doesn’t ever have to go see the physician. “We need to give them enough information so that they have all the information and all the options in front of them,” he said. “Healthcare will never go into the poorhouse by trying to enlist patients to be more proactive.”

Terry closed the session by noting that the challenge for the leaders on the panel, and all the attendees, is to be open, flexible, and comfortable with uncertainty. What we learned over the course of the Summit, she said, “is it’s really a different approach and a different way of seething things and thinking about things that will allow us to get there.”