Enschede, Netherlands — I was chatting with Jeff Giermek about innovation today. He defines it as looking outside our industry and our daily worldview to find new approaches, products, and ways of doing things that can change our agency’s approach to creating healthcare experiences. We’re not out to steal the execution, he said, but learn from and embrace the strategy behind it.

So, for Jeff, I thought I’d share my latest collection of steal-worthy experiences from outside healthcare. There’s a learn-from strategy in each of them:

Grolsch’s Movie Unlocker

App developer Head and Hands created a way for beer drinkers to unlock online content with a simple tap of a bottle. The “one-touch” technology uses radio signals to transmit a unique serial number to the server and push that unlocking info to the user’s computer or mobile device, letting them watch the movie of their choice.

The idea of using a (prescription) bottle to unlock information, layers of experience or support is spot-on for healthcare (sorry, Jeff, we might have to just steal the execution on this one 🙂


UTEC – Air purifying billboard

Kim Fantine and Nate Lemke sent this one my way. In Peru, the construction industry is booming. It’s a sign of good economic times and challenging health conditions. In fact, in many of the construction zones, the air is so clogged with dust and chemicals, the workers call it suffocating.

The University of Engineering and Technology of Peru is building a campus as well. To promote the new campus they did a little advertising engineering with the first air purifying billboard. It cleans more air than 1200 trees, taking more than the university’s share of polluting particles out of the air.

For healthcare creating ads that have value is a really compelling opportunity – whether that value is at the community level like the billboard or a very personal level, like this in-ad tracker bracelet from Nivea.

Google Cardboard


You may not know this, but at least half of the technology addicts you know (including our own Jason Sankey and Rob Parsons) are messing around trying to make their own cardboard 3D viewer thanks to a very exciting construction kit handed out to attendees at Google I/O.

The kit includes cardboard, velcro, a rubber band, some magnets and lenses. From those humble beginnings comes an Oculus Rift-like virtual reality viewer.

You might remember that Facebook spent $2 billion buying the Oculus Rift technology that Google ripped off with corrugated cardboard. For Google, it was the ultimate take-that moment. But the part of it I liked so much was that they didn’t hand the attendees the product. They gave them a project. Something they could build and learn about while they were doing it. That’s a fascinating dynamic for healthcare: Creating things people will spend time with, explore and be able to show others.

About the Author:

As Managing Director of Innovation and Insights for Syneos Health Communications, Leigh is responsible for building and scaling a global team of healthcare experts who together help life science leaders better understand the complex lives, influences and expectations of their customers. Specifically, they uncover actionable insights that fuel empathy and creativity; lead co-creation events that let marketers learn from peers, trends, and new possibilities; and help clients identify the most valuable and useful new customer experiences to create.

Leigh has worked with Fortune 1000 companies to craft their digital, mobile, social and CRM strategies for nearly 20 years.She’s worked for category-leading agencies in retail, public affairs, B2B technology, and higher education. Prior to moving to Syneos Health Communications, she held several leadership roles at our largest agency, GSW.  There, she founded an innovation practice fueled by the zeitgeist and spearheaded digital and innovation thinking across the business.

Leigh has taken a special interest in complex healthcare products that can change lives in meaningful ways. She was recently a strategic lead on the 3rd largest launch in pharmaceutical history: Tecfidera. Before that she had keys roles with Eli Lilly Oncology, Abbott Nutrition, Amgen Cardiovascular, and Eli Lilly Diabetes.

A critical part of Leigh’s work is trends and new ideas. Every year, she convenes a group of trend watchers from across our global network to identify the shifts most critical to healthcare marketers. This year, she led over 250 experts to experts to focus on the most important changes in the commercial, consumer, marketing, digital and healthcare landscapes. (See reports at trends.health)

Leigh is a sought-after writer and speaker. Recognized as one of the most inspiring people in the pharmaceutical industry by PharmaVoice and Top 10 Innovation Catalysts of 2017 by MM&M, Leigh also was recognized  as a Rising Star by the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association (HBA) for her overt passion, industry thought leadership and significant contributions in new business, strategy and mentoring.