Our guest today is Chris Holt. She is the Chief Experience Designer at Holy Redeemer in Pennsylvania, a faith-based institution that offers diverse healthcare services to families and patients. In this episode, she tells the story of her organization’s innovative transformation that centers on purpose and service. What she did differently – looking at experience as a way to innovate, will inspire you.
- About ten years ago, Holy Redeemer began an initiative to become more innovative as an organization. In their research, the team found a book called The Experience Economy by Joseph Pine and James Gilmore, which led to the idea of looking at experience as a way to innovate. Experience that is uniquely grounded in who they are and who they want to be as an organization is a way to not only differentiate themselves, but transform themselves.
- The team then worked with Gary Adamson of Starizon to apply the concepts of an experience economy to a healthcare organization. They took these concepts and molded them to fit their culture and their beliefs. It has become a way to provide better service AND to brand the experience as being unique to Holy Redeemer.
- The healthcare system has been under a lot of pressure to do more with less, not to mention that technology has raised people’s expectations for service. So the question was: how can we, as an organization, learn to be more innovative and stay ahead?
- Experience design was one of the ways Chris and her team discovered they could innovate. When providing an experience to someone, it should be a representation of who you are as an organization and how you want to be seen in the eyes of your customer. It’s the definition of your brand. By doing this you can transform the organization at the grassroots level while improving the experience people have with it. In short, you ‘activate’ your brand.
- Transforming the organization was not about trying to be something they’re not. It was about becoming clear on who they are and what makes them unique. They had to own that and turn it into an experience, no matter where a customer is experiencing the brand, from before entering the hospital to becoming a patient. Chris shares that in the transformation process, the organization’s values and mission remain unchanged.
- Pushing the envelope from incremental improvement to transformation meant losing the baggage and allowing yourself to dream and imagine, then working backwards without putting barriers in your way.
- It’s important to give people a context with which to dream. It needs to be a dream that’s aligned with who you are as an organization. Chris shares the guiding questions they asked themselves throughout the process, and how they boiled down their mission to an emotional connection.
- What does it mean to do your job with an emotional connection? Think purple icing. If the job description is “blue” and the experience is “red,” Chris doesn’t want people to do blue with something red on top as something extra. She wants people to live in purple, and explains more about what that means.
- My. Life. Story. is a declaration video and statement based on Holy Redeemer’s mission and values that states what the organization knows, what they’ve learned, what they believe, and therefore how they behave. Kevin invites you to watch the declaration — it’s powerful how it comes to life.
- There’s a line in the declaration that says, “Every day, we’ve received the gift of a blank page.” Chris shares that it means we’re all reading our story together. Every day you can make choices that help us as an organization, live out our brand, help you personally live out your personal purpose.
- The declaration, which is used in training, is also sent out when engaging in new partnerships and is used in recruitment efforts. This gives everyone involved a better understanding of the organization, who they are, and whether values align. Kevin gives suggestions on how you can implement something similar, even if you don’t have a formal video.
- What is happening in Spark now? Plenty. They have a talent agency, a marketing arm, consultants that help people in the health system apply the concepts in their own areas, a team of producers that helps elevate normal meetings and events into experiences, life coaching services, and the Experience U team that delivers all the non-clinical education and leadership development training. Their goal is to model the future of the health system, as they also serve communities beyond Holy Redeemer.
- Chris shares how this entire process has changed how she sees the people she works with, and how it’s work that’s both energy giving and energy fulfilling. When people who are aligned move forward in a new direction and see things differently — it’s that spirit. It’s that spark.
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The Experience Economy by Joseph Pine on Amazon