Ogilvy Healthworld Idea Shop: Bringing Limitless Creativity to Healthcare Communications

Last year, I participated in an Idea Shop hosted by Ogilvy & Mather UK. Idea Shop is a “pop-up agency” with volunteers from Ogilvy & Mather UK giving their own time to come and offer free marketing ideas to small local businesses, charities, entrepreneurs and community projects. I spent a day at the pop-up shop in East London, participating in simultaneous 90-minute brainstorming sessions with small businesses and charities of all varieties, and walked away feeling inspired, motivated and excited about the communications industry. However, the realization that I was the only healthcare representative at the event raised some questions: are we worried we are not as creative as our consumer colleagues? Do we presume our healthcare expertise is not needed at an event like this?

The healthcare communications industry is rapidly evolving – clients are now asking how digital and social media can be applied to health. It is a big conversation and a conversation we must actively engage in.  This made me think: What if we took the Idea Shop concept and applied it to health, opening the dialogue in an informal and creative environment and offering small health-related businesses and charities the chance to join the conversation with us?

Ogilvy Healthworld Idea Shop was a multi-fold opportunity: Building important connections with the local healthcare community; offering colleagues a new creative challenge; engaging in the health communications conversation in an innovative way; giving back to the community in the way we know best.

Ogilvy Healthworld Idea Shop was communicated to the public in January 2012. The news secured coverage in Communiqué, The Holmes Report and other healthcare industry publications. We also coordinated a first-of-kind “Ogilvy Twitter Take Over”: en-masse re-tweet of the launch press release. The effect? Dominoes. Idea Shop, Healthworld and Ogilvy were all top-trending topics on Twitter in London that day.

The shop itself opened March 14 and 15 in West London and welcomed 20 health-related charities and small businesses and over 40 Ogilvy Healthworld volunteers during the two days. We advised entrepreneurs on how to promote new food and exercise offerings. We brainstormed ideas for an awareness day with a small patient charity. We coordinated presentations on what’s hot in digital, social media and health, with talks from Ogilvy digital and social media experts…and the Idea Shop was bursting at the seams with attendees.

During the two-day opening, the office was buzzing with anecdotes from the sessions, and the motivation, inspiration and sense of good feeling that came from Ogilvy Healthworld Idea Shop far exceeded everyone’s expectations.

As the shutters came down on March 15, there were lots of tired brains, smiles on faces and burning questions: what’s next for Ogilvy Healthworld Idea Shop? Watch this space.

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