Bas Leerink: Collaboration is the new competition in healthcare

By Healthcare, News

The healthcare landscape is changing. Third parties are making their entrances, the sector is searching for more collaboration and at the same time feeling the need for specialization. How can the branch find a balance? IG&H Healthpartner Bas Leerink offers his vision with regards to five big challenges.

Leerink joined IG&H as a partner of the Health practice in January. Prior to this, he was chairman of the executive board at Medisch Spectrum Twente, where he was highly praised for helping the hospital emerge stronger from trying times and making the organization more transparent. He has also worked as a director and executive board member at health insurer Menzis.

  • The healthcare landscape is very fragmented. What needs to happen in order to create more unity?

In our healthcare system, many issues depend on each other. The government decides many things, but hospitals and insurance providers also have a big influence. I would like to see all of these parties work together more closely, deciding priorities and choosing a course based on this. At the moment this occurs far too infrequently, as far as I’m concerned.

Since the start of this year, I have been a future scout for the province of Flevoland. I was hired to formulate a vision regarding healthcare in the province starting in 2020. We at IG&H aren’t there to analyse what went wrong during the bankruptcy, but to find out how we can reach an agreement with all stakeholders to continue in the same direction. You can see that there has been much damage done to the balance between municipalities, doctors, insurance providers, and specialists. They need each other in order to be able to help patients, but they aren’t able to find each other at the moment.

I believe that IG&H’s role is to make it possible again. Together with every party involved, we look at how we can leave the past behind in order to be able to once again focus on caring for the patient. That’s what we are doing it for in the end, not in order to sustain an institution. I look for harmony and connection within organizations and enjoy being able to contribute to this.

  • In the past six years, you have been intensively involved as a hospital director in Value Based Healthcare projects. When is this method useful for healthcare institutions?

Because of the focus on regulations and costs, we sometimes lose sight of how we in healthcare can systematically improve the outcome for the patient. The Value Based Health Care method makes sure the focus is on the patient. You should not ask directors or managers to think about this subject, as patients and professionals are able to perform this task much better. As a board, you must help to facilitate and execute these improvements.

In my previous function, we used Value Based Health Care (VBHC) as an improvement tool between professionals of 7 hospitals, united in the Santeon group.  We were able to create multidisciplinary teams that improved outcomes and costs for patients in 7 hospitals for 11 medical conditions. And the improvements were significant! Not everybody is convinced that VBHC is the way formard for health care, and indeed it is not a solution for all problems. But it definitely is a very powerful way to improve outcomes for patients. At IG&H can create added value in these discussions by bringing people together,  And facilitating the creation of improvement dashboards from the diverse systems that are being used in hospitals.

  • Another current issue is the call for specialization in healthcare. What is your take on that?

In every branch of business that is currently developing, there is a call for specialization. That is now also the case in healthcare. An important question in this debate is whether it is possible as a board of directors of a healthcare organization to make sure that every part of the organization you are responsible for functions optimally. Can these specializations develop according to the latest state of the art standards?

Many directors believe that it is possible for hospitals to specialize in various fields. I think that this is not feasible in the end. Take a look, for example, at the field of pathology. You are substantively educated to do that work; it’s a profession. At the same time, this job is very much in development due to technical possibilities, such as digitalization or new molecular possibilities for ideal diagnostic performance, for example. I don’t think that it is possible for every hospital to be at the forefront of these new developments and to be able to offer these to patients.

  • At the same time, we are seeing that more and more commercial parties are taking over specialized issues in healthcare. How should hospitals deal with this?

We are already seeing that certain laboratories are working together with each other, allowing them to bundle their areas of expertise. In the future, more of these new groups will come into being, maybe even from overseas.

This development is approaching and brings a few questions with it. Hospitals are no longer owners of these organizations. That is new –and exciting- for us in the healthcare branch. How will hospitals and other companies come up with offers and in which way can collaboration be productive? It is important to expressly think about the long term and the value for patients with regards to this.

  • It is clear that e-health is going to play an increasingly large role in healthcare. How should the branch respond to this?

You can already see that hospitals are taking steps in this direction. For example, they are creating patient portals, making medical information such as blood test results available at home. In this manner, it’s possible for patients to follow their own care processes.

Big tech players also collect various data, such as the Apple watch. This information can be connected to a personal platform which allows you to see health trends.

I don’t think it will be long before these kinds of trends are represented everywhere. At the moment, hospitals are not able to respond to them. They are stuck in all kinds of ICT systems and packages that prescribe our internal processes.

If they do not respond in a timely fashion to these developments, they will be overtaken by big players and lose control. That’s why it is important that they start thinking now about ways to for the client to also occupy centre stage in the field of technology.

There are various ways to make this possible. At IG&H, we are big supporters of platform technology. That makes it possible to create a flexible shell around the pre-existing ICT structure, allowing fast and effective applications to be developed. This allows you to control the costs and maintain control as an organization. 

Leadership is the key to the successful realization of flexibility

By News, Organizational transformation

Agile is hip; many organizations have truly embraced this way of working. However: it does not always create the expected flexibility. ‘Agile working means: even more meetings in my schedule!’, managers in The Netherland’s corporate world are complaining. At the other end of the spectrum, employees are not experiencing enough involvement from their managers. What’s going wrong?

Many of the organizations experiencing frustration with the Agile work methods have one thing in common: they are ‘fake-Agile’ working. Whilst teams work in short sprints, direction and management don’t adjust their own work methods. They continue to initiate large projects with changing one-team setups, only to guide them based on budgets, micromanagement and deadlines.

It’s a pity, because if Agile is truly embraced and thoroughly implemented, it has many advantages compared to the traditional (‘waterfall’) working method. Because finished products are frequently validated, this method ensures a quicker time to market as well as increased flexibility. Teams also experience more work enjoyment.

The role of leadership is crucial

Because there is a lack of a communal way of working between leadership and delivery teams, the teams are still being guided following the old method. All this despite the Agile philosophy’s requirement of a different style of leadership. This creates irritation and the frustration experienced on both sides is simply a logical consequence of this.

If an organization wishes to truly work Agile, the leadership must also adjust their behaviour and leadership style.

Five tips from practical experience for more Agile leadership:

  1. Choose consciously and link it to the most important priority

    The choice to work Agile is a transformation which requires behavioural change from everyone, at every level. Are you truly prepared to take this route and make the sacrifice of temporarily working less efficiently before experiencing increased flexibility? Follow and thoroughly live following the method and link it to the most important priority of the organization to show that there is no way back.

  2. Allow yourself help and stick with it

    Transforming is complex and at the moment that it becomes nerve-racking, one tends to fall back into old habits. Change can be unruly and comes with setbacks. Stick with it at times when others may have given up. Where Agile coaching in delivery teams is becoming more common, leaders, on the other hand, are becoming less agile. Leading Agile teams is really different than regular waterfall line management. It’s extremely difficult to unlearn years of trained and performed waterfall management. This is why you should allow yourself a coach!

  3. Make teams successful

    In an Agile organization, multidisciplinary delivery teams are the success factor when realizing flexibility. Therefore, the most important task of leaders is to make their teams successful. Give teams guidelines (guidance) within which they can act autonomously. Develop the teams with regards to independent choice-making. Challenge them with regards to the realization of outcome rather than output. Moreover, it is important to show involvement by being present in sprint reviews. These are the moment to get a feeling for the delivery and to relay new insights to teams.

  4. Stimulate experimenting and client validation

    In many corporates, there is an overwhelming aversion to risk and ‘first time right’ is so engrained that innovation and new functionalities are only released when they’re 100% ready. This is at odds with the Agile philosophy and this old way of thinking frustrates delivery teams as well as hampering flexibility. Therefore, one should stimulate experimenting and the validation of new functionalities with users.

  5. Be brave

    Dare to make mistakes; be brave. Differing ways of working within the same organization- waterfall in the case of leadership and Agile in the case of delivery teams- must stop. Leadership must take the first step towards this. They will need to communicate with one another and their direct-reports in order to show different behaviour, both top down and bottom up.


  6. Partially thanks to technological developments, the speed with which organizations will need to adjust internally to new market situations is only going to increase. Change is the only constant, Agile is here to stay and going back to waterfall is unlikely. Leaders who are inflexible will be overtaken. It’s about time that they become Agile.

    Written by: Johan Makkinga (Manager Organizational Transformation), Myrthe van Stralen (Consultant Organizational Transformation) 

IG&H Best Workplace 2019

By IGH, News

Once again, consultancy firm IG&H has been voted Best Workplace 2019, ranking in the top 10 in the ‘midsize-employer category.’ The organization achieves an exceptionally high score on camaraderie, among other things – which is all the more striking considering that last year, the company grew from 100 to 150 employees. This expansion didn’t impact intensive collaboration: 97% experience a sense of family or team spirit, and 99% described the working atmosphere as “friendly.”

IG&H provides guidance on end-to-end transformations in the fields of finance, health, and retail. Notable clients of the consultancy firm include Bol.com, ING, and the Princess Máxima Center for Pediatric Oncology.

“Close group of people with a tremendous drive”

What makes the organization unique is the high degree of camaraderie between co-workers – a domain which earned a 97% survey score rating. Employees state that they can be themselves. They experience a socially friendly, welcoming atmosphere and team spirit. “To find such a large group of people who have such a tremendous drive and ambition to make a difference, combined with very close-knit friendships, is absolutely unheard of,” says a consultant in the survey report.

One of the ways in which the organization fosters friendships between co-workers is by organizing a multi-day company event four times a year. This event revolves around ‘fun,’ ‘training,’ or ‘inspiration.’ Employees are also encouraged to initiate sports-related activities. Last year, a group of employees came up with the idea to participate in a half triathlon in Portugal. Eventually, approximately fifty percent of the organization participated, and several employees traveled all the way to Portugal to cheer on their co-workers.

Secure feeling as a foundation for optimal growth

Rooted in a strong belief that satisfied employees lead to satisfied customers, the organization puts its employees’ development and growth first. The foundation for optimally challenging people is a secure feeling – which, according to the survey, 84% of employees experience at IG&H.

To simultaneously strengthen this foundation and sufficiently challenge employees, IG&H collaborates with the IMD Business School. All partners and directors complete the intensive High Performance Leadership Program at IMD. Additionally, the training institute and IG&H have jointly developed a three-day personal leadership course, which gives employees insight into their behavior and the way in which past experiences affect them – all under the guidance of a coach. These coaches are co-workers who have completed the High Performance Leadership Program at IMD.

As it’s unique for a midsize company to invest this amount of time and money in staff training, the Switzerland-based business school has included IG&H as a case study in its training program. Notable IMD alumni include Mark Rutte (the Dutch prime minister), Paul Bulcke (former CEO of Nestlé), and Ian Charles Steward (Wired).

About IG&H

IG&H operates in the finance, retail, and health sectors. From its Utrecht-based office, the consultancy and implementation firm helps organizations realize the transformation to radical customer focus, setting high standards for itself and its working method. Using in-depth knowledge and a personal approach, IG&H takes its customers by the hand to help them improve the sector.

What is ‘Great Place to Work?’

Once a year, Great Place to Work lists organizations that score well above average as employers. These ‘Best Workplaces’ are determined through a test which uses 58 statements related to trust, pride, and fun. In addition, the survey focuses on nine themes in the employer’s policy, including the onboarding process, development, and remuneration. This year, a total of 38,000 employees spread over 140 different organizations cast their votes and participated in the associated survey.

IG&H Dutch Mortgage Update: Mortgage market growth caused entirely by refinancers

By Banking, Mortgage Update, News

Dutch mortgage revenues grew in 2018 from 101 billion euros to 106 billion euros, according to consultancy bureau IG&H’s Dutch Mortgage Update. Compared to the fourth quarter of 2017, the number of mortgages shrinked considerably (8.7 percent). That was the largest decrease since the fourth quarter of 2013. As a result, the full growth in the mortgage market has come entirely from people who are not moving to new homes.

The number of mortgages also fell throughout 2018; by 2,1 percent to a total of 346.000. The average mortage sum few by  grew by 7.2% to 306,000 euros; the highest ever. Whilst the number of starters and existing homeowners in the market fell, the number of refinancers grew from 78,000 to 96,000 in 2018. This makes it the highest number ever. “These signs point to mortgage lenders not succeeding in retaining their existing customers”, says Joppe Smit, senior manager at IG&H. “These signs point to mortgage lenders not succeeding in retaining their existing customers.”

Lowest mortgage revenue growth fourth quarter 2018

The total mortgage revenue during the fourth quarter of 2018 was 28 billion euros; a growth of 2.2% over the third quarter. This is the lowest growth rate during this period since 2011.

Smit: “In previous years, there was additional market growth during the final quarter. This year we will not see as much of this. The lower number of granted mortgages and the smaller growth of the mortgage sums play a role in this. Moreover, the maximum lending capacity in past years was lowered at the end of the year, which always ensured extra volume during the final quarter. The lowering of the capacity did not happen this year.”

The shares of major banks during the final quarter sank to 50%, the lowest point in 3 years. Refinancers were responsible for 8.4 billion euros of the total mortgage revenue during the final quarter. The shares of starters (€5.9 billion) and existing homeowners (€13.8 billion) fell by 12 and 15 percent respectively compared to the fourth quarter of 2017. Foreign parties rose slightly to 4,7 percent. Both the largest grower and shrinker is an insurer this quarter. The market share of Nationale Nederlanden increases by 2.05 percent, while Aegon surrenders 3.31 percent.

Written by: Joppe Smit (Senior Manager), Lisa Klein Goldewijk (Banking Consultant) and Niels Roelofs (Banking Consultant).

How can you get the most out of your employees in three (proven) effective steps?

By News, Organizational transformation

Do you ever get the feeling that you aren’t winning any battles with your current team? That your employees reject responsibility and lack operational capability? You’re not the only one. IG&H encounters this problem often during client inquiries. With these three simple steps, you will get more out of your employees.

Do you prefer to read? Scroll down.

Step 1 starting: ‘purpose’ as the basis of performance

People have a natural need for development and progress (A. Maslow, 1967). Despite this, only one third of employees in the Netherlands goes with a sense of enjoyment and involvement. That has consequences on the work floor; those who do not feel involved are less likely to work hard in order to perform well. As a manager, you can use this natural need for development by giving the employee’s purpose a place within the team’s objectives.

A large retailer asked IG&H to assist them with this. One team member only showed enthusiasm for a certain type of project. By having a discussion about her personal purpose as well as the manager’s, both parties became more understanding of each other’s ambitions. By doing this, the manager was able to more effectively utilize the employee on projects in line with her goals. In this manner, the company was able to profit more from her qualities and the employee was more motivated and strongly involved with the achievement of the team goals.

Step 2 keep going: ratifying

Influencing and sustaining positive and proactive work behaviour can be done following a simple ABC: A stands for Antecedents, B for Behaviour, and C for Consequences.

In order to ensure that the team members of the aforementioned retailer were able to more effectively attain team goals, a daily stand-up was introduced in collaboration with IG&H; in other words, a precondition (A) in order to help the team to work together optimally and in order to stimulate (C) desired behaviour (B).

During the stand-up, team members were motivated to share help requests (B) via a ‘team standard’ (A). This dictated that colleagues, in these cases, must always offer help. By then ratifying the helpful behaviour (C), the chance that this behaviour is repeated becomes higher.

Around 80% of our behaviour is dictated by a punishment or reward that stems from our approach (Thorndike, 1874-1949). Coaching the application of ‘C’ is therefore crucially important.

Step 3 securing: culture in which making mistakes is allowed

Thereafter, it is important to create a culture in which mistakes are seen as possibilities for learning and growth (C. Dweck, 2012). Through this, employees will try more things out, experiment, and show courage, allowing them to be the best that they can be.

As a manager, you can make time during the stand-up for fuck-ups. Focus on the question of what the individual employees and the team have learned from the mistake. Ensure that an employee is appreciated rather than punished for sharing. It helps if the manager also shares his or her own fuck-ups. Look into the process with the team or the individual; what could have been done better here? Research shows that receiving feedback on the applied strategy works better than feedback on end results. Team members learn more effectively from mistakes, take on more challenges, and enjoy their tasks more (Dweck, 2012).

A successful organization

After following the steps mentioned above, the team of the big retailer worked together with more involvement and motivation, with a growth-centric mindset. The team members turned out to be able to realize team goals in a self-motivated, proactive way using the correct preconditions.

The aforementioned steps to optimization will also make your company’s teams stronger and more effective. Do you want more information? Feel free to contact the Organization Transformation Team at IG&H.

Written by: Eline Reurik (Consultant Organization Transformation) and Myrthe van Stralen (Consultant Organization Transformation).

Artificial Intelligence… Low-code… Public Cloud… Which technology trends should retailers bet on NOW?

By News, Retail, Technology

Technology trends are rapidly changing the retail sector. Retailers looking to remain relevant in the future must primarily focus on two developments: High Productivity Platforms and Artificial Intelligence. This became clear during an analysis by IG&H.

In contrast to other technology trends such as Internet of Things, blockchain or virtual reality, High Productivity Platforms and Artificial Intelligence (AI) have been identified by Gartner as trends that have reached a mature stage, which enables them to disrupt the retail sector. Both High Productivity Platforms and AI intervene in each link of the retail chain, giving them a new dimension. That’s why IG&H believes that retailers who embrace these developments now greatly increase their chances to remain a frontrunner in their market.

 

High Productivity Platforms; react more quickly to developments

A High Productivity Platform can be based on generating code, as well as on model-driven execution. Low-code, for example, is an increasingly well known High Productivity Platform for software development based on object generated code.

The main business advantage of this technology is the ability to build new functionality quicker and at substantially lower cost, and the success of ideas can be evaluated more rapidly. One method of doing so is ‘rapid prototyping’. Retailers who adopt this trend are able to test new propositions quickly in changing market conditions and with little risk. A striking example is a leading food discounter which temporarily offers a more extensive luxury assortment through an online channel during the holidays. The technology offers countless applications; from small mobile apps to large back-end systems. Because of this, High Productivity Platforms are suitable for medium sized businesses as well as larger multinationals.

The accelerated development of applications shortens the time-to-market with 70 per cent in comparison to traditional packages. This is especially interesting when the development of applications requires customization. In comparison to traditional solutions, total cost of ownership is reduced to a third, a recent study by Gartner found. Next to development time, High Productivity Platforms offer big advantages when it comes to operational controllability in terms of ease of integration, altering applications, and the assurance that applications keep working after the update. All of this against lower maintenance costs.

Boost business with Artificial Intelligence

Data science is a multidisciplinary domain for more effective data gathering and analysis to facilitate better business decisions. Different techniques and algorithms can be applied, such as Machine Learning and AI. Deep Learning, an AI algorithm, is an advanced follow-up technique based on neural networks. Both Machine Learning and AI algorithms are often self-learning, which improves the effectiveness of applications over time and means the complex underlying mechanisms don’t have to be fully understood.

In the current retail landscape, we are increasingly seeing applications supported by AI and Machine Learning. There are ample examples of AI being applied in the chain, from bots in customer service with active customer dialogue, to creating supply chain flow by proactively sending goods to locations even before consumers made their purchase.

Even at the heart of retail, category management, we see AI making a difference with better integral business control. AI can, in contrast to error-prone and often department-coordinated traditional ways of working, make an accurate prediction of sales based on numerous chain factors, leading to better purchasing decisions. Our experience tells us that this prediction is accepted in up to 90% of the cases, leading to higher shelf availability and lower residual stock, in combination with higher efficiency at the department concerned.

In the fashion industry, for example, algorithms are being utilized to predict trends earlier and more precise. With Machine Learning, this enables offering personal discounts to the customer. Through enhanced customer personalization higher conversion ratios can be achieved and purchasing can be done more accurately. This results in lower residual stocks. The urgency is confirmed by the expectation that by 2020 more than 85% of retail transactions will be based on AI.

Dawn of exponential technological developments

Exactly the same reality holds true for us as consultancy. We see that our customers have a need for support with a large number of technologies and trends. To meet this need, our firm has more than doubled in size the last few years in the domains of Analytics and Technology.

The current and expected trends make us realize that we are at the dawn of exponential technological developments. To remain relevant and flexible as a retailer it is crucial to make the right choices. AI… Low-code… Public Cloud… On which technology trend will you bet?

Written by: Iris Huisman (Analist Retail), Michiel van der Werf (Consultant Retail), Sjoerd Norden (Consultant Retail) and Bram Gilliam (Director Retail)

Behaviour as the key for impactful transformation in the mortgage sector 

By Banking, News, Organizational transformation

The most impactful transformations for mortgage brokers focus not only on a new strategy, process or system, but also on the behaviour that goes with it. IG&H’s years of experience in the sector have proven this time and time again. Transformation trajectories often only accomplish a part of their original goals due to the fact that employees (and executives) eventually fall back into their old habits. How to prevent this as an organization? 

The mortgage sector is changing fast; technological developments are happening quicker and quicker, customer behaviour is changing and laws are being altered. Mortgage advice, for example, is changing towards a hybrid model. Clients begin the advice trajectory online so that the mortgage advisor can focus on only the most important decisions during their discussion. Smart software and data science technology are also making it possible to respond more effectively to the personal needs of individual clients. 

In practice, we often see advisors making little use of the new possibilities available to them. For example, the steps that a client has followed online are often not used, resulting in double the amount of work. It is also often the case that they do not know how to use new information, such as conclusions stemming from data science research, in practice. 

Consistent guidance

A new way of work calls for adjusted behaviour. It is often the case that employees are told to teach themselves new habits, which often results in them falling back into their old habits. Those who wish to create transformations with real impact on the organization will need to guide employees on the work floor consistently. If this does not happen, many applications and changes will be only partially utilized. 

How do you coach employees after a change in working conditions?

A few necessary basic principles for those who want to create lasting behavioural changes became obvious to us after countless transformation trajectories with mortgage brokers: 


If working conditions change, higher management often has the tendency to tackle problems that originate on the work floor directly using solutions which they have used before. Though this may sound logical, it can have a perverse effect. Previously used solutions have been proven to have an unsatisfactory effect. For this reason, do not immediately spring into action. 


Identify the root cause of the behaviour. We often see that the problem is literally the tip of the iceberg. The behaviour is merely what is visible to us. What is causing it to happen? Which convictions and motivations are strengthening or hindering? Begin working with this ‘undercurrent’ in mind. 

An often seen example is that employees fail to ask for help from each other or their executives. This results in them drowning in work or not sounding the alarm on time if they are experiencing problems. It turns out that people often do not dare ask for help. They are impeded by the belief that they should not disturb somebody else. 

This root cause is important; don’t tell people that they should ask for help more often, opt to discuss the problem during a meeting. Ask the entire team if they experience inconvenience when somebody asks for assistance. The majority of times this is not the case and this knowledge will ultimately lower the threshold. 

A second handle that we use often is the ‘change curve’. Everyone follows the same psychological trajectory from denying a problem, to frustration or resistance and, ultimately, acceptance. This is the case for both employees and executives, though some may start the trajectory sooner than others. The speed of the trajectory can also differ; one person can process a change within minutes, another within months. Some people may never be able to.

Higher management often recognizes the change much earlier than the rest of the organization. Therefore, they experience the change curve sooner. By the time the rest of the organization is informed, they have already accepted the change themselves and often cannot comprehend why the rest of the organization is not yet ready

Take, for example, a certain organization that went through a major change of direction. After months of meetings about what was needed, the management decided to share the outcome in a staff meeting. To their great displeasure, there was no immediate enthusiastic response. Half of the group did not see the impact and the other half wondered what this meant for their job. Taking people into the thought process at an early stage can help speed up the change curve.

Those wishing to prevent their employees from reverting told behaviour will need to guide the new work methodology on the work floor. Attention to both antecedents and consequences are of the utmost importance during this process. 

Shaping the correct conditions is a prerequisite for the creation of new habits. Employees must know what is expected of them and how they can achieve these goals. Organizations spend 80% of their energy on average on the creation of these antecedents. 

It is noteworthy that these prerequisites only play a small part in bringing about behavioural changes on the work floor. The largest part of the behavioural changes is caused by attaching consequences to the behaviour. This is crucial to changing somebody’s daily routine. 


In our experience, it often helps to let teams make explicit agreements over desired results and collaboration. Often, the existing situation has grown in a certain way, and it can do no harm to shake it up a bit. After this, create moments for feedback. For example, keep a frequent team dialogue, or ensure that an executive pays attention to the agreements, both written and behavioural.

Written by: Joppe Smit en Jorien Weerdenburg

IG&H and GroupLife combine forces

By Banking, Health, Insurance, News, Pensions, Retail

Consultancy firms IG&H and GroupLife are moving forward together under the name IG&H, resulting in a specialized consulting group that is able to help realize business and technology transformations from start to finish.

Both companies have in-depth sectoral knowledge, close customer relationships, high quality people and service. By combining their expertise in strategy, organizational transformation, data analytics and technology, they will be able to more effectively help organizations with transformative matters. The new consortium includes more than 220 specialized professionals.

Execution of strategy requires integral approach

Jan van Hasenbroek, managing partner IG&H: “The rapid developments in the technology sector have an enormous impact on the business models of our clients. In order to remain successful in the future, our vision must include addressing organization and technology together. This will lead to corporate strategies being immediately operable, providing concrete results and sustainable organizational transformation. GroupLife has an impressive track record and a proven methodology in business modelling, implementation of technological platforms, and data management. That’s why a collaboration fits well within IG&H’s strategy to continually strengthen its technological ecosystem.”

Wim Groenen and Tom Bottinga, co-founders of GroupLife: “In previous projects with joint clients, we discovered that we had similar ideas about how to address complex business transformations. IG&H knows how to combine its expertise in strategy, data analytics, technology and organizational transformation with sector knowledge. We are delighted with the collaboration and together with IG&H we can make an even greater contribution to the success of our clients.”

About IG&H

IG&H is committed to help leading organisations in the financial services, retail and healthcare sectors. With 160 involved and enterprising professionals, the consultancy and implementation firm, based in Utrecht, helps organizations take steps towards radical customer centricity. They set high standards for themselves and their way of working. With in-depth knowledge and a personal approach, they aid their clients to help them improve the sector. IG&H is recognized as a ‘Great Place to Work’ and puts a lot of emphasis on a high net promotor score.

Technological innovation is growing exponentially; how does your company keep up?

By News, Technology

In the coming years, an unusual trend will become steadily more obvious: it will become clear that technological innovation is now growing exponentially rather than via a linear curve. Within ten years, computers will be powerful enough to make as many calculations per second as the human brain. These developments will have a big impact on organizations’ business models.

Companies can’t avoid it; in the not too distant future, all organizations will go digital. If current developments keep growing exponentially, computer power (calculations per second) will be equal to the total calculations of all human brains put together within one generation. Moreover, various new technologies and their uses will have an impact on all sectors, such as blockchain, AI, robotics, Internet of Things and medical wearables.

Exponential, rather than linear thinking

Disruption as a result of these technological developments looms over every organization. Many companies today have need of new business models in order to face this disruption. Focusing on improvements within the current business model, the so-called ‘Horizon 1 and 2’ developments, is no longer sufficient. Continuous attention for new Horizon 3 business models must be anchored in the corporate culture.

There are already a fair few examples of senior management (don’t be that guy) hanging onto their tried and tested business models on the basis of personal experience and expertise. Because of this, they eventually had to deal with total disruption. Competition can often be found where you aren’t expecting it; start-ups use all available technologies to launch new business models.

That’s why it’s important to start thinking about the future now. In the coming years, for example, chatbots will become commonplace in customer service. In the healthcare sector, medical wearables are being developed which can not only cure certain illnesses, but prevent them entirely. The blockchain will eventually be put into use everywhere, cutting out the need for a ‘middle man’. Moreover, Artificial Intelligence technology will be integrated into our existences and will act as our co-pilots.

Prepare for the future

It’s difficult to fully anticipate upcoming developments. The human brain simply isn’t capable to predict and extrapolate such exponential trends. This means that anticipating the specifics is pointless. Set up your organization to be technologically flexible, so that it can quickly adjust itself according to the market.

Don’t stick to just ideas; anchor the technological models in the organization and put them into practice. Firstly, the senior management has to be made aware of the exponential growth curve that will impact all organizations. Then employees throughout the company must be stimulated to think and act in an innovative manner. Of course, this must happen with and for clients. This entails (minimum viable) products being launched cyclically in order to receive feedback as quickly as possible in order to improve. Only organizations that learn faster than the competition will survive.

You may also be interested in:

Tech companies take giant steps in healthcare

By Healthcare, News, Technology

Tech giants, such as Google and Apple, have had their sights set on the health market for years. They have a good reason: the health sector ticks every box that technology companies are interested in. They are suffering from problems such as affordability and scarcity, it is a relatively non-transparent market and there is a lot of money in it.

In the past, competitive forces proved they were able to shape and dominate other sectors. Apple, Google, Amazon and Microsoft have completely changed the way we communicate, shop and work. These tech companies have the same similar ambitions in healthcare, although each concern has its own approach based on its own strengths. Apple focuses on consumer electronics, Google on data and Microsoft on online services and analytics. Which steps did they take recently during last year?

Apple

Apple has offered the ‘health, care and research kit’ for years in order to be able to build healthcare apps quickly, and to gather and share information. In 2018, Apple launched Health Records on iOS, allowing customers to see and change their medical dossier, as well as share them with healthcare providers. This can also consist of data from electronic patient records belonging to hospitals or other healthcare providers.

By mid-2018, more than 500 hospitals were connected to Health Records. Apple also further developed their personal metrics programs, such as cardiac monitoring (ECG) via the newest Apple Watch. They are also forging partnerships to work towards digital eye tests and revalidation programs for those recuperating from knee and hip operations.

Alphabet

Google’s parent company Alphabet was possibly the most active in the healthcare branch in 2018. Most noteworthy was the launch of the new Google Fit platform and their new partnership with Fitbit. Their goal is to make data more easily accessible for doctors. They are now in direct competition with Apple in the e-health market.

Alphabet also showed strong support for the American company Oscar Health. The online health insurance company gained almost 400 million dollars in investment capital last year. Oscar Health customers can save for discounts on their health insurance premium by exercising. On top of this, Alphabet also has two subsidiary companies which are focused on healthcare. Verily develops possibilities for medical machine learning, whilst Calico is focused on genome research.

Amazon

Amazon shook up the healthcare market last year in their quest for growth. Firstly, they announced that they are going to set up their own health care providers for staff. This will be done in partnership with business bank J.P. Morgan Chase and Warren Buffett’s megacorporation Berkshire Hathaway.

Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos wants to start his own healthcare company that will offer smarter, cheaper, and better care. After this announcement, Amazon bought online pharmacy Pillpack for 1 billion dollars. Through smart use of data, Pillpack improves service for patients. The client receives precisely measured doses, is reminded when it’s time to take medication, and no longer has to take care of declaring costs to insurance companies, as Pillpack takes care of that as well.

On top of all this, Amazon has started developing products to gather and process medical data via the cloud service Amazon Web Service, with digital assistant Alexa fulfilling the role of digital doctor.

Microsoft

Microsoft is mainly focusing on researchers, doctors, and biotech. The company is developing various AI and cloud computing projects through the NExT program. In 2018, Microsoft launched diagnostic support of images and tooling for doctors and scientists in the field of genomics.

Both projects are AI-driven and are saved in the cloud. Microsoft emphasises the latter. The company offers cyber security by saving healthcare data safely in the cloud following strict compliance and confidentiality regulations.

Alibaba/Tencent

Large Asian tech companies are also active in the healthcare sector. Alibaba is predominantly known as a cheap web shop, but in Asia they are leading the application of Artificial Intelligence in healthcare. CEO Jack Ma rapidly developed a platform for the interpretation of diagnostics like CAT scans. The tech giant also has a virtual assistant that supports doctors when selecting treatments.

It’s even less well-known that Tencent- Asia’s number one tech company- is also extremely interested in healthcare. Customers can get medical advice and make appointments via the app WeChat. The company has an online and offline ecosystem at their disposal in order to provide healthcare through partnership with Trusted Doctors. Moreover, Tencent has developed diagnostic programs in order to help doctors diagnose cancer early. They’ve also started initiatives to utilise their AI platform in order to help diagnose other diseases, including Parkinson’s disease.

The future

Tech companies are on a roll and are going to have an increasingly large impact on the healthcare sector. The degree to which this occurs depends on a number of developments:

  • Tech companies are wrestling with a lack of information standards in health care, which hinders the exchange of data. In 2019, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and IBM are working on further developing a new standard, FHIR, in order to enable unhindered connection.
  • Medical professionals are critical of tech companies’ developments, and they are the ones who decide in the end if these developments are implemented. There are, for example, doubts about the reliability of these developments, such as the ECG of the Apple Watch. Moreover, the sector is suffering from ‘not invented here’ syndrome.
  • Tech companies are not always as careful with data as they should be. Facebook is the most recent example of this. Many consumers don’t let this stop them. However, it remains to be seen how long they will accept this when dealing with sensitive information such as illnesses and treatment.
  • Everything is different in healthcare. A patient can act differently than a consumer. The healthcare branch is also much more strictly regulated than other sectors.
  • In closing, the healthcare sector- depending on the country- is often publicly financed.

The answer

In the Netherlands, many healthcare facilities will say that they aren’t noticing the influence of large tech companies very much. That is true. That is the very reason why now is the correct time to take action. Ask yourself if you, as a healthcare provider, know enough about the digital needs of your patients. Research how tech companies can contribute to affordability, accessibility, and staff choice within your healthcare facility. Broaden your horizons and don’t be surprised by the development speed of tech companies.

By: Walter Kien (manager Healthcare IG&H) en Arvid Glerum (consultant Healthcare IG&H).