Andrea Bielecki is president of InViVo Communications Inc., a 15-year-old award-winning digital agency focused on the health-care industry. Its growing roster of clients includes global pharmaceutical and medical-device organizations and their affiliated advertising and PR agencies. InViVo is leading the medical visual-media industry from the printed instruction of the 20th century into a world of cutting-edge 3-D animation and interactive media, including educational games, mobile apps, and interactive data visualization. Below, Bielecki explains to Advantage InViVo’s vision and verve.
Our goal is to change the way people learn about medicine using leading-edge, interactive tools, coupled with compelling and unparalleled content. And it’s not an easy task. If a picture’s worth a thousand words, an interactive animation is worth a thousand pictures. We innovate for a large cross section of users: physicians, nurses, patients, and caregivers, mostly through the pharmaceutical and medical-device developers who deliver these interactive products to the end users. They’re designed to inspire viewers to learn more about disease, drugs, devices, and procedures on their own, both online and offline.
with Andrea Bielecki
1. How do you innovate on a day-to-day basis?
It’s a complex process that blends a lot of research and anticipatory logic, and honours the basics of human–computer interaction.
2. How has the notion of innovation changed in the past decade?
In the past decade, the limit was technology; today, it’s the ideas.
3. How do you cultivate innovation among your workforce?
I encourage my people to create in a team atmosphere and support their ability to take calculated risks designed to deliver well-matched content to our intelligent consumers.
4. What defines an innovative company in the 21st century?
Agility—both from a technology and an operational standpoint.
5. How can a company encourage innovation without breaking the bank?
Just because you have a neat new idea doesn’t necessarily make it practical or consumer-ready. You need usability research and testing to recognize what can work now and what might work later—if ever. Innovation without a logical, profitable endgame is a disaster few can afford.
To us, innovation is about connecting vision through educational health-care applications with striking speed. The most successful products developed for this industry are cross platform for the web, tablets, and mobile devices. So when they’re being developed, the more they can be applied to an entire cross section of uses (training, sales, public relations, etc.), the better. This opens up a wide variety of uses that can involve the entire spectrum—ranging from large sales meetings and medical conferences, down to one-on-one doctor/patient interaction.
Pharmaceutical science and medical-device technology is rapidly evolving. Good medicine now includes preventative care and other innovations. The conventional “pill” still has a role, but digital health tools (and therapies) certainly enhance and compliment the benefits of a prescribed drug or device—and will continue to do so.
Besides, doctors love technology. They’re bright and educated, want to use it, and recognize they can offer their patients more than just a pill. They also recognize that innovation and technology are poised to advance care in new directions, and drive new efficiencies of self-care and wellness. So why wouldn’t they be interested in, for example, groundbreaking educational games? It’s pretty clear that “gamification” is quickly moving into the medical mainstream. So using these tools to engage, inform, and teach is more generally accepted than it was just a couple of years ago.
InViVo was born as a digital agency. We never felt we had to follow the traditional agency path. And in the past 10 years, our journey has truly been through the looking glass. There is an old Chinese proverb that summarizes the value of interactive media perfectly: “Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I will understand.” This is a perfect illustration of why it takes innovation and an ability for a true digital agency such as ours to see where interactive tools are heading.
There’s truth in science. Understanding this truth—and respecting it—means we, as medical educators, must validate every aspect of the programs and applications we create. As a conscientious industry provider, we need to deliver unambiguous educational content that is not only true to the science but balanced and clearly communicated for our customers and their patients, as well as in the eyes of the agencies that regulate and govern health-care delivery in every country where our programs are available.
InViVo’s innovation is driven by collaboration. And I learned very quickly that innovative success comes from people who are much smarter than I am; not only in science and art, but also in technology and human-computer interaction. I challenge them and they in-turn challenge me through their vision, teamwork, and collective brilliance.