Clinton Bonner: Ta-da.
Robbie Elliott: Holly’s first podcast. Yeah, right.
[CATALYST INTRO MUSIC]
Clinton: Welcome to Catalyst, the Launch by NTT Data podcast. Catalyst is an ongoing discussion for digital leaders dissatisfied with the status quo, and yet very optimistic about what’s possible through smart technology and some great people. Today on the Launch podcast, I’ve got two great people with me. First and foremost I have Holly Kessinger, Vice President of Digital Experience Solutions at Humana. And we’re going to discuss her pursuit of what is a Nirvana-like state of omnichannel bliss. Omnichannel is some tough stuff. It’s a… it’s big, it’s audacious, and we’re going to get into the nuts and bolts of it and talk about the nuances as well with Holly today. And joining us in the studio, you might have heard him already on a recent podcast, did a wonderful job with us, is Robbie Elliott, our GM with us at Launch, and he’s a partner with Holly and her team at Humana with their aforementioned pursuit of omnichannel happiness. Robbie, gonna start with you, excited to have you back on. I’m glad to see you’re home. Last time you were on the road in Smashville, you’re back, maybe just a quick pit stop, but how you doing, dude?
Robbie: Doing great, doing great. Excited to be here. Nashville’s always fun, but it’s always good to be home in Atlanta.
Clinton: There you go. And Robbie, let’s not kid ourselves though. You know, I can talk to you all day, we could chit-chat of course, however, the real star today, she’s right with us, it’s Holly. And she’s tackling some of the biggest things at Humana, and we’re super-excited to welcome her to Catalyst. Holly, hellos from us to you. Before we dive into the topic du jour, I gotta ask you, you live in and around the Louisville area, and… you know. Say Robbie and I, we pop in for lunch. Where are you taking us, why is that the place, what’s the must-have, what are you serving up?
Holly Kessinger: Oh, that is a tough question. But first of all, thank you all for having me today, this is incredibly exciting. Um, but to answer your question, I would have to go with the Mayan Cafe. It’s right downtown in Louisville. Louisville is a foodie city, believe it or not. We actually have a culinary school here, so there’s just lots of really great local food. The Mayan Cafe is one that is locally owned, it’s all farm-to-table, so, you know, they’re using the local farmers for all of their dishes, and it’s Central American fusion. And believe it or not, their most famous menu item is Tok-sel lima beans. And they’re amazing. Let me tell you. You have to go there and try the lima beans. They even put the recipe on their website, because it’s just like, everybody wants to know how they make lima beans delicious, because otherwise?
Holly: …I would not be eating lima beans. (Laughs)
Clinton: It’s a bit of a tough sell, but a lovely one at the same time, right? That’s… the part I love is that people might not know Louisville as… the way you just described it. And then… and giving some love to the Mayan Cafe, and then hey, go try something, like lima beans that somehow, some way, I guess there’s some magic dust on there, Robbie, that make them… make them delicious.
Clinton: But I’m excited, when I do get down there at some point, to try it out. So thank you, Holly. Well, when Robbie and I come and knock on your door, we’ll take a trip to Mayan Cafe, which is awesome.
Holly: You got it.
Clinton: So, I shared with the audience before at Catalyst that I am a big-time sucker for an origin story, and Holly, when I look at… you know, doing a little bit of sleuthing, which means I went to your LinkedIn, poked around a little bit and then clicked on some links, I see that your major in college was Language and PR. So you start at marketing in Humana in your early career, and it looks to me like you crossed that chasm, the digital chasm, going from, you know, marketing into a digital lead, and actually took a role in government. So, what made you do it, essentially? Why were you where you were and said “Ooh, I think I can go do more with this”? And then how’d that evolve?
Holly: Um, it’s a great question. I think a lot of leaders that end up in product management and engineering started their careers similar to me, in that they were either in martech or some other field, and they evolved… you know, I grew up in the digital era. So everything that sort of happened as I graduated college and my career started taking off was really as digital was growing as part of our everyday life. So I think product management and engineering, I just sort of represent, I think, a generation of people that ended up in this field that didn’t necessarily dream about it. You know, when they were… when they were in college. (Laughs) I will say, my mom is a hairstylist and my dad is an engineer. So I like to think that I have the left-brain right-brain creativity going on, and it’s served me well in, you know, starting in marketing and really being able to use more of my creative background to the roles that I ended up taking, where I was really… and now, today, in the engineering side of the house, really driving and leading the development of the capabilities themselves. So, I started my career out at Humana ,actually, and I had a short stint there, and I learned a lot. Again, like you said, I was in marketing. But where I really got my digital engineering chops was when I worked for the city of Louisville. And it was such an amazing opportunity, because it was like being at a startup in a sense. This was back when a program called Code for America was just taking ground across the country. And the idea was that you would take the innovation that’s happening at companies like Yelp and Netflix and inject those kinds of resources into public service in the local communities. And so, Louisville was one of the Code for America cities, and it was just this amazing opportunity to, with a shoestring budget, working very locally, impacting my community, to completely redesign our entire digital experience. We actually didn’t really have a digital experience to speak of. (Laughs) So it was, you know, we had a .net website, everything took one engineer in the back to like, change the website, to a fully open-source Drupal. And actually I think today they… you know, years later, they’re still using that open-source technology to, you know, present all their digital services and websites. So, that was really my foray into this space. And then, you know, I just realized that I love blending the creative and the technical to make a thing for people. You know, at that time I was working on things like, “Hey, we need an EMS portion of this website, we need a public health services portion of this website. We need to be able to make it easier for people to get all the permits needed to get a food truck going so that they can make a living.” So, that was really where the passion began. And then, you know, fast-forward to now, I can’t think of a better industry to be in than healthcare, because of all of the opportunity that we have in this space to just change lives for every American. And that’s why I’m so excited to continue to be growing my career at Humana right now.
Clinton: I love it because… for a couple reasons. The biggest part is the blending of the creative and then the, “let’s execute.” Right? Like, at Launch we talk about pragmatic visionaries all the time. So it’s like, “Hey, I’ve got a goal, I’ve got a vision, and I’ve got to work within what are legitimate constraints.” You know, it’s not, you’re not two people in a garage. It’s cool, that’s a great thing, we love startup culture, we love startup velocity. And then there’s the reality of actually making it happen on the ground within a larger organization. And you could borrow, certainly infuse, some of those tactics that get you better velocity to increase your velocity, and you still have got to navigate, and stage, and execute, and build momentum. The piece for me, Robbie, that I want to ask you about too, is when I hear Holly talking about, you know, her first venture into government digital experiences, and she’s saying, you know, “We were taking what was Yelp and influences from Netflix,” to me that screams, like, simplifying… borrowing what we see in B2C, right? And then doing the same things, if you will, to simplify experiences now for, in that particular case, citizenry. Robbie, when you’re sitting inside a team with Humana or any of the clients, how much is still happening where people are looking to the B2C market and borrowing what are really good concepts and bringing them to the enterprise? What do you see?
Robbie: Yeah, it’s an imperative for a lot of our partners. You know, and Holly and her team at Humana, which Holly is fully aware of, you know, we talk about it often. You bring up Yelp and Netflix, you bring up Amazon, you bring up a lot of these bigger companies. They’re actually shaping customer expectations, employee expectations, citizen expectations. So when you talk about digital platforms and how you digitally connect any of those humans to your brand, to your service, to your product, their expectations are set. So, I think you have to be open to listening to those humans when you’re engaging with them digitally. You have to be able to… and I think Holly’s a great example of a leader who has the head and the heart for this business, she can plow through any details and see the vision, the end state of where we need to be. You know, kind of that 50,000 foot, 500,000 foot view down to the 5-foot view. She does that with ease, and I think that’s one of the things that we see with a lot of our partners, is like, the really great leaders who really drive compelling experience transformation acknowledge that all of those influences on the people they’re targeting, or trying to provide the right experience for, are shaped by those brands.
Clinton: Beautiful job of also weaving in one of my favorite modern bands there, The Head and The Heart. So you get bonus… you get bonus points for that.
Clinton: Now, Holly. The thing I think I’m gonna evolve the conversation over to is, it’s one thing to do it for one experience. Then, it’s a whole ‘nother bowl of wax to attempt and then do it for all experiences, right? All mediums, all experiences, all people. How are they gonna digest this? And getting that all to be this, hopefully smooth consistency, and again, I think that’s a way of framing what omnichannel is. So, hitting the fast-forward button for you at this point in your career, you’re now the VP of Digital Experience Solutions at Humana, like we talked about. And for those that don’t know, Humana is a large health insurance company, and there’s around 70,000 employees, and servicing, the best I could see lately, about 17 million members of the Humana network. So Holly, you’ve got 17 million-plus people that you need to answer to when it comes to digital experiences if they’re not exceptional and they’re not consistent. So what keeps you up, professionally, at night? What keeps you… it’s also probably what keeps you motivated. But what are those things that you’re just always thinking about?
Holly: Oh, yeah.
Holly: For one, I say that it’s my other child, right? Because it is like being a mom, in the sense that you never stop worrying about it. There’s 17 million other kids, right? (Laughs)
Holly: And, you know, I’m responsible for the digital front door, and my team is responsible for that. It is something that, you know, number one, what keeps me up at night is, we need that website and that mobile app to be up and running and snappy and perfect every single day, so I’m very focused on quality and resiliency as part of my, you know… responsibilities. But I think constantly about how we’re gonna make the experience better. And to your point around, it can’t just be in those channels, but thinking about what happens before and after, and consumer expectations. The Netflixes and the Amazons are setting the tone. They have been for ten years. So, um… I view a lot of my job as providing the incredibly talented teams that I work with with all of the right tools and support to do their job really well, and to solve those customer problems, and to do it with excellence, and, you know… Robert mentioned, I mean, one thing that you have to do is, you have to bring in that outside-in thinking. You have to, you know… there’s all the things we want to go through from a design standpoint. Journey mapping and service blueprints and all of that, to really map out and understand what the experience needs to be like. But those things are communication tools. Because you’re telling a story, and you’re trying to generate excitement and passion for the change that needs to happen, because that’s how I have been successful with the high-performing teams that I’ve worked with, is using those tools as a method for bringing a team together around a problem to solve, and doing that at scale. You have to be able to repeat that across many teams and many people, around that common vision. So, you know, it’s more of an art than a science, in a lot of ways, and it’s also a constant effort. It’s something that you have to wake up every day and get excited about. And I think what keeps me up at night, going back to your question, is how do I continue to motivate? How do I continue to give those teams the tools to do their best work, and how do I stay on top of all of the things that are happening in the industry that… or, not even within our industry, but outside of our industry, just in our consumer environment, that are pushing the needle of the expectations.
Clinton: So one of the things I wanna dig in a little bit deeper with you, Holly, is… so, you had this bold vision for an omnichannel experience at Humana. I’m assuming, when you go to look at the portfolio, that that consumes, if you will, or is made up of, the composition… you’ve got different tools, probably built at very different times, built to serve different people, different user groups that have different missions, if you will. And on the individual tool level, it might work pretty well. It might do the job. But when you look at it as this bouquet you’re trying to put together, they’re incongruent. They don’t jibe as a whole yet. So you’re not quite there yet, that’s not what omnichannel, the promise of omnichannel is. So how do you begin? What’s the tactic, or starting point, or team gathering? How do you look at that with honesty, and then start to lay out challenges that are like “Okay team, we’re going to go here, we know it’s an uphill fight, we know this is tough, right? If it’s worth doing it’s hard.” Where do you actually begin? What comes first for you?
Holly: You have to build momentum. You build momentum through creating that excitement. You create excitement through painting the vision of the future. So you have to start with that, of course. Once you do that, and you cast that strategic vision, and that’s the journey that we’ve been on, and that I’ve been on in many roles, many transformational roles that I’ve had throughout my career. You have to put wins on the board. And I think that’s where the MVP, you know, the startup mentality is so critical. You know, again, going back to, and actually Humana’s close to a 100,000 person company at this point.
Holly: When you’re working at that level, you really have to think long-term and know where you’re headed, but act short-term. And that’s very hard to do. MVP helps teams do that. So, we spend a lot of time making sure that everyone understands the vision and where we’re headed, and then enabling, you know, teams that have a cross-functional set of folks working on them, to start to solve those problems. So, you know, with omnichannel, you’ve got a team that works on chat. You’ve got a team that works on text messaging. You’ve got folks that are, you know, in the digital department. You’ve got the contact center folks. You’ve got the product and design team. And all of them have to come together, understand the problems that are trying to be solved that they maybe only see their piece of, right? And start to solve for and execute on that. And that’s where we can start realizing that customer value immediately. And then that’s how you get to tell the bigger story. You know? Because you’re starting with the small bet. In a large company you’ve got that long, slow trajectory. So being able to create those wins and those shorter iterative cycles that you can then go and ask… get the yes to the bigger question, right? And that’s how we do it.
Clinton: Yeah. No, that makes a ton of sense, and again, it’s… the part that comes up for me is, getting that momentum. It’s the biggest, one of the biggest differentiators from the true, “Hey, we are a startup,” like literally, 2 to 3 people in a garage, and we just, we’re going all in, our chips are on this thing, and we’re making a bet. That’s what startups are doing, they’re just, they’re making a bet on themselves that they can… they can bring this product to market with the right momentum. And it’s all go. In the enterprise world, to me it seems like it has to be more thoughtfully staged to bring people and get the right kind of gravity, if you will, around the concept or the vision, so that you just get that consistent buy-in and you get people chirping about it, in a good way, that are down the hallways. And sharing it on whatever you might use, Slack or Teams, or whatever you may use. That in and of itself becomes a, almost a communications project, which I think for you, again, that left-side right-side brain kind of coalesce there. And probably… your background in PR probably helps quite a bit as well, which is really cool.
Holly: Oh yeah. (Laughs)
Clinton: And that’s… you’ve got… you have to go sell! You gotta go internally, you’ve got to sell the vision. And then, Robbie, I wanted to ask you too. So, you know, you’re on the floor with the Humana team, with Holly’s team. How does that… how does that work? There’s so much to go do, in the long… the grand scheme of it, there’s a lot to go do. How does the selection process work with, you know, you and our team, Holly’s team, to say “Okay, what are we gonna go do early? Like, what are the things that… that are on the board, and then how are we gonna, you know, filter down and say ‘Okay, here’s the couple things that are gonna give us that biggest lift that we’re looking for.’” How’s your relationship with Holly and her team… how does that work, and what is… what’s that dynamic like?
Robbie: Yeah. The first thing I say is, like, trust. Right?
Robbie: From the first conversations we had with Holly and her team, it was… they knew that they had a lot of challenges, they knew that they had a lot of work to get done in a very quick amount of time. And the default motion for her high-performing team was to share information, give insight, and we immediately jumped on that. So over the course of several weeks, we started aligning around all of the details. Technical details, design details, customer challenges. Her team had done a ton of research, and really taken hard looks at the challenges that they were trying to solve for. And so, you know, transparency was the key there. Openly sharing things, challenging things both ways, you know, from our team and Holly’s team. Challenging each other on assumptions, challenging each other on sort of the thought process and the approach. You know, the personas that we were looking at. And, like I said, trust is the foundational element to that, because without that you’re gonna maybe not share something, you’re gonna pull back a little bit, you’re not gonna feel comfortable disagreeing with somebody. I think we have a lot of healthy friction within the team. I think high-performing teams, you know, collaboratively, even with like a vendor-partner type relationship, that healthy friction allows people to disagree. You know, psychological safety comes along with trust, and pushing each other to do what’s right for the end user of these experiences is the most important thing. And I think, you know, Holly and her leadership team have set the right tone. There are no egos, there’s no… you know, no pretense around it, no titles. It’s just, we’re here to do a job. We’re here to do a job and transform an experience for this end user, and how we get there and what that looks like we all don’t know, but we know that we need to work together to get there.
Clinton: Yeah. That constant dialog and pushing each other and, like you said, that healthy friction, I think is super important. Because, in my opinion, you can’t just be in a room and be order-takers. You’re not going to get the end result that’s best for, again, the end-user there. And then, Holly, are there a couple examples or even one that you could pull from, that is like an early stage win MVP, where you were able to maybe convert some people? Like, bring along some naysayers? What was that experience like for you? Like, what can you share?
Holly: I think the whole process of thinking omnichannel is where we’ve had a huge win. And, you know, even in my time at Metro, it wasn’t… we weren’t calling it omnichannel back then, but the idea of sitting in an office somewhere where someone has an in-person interaction, and trying to figure out how to digitize that, that’s the work that we’re doing right now to understand, what is it that our customers are having to call us to do, that we can digitize? And I think for the longest time, the prevailing thought around what could be digital and what couldn’t be digital was very static. And what I mean by that is, in our digital experience today, you… you know, we have identified what’s a highly transactional kind of thing that you can get accomplished in a mobile app or a website, right? Like, you can view the status of your claims, you can view an ID card, you can, you know, check a list of… like, what are your benefits? Stuff like that. Look up a doctor. Those are very transactional. And, you know, the things that require conversation, we’ve always just sort of relied on the in-person or the phone call to solve those problems, because we think they’re too complex. And I think, you know, one of the topics we’re gonna hit on at some point is, you know, how much that’s changing with conversational AI and what the art of the possible is to really answer questions, dare I say better, than a human could help you answer them, right? Or assist in those kinds of things. And it’s just really exciting to see where that’s going. But even with… even with the technology we have today, I love to give this example. I had a friend who worked in the banking industry. She said to me, the game changed for them when you could deposit the check through the mobile app.
Holly: It was like… their traffic went from… it was like zero to 60, you know what I mean? (Laughs)
Holly: And that was the one really awesome digital experience that, like, people just wanted to be able to do…
Holly: …without having to go to a bank. And suddenly you could do it. And there was probably thinking forever that “Oh, no, that could never be done,” right?
Clinton: Yep. Right, yeah.
Holly: And she asked me, “What’s your mobile check?” Like, what is it, that thing? So, post-COVID, there’s tons of things that, in the healthcare industry, we’re rethinking. Of course, telemed, right? But even in servicing insurance, and we are having those small wins, where we’re starting to look at, you know… should a member have to call to better understand their benefits, or is that something that we could better understand through a digital… a digital interface? So, those are the kinds of things that we’re exploring, and really, at this point, just challenging the notion that we’ve already identified all the places where digital can help, or touchpoints like digital, you know, whether it’s text messaging or email, can help. And redefining that. And really exploring what else we could be doing for the whole service experience, not just, you know, what we’ve traditionally identified as the transactional pieces.
Clinton: I love the challenge that was presented to you, to find your mobile check. And looking at the omnichannel experience, you mentioned AI, I want to dive into that a bit with you as well. As you’re challenging yourself to push that value ever higher, from transactional into those, into those things that are… could be more valuable to the consumer, and unexpected, right? You didn’t expect to serve them this way. How do you start to delineate between the possibility of “Okay, that could be digital self-service, and we could do it really really well. You know, explain it, have a great interface, and lead them, and show them a tutorial and just get the user feedback and make sure they’re tapping the right things, and they get the outcome they’re looking for…” And then how do you delineate between that art of the possible that goes “Ooh, that could be AI. That might be an AI element.” Is it purely conversational? Is it… where’s the focus for you and your team as you’re looking to apply AI at this time?
Holly: I think there are so many opportunities. And just, you know, across the industry, specifically in healthcare, I would say because we’re so focused on the service experience…
Holly: …we are really looking at, you know, how do we just help make something easier for our customers to understand? Insurance is complex. Healthcare is complex.
Holly: You know? How can we just better explain what you need to do when you need to go get cataract surgery, right? Or, you know, and what’s gonna happen next after you do that? And maybe, you know, since you’re getting cataract surgery, we know the next step is you’re gonna need these eye drops, right?
Holly: Like, so, just… there are so many opportunities just in servicing the whole path of healthcare. You know, I think, Robert, you talked about this, but… design is really important to uncovering these things. Because if you don’t understand the problem from the customer’s perspective, you will not come up with the right answer. And… so it’s so important that you really understand… you know, you’ll have, like, one person in a vertical that will have a great idea, but they haven’t thought about what’s gonna happen before or after that, and, you know, we’ve sort of sub-optimized for one part of the experience. And I’m sure Robert has, you know, plenty to say on this topic. (Laughs)
Robbie: Yeah. I think, you know, we talk often with Holly and her team… you know, a lot of the history of technology, the last 10 to 20 years that were built around, like, point solutions. You know, text-messaging capabilities. Websites, apps. You know, AI… you know, generative, conversational AI, that’s another point solution. And you can get lost in all of the point solutions for, you know, your users, if you don’t think about, like Holly said, the upstream and downstream impacts to that. Right? Like, how does all of this fit together? When am I using, you know, my phone? When am I using my laptop? When do I not want to do any… when do I just want to fire off an email or text message to somebody and not log into anything, but just ask a quick question? Fitting all of those pieces together is, like Holly said, that’s more of the art side of things. That’s more of the creative side of things. And I think we also mentioned, like, that startup mentality. You know, Humana, like some of our other clients, is an incredible company. They’re very good at so many things. It would take them a long time to run out of money and stop doing things or really fail. For startups, every day is an opportunity for them to fail and go out of business. So it’s existential for startups. So I think understanding the users, understanding the imperative… Holly’s PR background… like, building that momentum internally and focusing more on the creative side, rather than those technical, sort of logical point-solution type sides, is a challenge for any leader. And so, you know, when I think about that, I think, you know, you’ve gotta think more broadly. You’ve gotta have an open mind, you’ve gotta be creative, and then think about how all those pieces fit together in a meaningful way for Humana. Right? What is the Humana brand? How do we want to reach and engage with our members? And that’s something that Holly and her team are asking constantly, and asking us and our team to help with.
Clinton: One of the biggest pieces, or maybe the foundational piece for all of this for me, is the idea that an omnichannel… it’s, again, it’s not just about having all these really good bespoke experiences. It is about having a robust platform of experiences that all feel really similar. Right? So that… the nice example you said about a cataract surgery, okay. Someone goes and gets a cataract surgery. You thought about what they need before. You thought about what they’re going to be going through and what information they could use and how they should communicate, kind of, during, in the days leading up and the days right after. And you think critically about, you know, the weeks after that. So they heal the right way, get the right service, cool. And that’s one thing. But then when you go to do the next thing, and let’s say it’s a, you know, treatment for colon cancer. You know, colonoscopy, they found something, and then away they go, right? There’s a whole ‘nother journey there for that user. But the secret sauce, in my opinion, is, how much reuse can you get? When you have, when you’ve established a really strong design system, when you’ve established your technology tool set, and when do you use them? Like, when do you send texts versus the phone call, things of that nature. And how much reuse can you do? Not just for the sake… reuse being, you know, less expensive, if you will. ‘Cause it is. Reusing technology and then your dollar cost, averaging it across multiple experiences, well guess what? You are lowering the cost of that next digital experience you could release. That’s good. But if the end user, who had cataract surgery in 2017 but is now going through a trial with colon cancer, say, they know your system now. They’re experiencing it in a very similar way. So even though they never had the… let’s say the colon care experience yet, they already know what to do in your system. And, like, that, to me, is like… when you can start to feel what success feels like there. That’s really platform-level. And so, Holly, I guess… how do you take the great journeys, the cataract one, and then make sure the team understands, like, look. This is actually a platform play. Like, how do you win those hearts and minds, the head and the hearts, and build that momentum within a rather large organization, which as you said is now pushing 100,000 people?
Holly: First of all, what you just described, I mean, that’s our vision, right? That’s where we want to go. And I think… I sometimes call myself a plate spinner, and I say how many plates am I spinning today?
Holly: (Laughs) And it’s because you have to spin several of those plates to get that right, because you’re spinning the plate that is very focused on the one thing, right?
Holly: Like, can we deliver a great experience for this one journey for this type of member having this type of issue? And I think where a lot of the industry has… I won’t say failed, but maybe struggled, is to not create repeatable platform. You know? Like, not have that vision for platform.
Holly: So, you end up with maybe something that worked really well in one space, but it’s not scalable.
Holly: So, that’s the plate-spinning we’re doing now, which is how do we focus on those short-term wins that inform something that’s reusable, scalable, predictable for the customer because they’ve experienced it this way and they’re gonna, you know, experience it again? And it takes a different level of leadership, it takes a different level of strategic partnership within a company, with the partners that you have externally, because you’re moving everyone toward, perhaps a new tech stack. Perhaps… which then impacts which kind of engineers that you have. Which then impacts your design system, because you gotta think about reusability and everything can’t be a special unicorn, right?
Holly: Which then impacts how you think about investment, right? And those are, like, big sea changes that you have to make. You know, as you’re implementing these things. But I’m excited because we are on that journey, and it is so cool to be a part of it, and I am so serious, and Robert’s heard me say this before. I’m in my dream job. I really am. I don’t know if you all have ever heard of the… there’s a Japanese philosophy, it’s called ikigai. I don’t… I love to tell people about it, I don’t know if I’m pronouncing it right. But it’s like four overlapping circles, and then the middle is if you have your ikigai, which means you’re doing something you love, you’re doing something the world needs, you’re doing something you can get paid for and you’re doing something you’re good at. Because those are the four things that, like, it’s like nirvana, right? So, like, that’s what I want everyone on our team to be able to have to do this work, because it’s so important. And I can say, happily, that I’m definitely in my happy place with that.
Clinton: I love that. And Robbie, the fact that you get to interface and be part… be part of that Venn that Holly just described is really, really important and cool too. So, from your perspective as someone coming from the services side, how important is it that the stuff that you get to bring the team into is felt that way, that it is in this beautiful Venn, this ikigai Venn. And how does that, you know, impact… what’s the impact from the services side into the teams that you’re working with? Like, how is it felt? I guess is the way to say it.
Robbie: Yep. And you know, I think, just to plug, you know, the work that you’re doing with your team, you know, the Catalyst podcast, I think covered intimacy with client relationships. That’s one thing, we talk about trust and intimacy in the client relationship. You know, we all do better when we’re playing to our strengths, right? And you need that intimacy to understand what each other’s strengths are. You know, like Holly said, bringing that outside perspective. And, you know, we have designers who have built some amazing systems, and engineers who have built some amazing systems for some amazing companies. And the challenge at Humana is unique. And I think having that diverse set of experiences, working with Holly’s teams, you know, and her leaders, has empowered the team to play to their strengths, and to be able to draw boundaries around things that we’re not good at, and luckily, you know, Humana’s got an incredible team working under Holly’s leadership, so we’ve been really thankful for that. So I think, when you think about that ikigai, we try to seek that. We try to seek that with our partnerships, because we’re not gonna be successful without Holly and her team. I have a feeling that Holly and her team are much better off with our partnership as well, as she’s trying to tackle some of the challenging work that she’s doing with her leaders, and I think that’s one of the foundational things, is playing to our strengths. Finding that balance and understanding what we’re good at, what we’re not good at. And then openly discussing it, like I said, with that trust, that intimacy.
Clinton: Again, I think it’s vision. Right, Holly, that you said, you’re setting that vision for it, and then you’re getting to a very emotional spot, or a human… human emotional. To say, hey, join us in this center you just talked about, which is that ikigai, Venn that you described so well. So it’s no shock to me that you’re getting the buy-in, that you’re getting the momentum, you’re getting people rallying, because you’re setting a strong vision. And that you’re blending the creative, we’re going to push, we’re going to challenge each other, we’re gonna have very, very tough discussions, and you’re blending that very well with executional philosophy that again, for an enterprise, it makes a lot of sense. You’ve got to just keep getting those runs. And it’s not home runs, right? We’re not talking about home… baseball. Louisville. People love baseball down there. I’m a New Yorker, I’m a Mets fan… woe is me. But I’m a Mets fan, so I’m a big baseball guy too. It’s not always about the three-run home run. Very often the better team is just racking the singles, racking the doubles, getting people on base. Stretching at-bats, getting the best at-bats possible. Even if the at-bat ends in failure, that’s okay. It’s a purposeful at-bat. And doing that consistently, in the baseball metaphor, over nine innings… more often than not, you win on the scoreboard. So, cool conversation Holly. Really appreciate you joining us today, and it’s fun to… to live vicariously, at least for a half hour or so, and understand your world, understand how you’re… how you’re getting these people, everybody around this beautiful vision. And I really wish you and the team at Humana the best.
Holly: Love it. Well, thank you so much for having me, this has been a true highlight of my week, and probably my year.
Clinton: (Laughs) I love it.
Holly: I’m a dreamer, so I love to talk about this sort of stuff, because… it gets me even more excited about the great work that we’re doing. So I really appreciate your time, and Robert, for having me, and thank you all.
Clinton: Love it. It was a lot of fun, Holly, thank you so much. And again, the invite will be open to you. And a reminder to folks out there that, if you were a Postlight podcast listener, Postlight has now transitioned into Launch by NTT Data. This is the Catalyst podcast, which is just the continuation of years of awesome podcasting that the Postlight team had done. And remember, in this studio, we believe in shipping software over slideware, that fast will follow smooth, and aiming to create digital experiences that move millions is a very worthy pursuit. Join us next time as the pursuit continues on Catalyst, the Launch by NTT Data podcast.
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