Constantly Curious

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What does the future hold for healthcare in Europe?

Government Affairs, Health
Health_Europe_Referendum

So far 2016 is proving to be a tumultuous time for the European region, and the UK will hold a referendum in June allowing its citizens to vote on whether they wish to stay within the European Union or leave. Many, if not all, of these factors will have huge impact on the health sector in Europe.

So far 2016 is proving to be a tumultuous time for the European region. Estimates suggest that in the first three months of the year, over 150,000 migrants reached Europe by sea and many more  arrived by land. Terrorists have struck at the very heart of a number of European cities and fear hangs over the region like a cloud. Politically, the rise of populism in Austria, France, Germany and the UK is mirroring that of Donald Trump’s seemingly inexorable march to his party’s nomination for the US Presidency. Meanwhile, the UK will hold a referendum in June allowing its citizens to vote on whether they wish to stay within the European Union or leave. Many, if not all, of these factors will have huge impact on the health sector in Europe.

War refugees at the Keleti Railway Station

War refugees at the Keleti Railway Station on 5 September 2015 in Budapest, Hungary. Alexandre Rotenberg / Shutterstock.com

Meeting the health needs of refugees

Managing the displacement of more than one million people is perhaps placing the most apparent strain on already stretched healthcare systems. Many of the 40,000 people, which the UN estimates are seeking asylum each day, arrive in Europe with existing chronic conditions (physical and mental). More still are spending time in camps where living cheek-by-jowl offers a fertile breeding ground for communicable diseases including TB. So Europe’s healthcare providers are having to provide service both at point of entry and where the refugees finally settle. This is placing an almost intolerable burden on multiple countries across the region.

Enhancing emergency response plans

Terrorist attacks in Brussels and Paris have tested the emergency response plans of those cities like nothing before. When extremists struck at the heart of Paris with a series of co-ordinated attacks on November 13, the city deployed its “White Plan” for the first time since it was first created more than 20 years ago. Paris, at least, proved to be well prepared and able to deal with an exceptional event like this, at least from a medical perspective. Just 24 hours after the attack began, all 302 patients had been discharged from the emergency rooms and trauma units where they were first treated, and all emergency surgeries were completed. Only four of these patients died, an astonishingly low mortality rate of 1%. The flipside of the experience though, was that it was clear that these incidents had stretched the system as far as it could go. Should anything on a larger scale occur, there would simply not be sufficient resources to deal with it (from medical professionals to blood).

EU Referendum Ballot

Preparing for Brexit

Ironically, at a time when the European union (note the small U) is working more closely than ever to find solutions to the challenges posed by an almost unceasing influx of would-be new Europeans and the dark cloud of terrorism, the European Union (big U) is in danger of breaking-up. There are economic challenges, such as that posed by Greece, and political, with the looming referendum in the UK creating the possibility for the UK to leave the EU (Brexit). Clearly this would have innumerable consequences in the UK and the wider European region, but there are many clear and direct impacts on healthcare.

Among these is that Brexit could necessitate a complete overhaul of the current European drug approval system, which has been in place since 1995. The European Medicines Agency is located in London.  British scientists are the greatest contributors within the system (leaders on 27 NDAs in 2014 compared to the next greatest, Germany with 15). The UK is a reference state for European drug pricing. Beyond the single-market approval process, there are other issues such as exportation of drugs, free movement of healthcare professionals and how citizens receive care when take ill outside their home country.

Political upheaval is also likely to impact the health sector, with healthcare provision and drug pricing, key topics of debate in the US presidential election and widespread dissatisfaction with the “established order” in many European countries potentially heralding a time of immense change. It has never been easy to forecast what the future holds for healthcare in any part of the world but in Europe, more so than ever before, what lies ahead of us is arguably less clear than at any time post the end of World War II. Keeping pace with the swiftly shifting tides across Europe and crafting multiple scenarios in real time, are essential if we are to be able to counsel and guide our clients appropriately in these incredibly challenging times.

Being Your Best

Culture, Employee Engagement, Technology
Edelman_Office_Life

How do you be the very best comms person you can for your client? How do you come up with the most creative ideas, but still have a bit of a life to go with it? After all, that bit of a life is what makes you the interesting person you are.

How do you be the very best comms person you can for your client? How do you come up with the most creative ideas, but still have a bit of a life to go with it? After all, that bit of a life is what makes you the interesting person you are.

Here at Edelman, the team of technology industry specialists have been looking into it. In the past two years we’ve made changes which are reaping rewards in team attitude, ideas and the way we engage our clients.

We don’t have slides or a climbing wall in our office, but we do have a huge amount we’re very proud of.

It wasn’t about starting afresh. It was fine tuning to make the best of an already pretty awesome group of people.

It all started with a little book called Techisms. The book is a user manual for working life in our team, a core framework for the way we do things and the way we think that shapes our team spirit and helps guide our everyday decision making.

We’re no longer chained to our desks. We operate a hot-desking policy, it encourages collaboration and enables us to sit with the people we’re working with that day. We’re all actively encouraged to work remotely at least once a week whether from home, client offices or somewhere that inspires us that morning. Creativity is on the rise, sharing is on the rise and so too is client insight. We’re definitely not the first, and we won’t be the last, but these small steps start to make a difference.

Now onto email, how much time do you spend on it every day? We’ve cut between half and three quarters of our internal email and all down to using other collaboration tools. No longer does our day start with twenty emails blaming the Victoria Line for the office being empty until 9.30. Now it starts with the best content, campaigns and articles that our team want to share, and it is all in one place. We can always search the channel about London Underground’s latest trials if we need to know where someone is.

We’re actively encouraged to use new tools. The team are constantly looking, suggesting and sometimes learning that it just won’t work. Some have become staples, others have fallen by the way side, but we fail fast and we use that to make a more informed choice the next time. Every one of our team has access to a Mindfulness programme; we use external organisations such as RADA and The School of Life for our training and love team evenings out at events such as the recent Big Bang Data exhibition at Somerset House. We celebrate greatness.

We have brought in a no internal meeting policy before 10 and after 4. We don’t need to come in until 10 if we have plans, alternatively we get in early and leave early, as I do to collect my children. Though for others it is often a later start to get in their gym fix first thing.

These are small steps, but they are making a big difference.

What is the point?

The point is that it gets the best from all of us for our clients. Edelman recognises our lives are important, we feel valued and consequently we work more effectively and have time to nurture our creativity. We go beyond what is expected and we’re seriously curious. We get the time to do the stuff that makes us tick inside and outside work. It is producing great client outcomes and a fun environment to work in.

Ten years ago I joined an industry stalwart, today I work for that same company but it is one with the hunger of a start-up.

EU Referendum Briefing: Being Prepared

Government Affairs
EU_Referendum_Parliament

As businesses now start thinking about the end date of June 23rd, a lot still needs to be done from a planning perspective. Regardless of the outcome, the first order of the day must be thinking through messaging for June 24th. Even for those companies who have already gone public with their opinion, they need to plan for either eventuality.

Konrad Adenaeur, Joseph Bech, Alcide De Gasperi, Sicco Mansholt, Paul-Henri Spaak and Johan Willem Beyen. Six names that have little meaning today. But for these six Founding Fathers of Europe, the idea of a United Europe brought the prospect of ending a continent’s obsession of fighting frequent and bloody wars.

The journey from that idea in the 1940s and early 50s, to the organisation we all see before us today is a remarkable one. One that has grown from six member states, to a massive twenty-eight today. A community defined by the simple text of the 1951 Treaty of Paris, and after eight iterations the mammoth document underpinning the Treaty of Lisbon of today. The vision of simply combining coal and steel production, to now being a community celebrating “peace, freedom and security in and around Europe.”

As Gordon Brown so eloquently outlined the other day: “This is a remarkable achievement: the height of civilisation that 28 nations with different languages, different traditions, and different customs are able to find a way to cooperate with each other.”

As businesses now start thinking about the end date of June 23rd, a lot still needs to be done from a planning perspective. Regardless of the outcome, the first order of the day must be thinking through messaging for June 24th. Even for those companies who have already gone public with their opinion, they need to plan for either eventuality.

In addition, understanding the new reality, and specifically what it will mean for your business, is also something that should be considered now. How best to analyse the impact to your sector, conducting the relevant risk assessments and setting up the correct internal processes to manage the change programme, are just a few of the considerations any large scale business should prepare for. If we do end up voting to LEAVE, having thought through these processes will hold you in good stead for the road ahead. In the run-up to the final weeks of the campaign Edelman is ready to help businesses on messaging and to assist with all the necessary preparations.

Edelman has prepared a full briefing on recent updates, to read it please click here. For more information, please contact Gurpreet Brar on 020 3047 2466 or at gurpreet.brar@edelman.com.

Image: Botond Horvath / Shutterstock.com

Communicating on Climate Action

Energy, Government Affairs
edelman_cop22

The signing of the Paris Agreement by 177 countries on Earth Day was an important milestone along the path to turn “aspiration into action” to quote UN Global Compact Executive Director Lise Kingo (client). With the agreement signed, the attention now turns to whether 55 countries, accounting for 55 percent of the world’s emissions, ratify the agreement in order to hold “the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels.”

The signing of the Paris Agreement by 177 countries on Earth Day was an important milestone along the path to turn “aspiration into action” to quote UN Global Compact Executive Director Lise Kingo (client). With the agreement signed, the attention now turns to whether 55 countries, accounting for 55 percent of the world’s emissions, ratify the agreement in order to hold “the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels.” Since many countries, including China and the United States—the world’s top two emitters—have either signaled that they intend to ratify or have already ratified, it is a real possibility that the Paris Agreement will “enter into force” before 2017.

Now that a signal on climate change has been sent, the market will expect action. We can expect stakeholders to pressure governments for clear policies that align with the achievement of respective Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). For the private sector, there will be an increasing expectation across all sectors for companies to transform their operations to reduce carbon emissions throughout their value chain. We know from the 2016 Edelman Trust BarometerTM that 80 percent of the general population believes that the private sector needs to take a leading role on solving societal challenges. As a result, activities that have long been considered supplemental environmental or social programs will become elevated to standard operating procedure. Therefore, what companies do to set clear and measurable targets, improve their manufacturing and distribution processes, innovate new products or services, invest in renewable energy sources, influence their supply chain to reduce their emissions, engage responsibly in climate policy, and train employees and build partnerships with civil society will become de rigueur.

Stakeholders will also expect transparency, and as a result, what countries or companies report will increasingly affect trust and reputation-building efforts. With this as the backdrop, there are a number of key milestones throughout the remainder of 2016 and beyond where focus will turn toward new commitments and actions by all actors—state (country) or non-state (private sector and civil society)—including: the Business and Climate Summit (June 28-29), Climate Week (September 19-25) and the UN General Assembly (September 13-26) and COP 22 in Morocco (November 7-18). Each of these moments presents opportunities for countries, companies, foundations and non-profit organizations to demonstrate leadership on climate action. Expectations from stakeholders aside, differentiation and share-of-voice will increasingly be challenging from a communication marketing standpoint.

My colleague Nick Hay recently referenced a University of Colorado Boulder study that determined media coverage of COP 15 in Copenhagen (December 2009) in 50 news outlets across 25 countries was a third higher than the recent COP 21 in Paris. The breakdown of talks in Copenhagen as well as ‘Climategate,’ in which hackers exposed that scientists at the University of East Anglia had manipulated data, created drama and intrigue for journalists as opposed to the relatively smooth negotiations in Paris. With this in mind, we can anticipate that media coverage will continue to decline. No doubt that mainstream news outlets will continue to shape opinion but countries, companies and non-profits will need to explore and capitalize on alternative storytelling approaches to advance their point of view, and generate awareness and interest in their climate action efforts.

We believe that the Edelman Cloverleaf TM provides the framework for how state and non-state actors can communicate in and around major milestones and events (i.e. Business and Climate Summit, Climate Week, UN General Assembly and COP 22). To be successful, we believe that clients and prospects, particularly large global companies and high profile brands, cleantech companies advancing the low carbon future, and governments, will need to:

  • Develop social storylines
  • Embrace channel-centric thinking
  • Drive earned media
  • Create a single narrative
  • Focus on creating canonical content

Achieving the Paris Agreement took decades but the pace and intensity on climate reduction will increase in the years to come. Transparency on progress toward measureable goals will be an important element in ensuring we reach carbon neutrality by mid-century. The Edelman Cloverleaf TM capitalizes on the evolving media and content landscape and provides the mechanism for countries, companies and non-profits to communicate more effectively on climate. Stakeholders will expect it and trust will depend on it.

Written by Michael Holland, executive vice president, Edelman New York

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