Live from Cannes Lions: Brands continue to act with empathy and action for kids; creating experiences that take away fear, inconvenience, and inertia. It’s left us imagining what it would be like if we could bring this level of understanding to adult care. Here are three learn-worthy innovations from children’s healthcare: 

Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation’s Imaginary Friend Society: Any cancer diagnosis is scary. But when you’re a kid the procedures and doctors and terminology can be absolutely terrifying. The Foundation wanted to create a way to deliver education that kids could easily relate to. They learned from cancer survivors that one of the ways they coped were imaginary friends who would stay by their side when they were in the hospital. Those experiences triggered a creative idea: create  a group of fun, fictional characters. This Imaginary Friend Society would deliver the cancer-care information kids need in a way that would be familiar and entertaining.  The Imaginary Friend Society program includes 22 animated short films that explain everything from "What is an MRI?" to "Returning to School" to "Feeling Sad." Film posters were designed to promote each of the films and later auctioned off to raise money for the organization. (The snail on skates is particularly great.)

Clin Kids’ Bronki Boosters: When kids with asthma head off to school for the time, their risk of asthma complications increases because they’re around more dust and pollution + away from their primary care giver. They have to be able to use their inhalers correctly without assistance. Bronki Boosters help ensure their success. The platform is a cartoon show, comic book series, instructional video platform and product line all focused around inhaler confidence. The story follows Iggy and Wisp in an intergalactic battle for air against the evil. Armed with magical inhalers called Bronki Boosters, they perform the same ritual that young kids with asthma struggle to remember every day. Fans can even buy inhalers that look like the pumps in the cartoon.

Roche’s Ouchieband: Systemic Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis can cause painful flare-ups that leave kids feeling extremely ill any hour of the day – including school time. But many told the brand that they didn’t speak up because they were embarrassed and didn’t want to feel isolated from the other kids. To help the kids comfortably communicate, Roche created Ouchieband. It looks like any charity wristband but it has a secret code for children and their caregivers or teachers. When the child is feeling fine, they wear the Ouchieband with the white side out; when their arthritis flares up the turn the band to the red side to show that they need help. The band comes in a support kit with kid-friendly education and tools. The brand expects that 90% of all patients in the UK will have received and benefited from the kid by the end of 2018.

The health solutions we make for children meet children exactly where they are with unique education and tools designed just for them. Does adult healthcare do the same?

About the Author:

As Managing Director of Innovation and Insights for Syneos Health Communications, Leigh is responsible for building and scaling a global team of healthcare experts who together help life science leaders better understand the complex lives, influences and expectations of their customers. Specifically, they uncover actionable insights that fuel empathy and creativity; lead co-creation events that let marketers learn from peers, trends, and new possibilities; and help clients identify the most valuable and useful new customer experiences to create.

Leigh has worked with Fortune 1000 companies to craft their digital, mobile, social and CRM strategies for nearly 20 years.She’s worked for category-leading agencies in retail, public affairs, B2B technology, and higher education. Prior to moving to Syneos Health Communications, she held several leadership roles at our largest agency, GSW.  There, she founded an innovation practice fueled by the zeitgeist and spearheaded digital and innovation thinking across the business.

Leigh has taken a special interest in complex healthcare products that can change lives in meaningful ways. She was recently a strategic lead on the 3rd largest launch in pharmaceutical history: Tecfidera. Before that she had keys roles with Eli Lilly Oncology, Abbott Nutrition, Amgen Cardiovascular, and Eli Lilly Diabetes.

A critical part of Leigh’s work is trends and new ideas. Every year, she convenes a group of trend watchers from across our global network to identify the shifts most critical to healthcare marketers. This year, she led over 250 experts to experts to focus on the most important changes in the commercial, consumer, marketing, digital and healthcare landscapes. (See reports at

Leigh is a sought-after writer and speaker. Recognized as one of the most inspiring people in the pharmaceutical industry by PharmaVoice and Top 10 Innovation Catalysts of 2017 by MM&M, Leigh also was recognized  as a Rising Star by the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association (HBA) for her overt passion, industry thought leadership and significant contributions in new business, strategy and mentoring.