Six steps to effective cocreation and consultancy

Being in a corporate environment for any length of time, means you have most likely been exposed to a “project” run by an external consultancy. Your CEO or head of department has brought them in for their expertise to make the company more efficient (redundancies) or devise a new process (restructure). For most consultancies, this is a process they have delivered countless times before but that they sell as the “next big thing”!

Dr David Williams

The tired consultancy model – discovering what you already knew

If you have been through this process several times, it is likely the antibodies are activated to the interactions. You know your ideas will be repackaged and replayed to you by the consultancy, and that the insights and strategy you’re about to receive is something you have tried to communicate several times, but nobody listened.

However, despite your feelings the inevitable occurs. The consultancy delivers its ground-breaking new structure or process, often devised by people who have never been in your role before, and don’t understand the landscape or therapy area in which you operate. But yet the wheel turns and you wait for the next time a consultancy is shipped in to deliver the same old ideas – and it will happen.

You can probably tell from the first paragraph I have been in that position before (several times), so when we discussed the nature of what we do, the idea of saying we are a healthcare consultancy was avoided with much denial and great passion. Having seen the tired old consultancy model in play too often, we avoided the term. However, being the hardcore evidence-based medicine experts that we are, we went back to basics and looked at the definition:

“consultancy is the practice or profession of giving expert advice, especially within a particular field.”

So we are consultants after all, just not typical ones. We have an approach that we know works. For every project and every client, we always go to our playbook. We listen to your problem, deploy a structured process and methodology, collect the relevant data and work with you to understand the insights, and, if relevant, build an analytic or software solution to help facilitate its delivery. We reverse the traditional model and start by partnering with our clients to co-create solutions that build on your knowledge and our domain experience. If you dive into the solution or deliverable before going through the process, inevitably you will go back to the start! You wouldn’t read the end of the murder mystery first, would you?

VISFO’s six steps to effective cocreation and consultancy

What should this process feel like? It should feel like we’re on the same journey of discovery and that the results will be even more effective as we began at the start not the middle or the end. How we feel about a project is probably more important than how many slides the report has*, especially if everyone feels like they were taken on an amazing journey rather than being dragged along.

* we do prefer to deliver solutions in software, ideally with real time data feeds, but we also include a download button.

Reworking the consultancy label

The journey to accept the label of “healthcare consultancy”, has also meant we have needed to adapt internally, changing our experience and skills within our team to deliver on our promise of being experts in your field who listen and analyse from the start. Designing ourselves has been a cathartic process and one that never ends, as the problems our partners face become more diverse and challenging.

So how have we reworked the consultancy label? We have taken a fresh approach to cognitive diversity and built our team based on people who think differently. We have medics, real life ones who have practised. We have health economists, data scientists, statisticians, machine learning experts, software engineers, digital insights professionals, medical writers, graphic designers and communication consultants, all under one “virtual’ roof. Why? Because it makes us better consultants, allowing us to deliver on our six steps to effective consultancy.

We have solved our consultancy conundrum by going back to basics to ensure we are on track to solve the mystery. Our process should feel like you are reading the best detective novel, when everyone has been through the journey to solve the mystery and the lightbulb moment is shared – “it’s great to feel clever together!”

cocreate with us

Email the CEO Dr Max Noble –