How Philips improved 535 million lives through Continuous Learning
Together with Philips, we developed a novel innovation approach that prioritises human understanding, solidifying Philips’ reputation as innovator.
How it started
Philips is one of the largest electronics companies in the world. Over the past decade, the brand has undergone a transformation to reshape its portfolio and become a focused health technology company. Today Philips centres its efforts on improving people’s health and well-being through innovative solutions. The following five objectives underpin this transformation:
- Increase the number of lives improved by developing solutions that help solve social issues while delivering upon sustainability commitments
- Amplify the voices of underserved communities, women and children
- Embed solutions in the broader healthcare ecosystem and increase access to care
- Unite global stakeholders around deep human understanding and empathy
- Accelerate consumer and customer learning in the innovation journey
Philips’ transformation also required the insights and innovation functions to adapt, evolving from a product-centric to a people-centric mindset. To support internal stakeholders in making this shift, Philips partnered with us to develop a new innovation practice.
How we inspired change
We developed a new approach that moves away from stage-gate validation towards prioritizing human understanding throughout the journey. Instead of a few intense learning opportunities, we involve stakeholders early in the process through numerous bite-sized interactions.
- Learning loops: The ‘Continuous Learning’ approach leverages multiple learning loops with distinct objectives. It is a continuous cycle of observing, reflecting, and making – enabling teams to build on their successes and learn from their failures along the way. In between learning loops, demo sessions are organised to apply learnings cross-functionally.
- Online community: The ‘My Living Square’ online community is the backbone of the Continuous Learning practice. With over 3500 participants from seven markets, the community allows the Philips teams to get immersed in people’s lives and co-create with them. Activities range from quantifying compliance barriers and optimizing UX to video tasks. Every learning loop is different and the versatility of the community allows us to tailor it to the specific needs of the moment.
- Change management: Building the capability, capacity and competency for ‘Continuous Learning’ was essential to deeply embed it into the organization. Initiatives such as pilot projects, training sessions and playbooks played a vital role in ensuring its success.
How it lives on
The Continuous Learning practice has significantly contributed to Philips achieving its goals as a health tech company over the past three years.
- Increase the number of lives improved: In 2022, Personal Health accounted for 20% of revenues, positively impacting 30% of the lives reached by Philips – amounting to over 535 million lives improved.
- Amplify the voices of underserved communities, women and children: Half of our Continuous Learning initiatives focused on empowering these vital voices. Learning loops ranged from offering pregnancy resources (Philips Pregnancy+ app) to Medicaid beneficiaries in the US to making effective oral care engaging and fun for kids (Philips Sonicare For Kids app).
- Embed solutions in the broader healthcare ecosystem: By harnessing a holistic understanding of people’s lives, Philips forged collaborations with key stakeholders in the health ecosystem, including insurance companies and healthcare professionals, to drive meaningful change together.
- Unite global stakeholders around deep human understanding and empathy: Continuous Learning projects receive NPS scores of over 70 from Philips stakeholders, demonstrating that our research approach delights and drives impact.
- Accelerate learning in the innovation journey: Vibrant communities with local moderators in native language enable learning loops to operate at twice the speed of traditional techniques.
By embracing Continuous Learning, Philips is solidifying their reputation as an innovator. From being named as a Clarivate Top 100 Global Innovator to collecting 171 design awards in 2022.
“No more black boxes and an ‘ask & deliver’ mentality, instead a much more fluid, dynamic and provocative way of organizing people and teams around insights. This way of working makes consumer insights transparent and doesn’t shy away from showing pieces of the puzzle that are not quite complete yet. More than delivering a shiny, polished insight report, it is the learning process that matters, enabling activation.”
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