October Brief


Leland Mashmeyer, Partner & Executive Creative Director, Collins




Oct 1, 2013

Submission Deadline:

Oct 31, 2013



Contrary to popular perception, Design (with a capital "D") is not about picking the color of the drapes. Its provenance is in using creativity to improve the world – at scale. Think OPEN IDEO, Quest to Learn, Buckminster Fuller, Hillary Cottam, Project M Lab, the Bauhaus, Project H, Design for the other 90%, D-Rev, Architecture for Humanity, and so on.

No aspect of our modern society has been more ignored by or in more need of design than healthcare.

According to the International Monetary Fund, we are the sixth wealthiest nation on the planet. But, according to the World Health Organization, our healthcare system ranks 39th. That’s lower than Morocco, Singapore, Greece, Cyprus Iceland, Andorra, Oman, and Monaco. Of all the tier one industrialized nations, we are the second lowest ranked. Only Russia sits lower.

The reasons are complicated, systemic, and often beyond the reach of design.

However, Design can help in one key area: the customer's relationship with their health insurance provider.

The customer experience is the worst imaginable. Information overload. Poorly navigable information. Acronym laden documents. Purposefully misleading language. Strange policies. Buried exception clauses. Slow response times. Minimal customer interaction beyond mailed letters. Under-empowered customer service reps. Complicated reimbursement processes. Inconsistent customer experience. I'd bet that 9,999 of 10,000 people would agree with this statement, "I see my health insurance provider as a obstacle rather than ally in my healthcare."

The design challenge for this brief is to flip that relationship dynamic.

The Challenge

How can design help a health insurance provider become an ally rather than an obstacle?

The Deliverable

Everything is on the table:

  • Branded service innovation
  • Product innovation
  • Reinvention to UX of existing healthcare touchpoints
  • Visualization techniques
  • Nomenclature development
  • Launch of an entire new health insurance company concept
  • Peer-to-peer concept of a providers customers helping each other
  • Etc.

Success Criteria

  • Reduced complexity for the "user."
  • Increased efficiency in customer-company relationship (e.g. minimized "Time to resolution" and "Improved customer satisfaction scores.")
  • Expanded value of the health insurance provider to the user. 

About Leland Maschmeyer

Leland is executive creative director and partner at COLLINS. His work for brands such as Microsoft, Target, Coca-Cola, American Express, Louis Vuitton, Ikea, CNN, Virgin Atlantic, The New York Public Library have earned honors for new media innovation, campaign efficacy, design craft, brand experience innovation, social media strategy, and innovative use of technology. His work has been featured in WiredCNNMetropolisGraphisPrint, The National Museum of China, Adweek, National Press Club, AIGA National Designer Center, Goldstein Museum of Design, Communication Arts, and Campaign, which selected him to its “Global 30 Under 30” list.

His book, Triumph of the Commons: 55 Theses on the Future, earned acclaim for having “a grip on the zeitgeist” and offering a perspective “filled with subversive wit” on the behaviors of and values of networks. His writes for the Freerange Journal, a scholarly publication exploring design, politics, and pirates within the open culture movement. He speaks globally on the topic of design, innovation, and the future of business.

Leland also teaches “Designing Interactions” at the School of Visual Arts MFA Design program. He serves on the board of three startups – Acustom Apparel, Alchemy, and Jointly. Each is a digital platform challenging old models in fashion, knowledge management, and disaster recovery, respectively.

Leland is a frequent chair and judge of the AICP Next Awards, EFFIES, Jay Chiat Awards, ADDYs, and One Show.

Prior to COLLINS, Leland was a senior brand strategist at McKinney leading work on Travelocity and Virgin Atlantic.