INSEAD Participant Interview

Innovating Health for Tomorrow: Gaining New Tools and Seeing the Bigger Picture


Maurice Codourey 

Senior Advisor Health & Science at Burson-Marsteller Switzerland
Innovating Health for Tomorrow Alumnus

Innovating Health for Tomorrow alumnus, Maurice Codourey, talks about his time on the J&J sponsored programme.

Can you please start by introducing yourself? 

I am a communication and marketing expert with more than 20 years’ experience.

I started working in healthcare in 2008 after identifying this area as a key future emerging market.

For over seven years I was head of communications and marketing in the public Stadtspital Waid in Zurich. I spent that time investigating theories like Nudge, Design Thinking, User Centered & Participatory Design to implement experiments and pilot projects via Rapid Prototyping in the hospital.

In addition to this role, I have also been a guest lecturer at the West Pomeranian University of Technology in Szczecin, Poland, where I taught viral marketing and at the University of Bucharest where I covered experimental economics.

The latest project I am involved is a pilot one for a (chat) bot in healthcare (@ShailaBot). I am also currently Senior Advisor Health & Science at Burson-Marsteller Switzerland

Why did you enrol on the Innovating health for tomorrow programme and did it meet your expectations? 

I was looking for a programme on healthcare innovation and this led me to INSEAD. The programme description sent a clear a message: this is the next step in knowledge building that I need to make.

In terms of my expectations, yes it met them. I had a few priorities going into the programme. The first was to meet experts from around the world and to share ideas and thoughts with them in a unique context. I am used to going to conferences, but coming to an executive education programmes gives you a different forum in which to exchange views.

You get to interact with some very innovative individuals and this makes the experience stunning. There is a lot of knowledge transfer and you learn a lot about other markets and technologies. You are given the opportunity to hear about their challenges. This provides you something to compare with. It gives you perspective and you don’t feel so alone.

So having this exchange really is a big added value.

The second priority was to be taught by exceptional faculty. In this respect, the programme did not disappoint at all. Their knowledge is second to none.

Finally, there is the reputation of INSEAD, which it really lived up to.

What were your key programme takeaways? 

There were a few.

You have to have total clarity about your innovation, pilot project or idea and then come up with a business model canvas by breaking down all the facts onto one page.

You must communicate clearly about your innovation effort. You can be tremendously innovative and have great ideas, but if you can’t communicate these ideas clearly to those around you, then you will fail. You will be in a much better position if you can prepare properly and put your ideas onto paper in a way that will be easy for others to digest. In this respect, I think that the Innovating Health for Tomorrow programme gave me a framework to follow – an understanding of the process – and as such most of my projects are now accepted.

A large amount of my inspiration, facts, instruments and methodology came from INSEAD. The Innovating Health for Tomorrow programme and INSEAD really help you to think five steps ahead.

A second takeaway was to always ask questions and allow time for feedback in order to effectively bring your idea to market. Be ready to make a lot of adjustments.

A final takeaway was the importance of collaboration and teamwork. You often can’t be innovative alone. You can have the ideas, but to put these ideas into practice, you need the right people around you. You can inspire and lead, but having technical experts to collaborate with you is invaluable. This really spreads the innovation spirit. This gives you more power and influence.

In terms of health communication, is there anything that could be done better? How did the IHT also help look at this area?

Good communication is not only about sending and receiving the right messages, but also about collaboration, especially when putting together any communication strategy. Collaboration and effective communication have become all the more important in the digital age, in which channels have proliferated.  There are so many more ways in which you can receive opinions as well as hear about patient, customer and target group experiences. The Innovating Health for Tomorrow programme really helped re-think the process with which we approach communication, by for example using speakers, plenum discussions and role plays.

How important are educational programmes like innovating health for tomorrow, even for individuals like yourself who have lots of knowledge already?

You can never have enough knowledge and it is important to make time to learn. Knowledge is a nonlinear product of constant learning and exchange. Combined with the theory of constructivism ie. constructivist didactics where there can be learning landscapes - provided by state-of-the-art schools like INSEAD - to let the individual construct new knowledge according to her/his truth, thus pushing  his/her  knowledge to new frontiers. The Innovating Health for Tomorrow programme works as a reactor between innovation experts allowing them to reach new levels.

Since leaving you have been involved in a number of projects. Can you please explain a little about these?

I developed the Teddy Clinic in the hospital in which I work as an instrument to help reduce fear of the hospital and its employees. The intention was to create a playful encounter for children and their parents, grandparents and friends, using soft toys. The toys get taken through a simulated hospital treatment - check-in, waiting room, diagnosis by the teddy doctor, x-ray, anesthesia surgery, bandage/plaster/cast and check-out. Children and grown-ups experience all parts of the hospital process, all the while using funny, serious, descriptive situations - led by the children’s explanations. The hospital had no children ward so it was also an early branding project.

Right from the start, the project was a great success. So much so, that the hospital had to come up with an annual show as people began asking for it.

I even registered the concept as a trademark in Switzerland and sold daily licenses to other hospitals.

As a result of this initiative, the hospital partly changed their strategy, to adopt one called the neighbourhood strategy: to be a hospital, a neighbour, an employer, a colleague and a place of health.

I have also been working on another project to develop automated healthcare communication. The project is called @ShailaBot and is an algorithm that searches for specific healthcare experts via Twitter. @ShailaBot, or Smart health artificial intelligence lab activity, works nonstop, around the clock. @ShailaBot invites the experts into an online community on the Slack platform. There she informs these experts about the details of the knowledge exchange and answers more and more questions that occur and will be adjusted in the Q&A text elements. She gets smarter with every interaction.

The idea from the outset was to build a community of healthcare providers, opening up discussions and having experts answering complex issues, with the bot taking care of basic communications.

@ShailaBot is one of the first healthcare bot projects and there will be much more to read and see in the future. The project is very successful and first requests to build a true business application are there.

Did attending the Innovating Health for Tomorrow programme help with the management of these projects?

Absolutely. Learning about the bigger picture and acquiring new tools and techniques helped me in furthering my projects. At the same time, the Innovating Health for Tomorrow programme helped me stay focused on my goals, always having the tangible business model in mind.

Did it influence the way you approached them?

Yes. I ask a lot more questions in the idea collection phase – collecting the views of different types of experts in order to have results from different point of views.

Additionally, since the Innovating Health for Tomorrow programme, I no longer search for the perfect solution right away. Instead I use Rapid Prototyping to come up with version 1.0 of the idea and subsequently commit to constant adjustments as my knowledge grows.

Can you tell us a little about the networking aspect of the IHT? How important is it for the learning?

I am still connected with my cohort.

The networking during the programme is a great motivator. We share ideas, which leads to considerable business developments for each of our projects.

I was blogging lately about the project of my fellow student in Africa. They are building a health advisory and drug distribution service for truck drivers, helping to prevent them from contracting sexually transmitted diseases. I was impressed with the progress of this project, which is supported by North Star Alliance and the J&J Corporate Citizenship Trust.

This project showed me that the Innovating Health for Tomorrow programme network provides continued learning once the programme has finished.

How important is it to be a healthcare innovator?

Very. Data-driven innovation has led to huge developments in healthcare. As such, innovators are needed to tackle new challenges in healthcare and we are witnessing the reinvention of healthcare from the ground up. Robots, processes, tariff structures, employer branding, co-operations, architecture, medical equipment - you name it. More than ever, you need to think outside and inside the box.

During the Innovating Health for Tomorrow programme, innovation sparks fly, allowing you to connect the dots with other parts of the evolution in healthcare.


Interested in INSEAD's Innovating Health for Tomorrow programme? Have a look at the Innovating Health for Tomorrow programme web page.

Innovating Health for Tomorrow is the result of the Trust’s longstanding partnership with INSEAD to provide management education for healthcare professionals. INSEAD is a Flagship Partner within the Trust’s 2020 strategy and a key component of the Trust’s goal to advance knowledge and innovation in seeking to transform health care systems. The Trust works across the Europe, Middle East and Africa region in making a difference in human health through multiple social impact interventions. Currently within the Trust’s partnership portfolio there are over 70 active programmes run with partner organisations. For more information about the Trust and its activities, please visit

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