In June, I spoke with Manuel's Sushmita Munshi to film our first "Evolving Ecosystems" podcast. Munshi is the head of ManulifeMOVE, a behavioral program that integrates activity tracking and insurance solutions to motivate healthy habits. This series of three blogs looks at the central importance of data, how Manulife has approached creating an ecosystem and the technical aspects involved in delivering complex innovation in a large organization.
The purpose of an ecosystem is to provide customers with added value that they cannot easily get anywhere else. That added value is greater than the sum of the individual parts of the ecosystem and derives largely from the cooperation model at heart.
For Manulife, finding the right partners for its healthcare ecosystem begins with identifying what customers need, then searching for potential partners who can provide it. The next step is to ensure that there is a cultural fit between Manulife and the potential partner. if it is, it will move forward.
Munshi has over time noticed a development in Manulife's view of partners. As a large financial services company, it traditionally saw them as suppliers; providers of services engaged by the insurer. But over time, throughout the business, "that relationship has actually become very fluid".
Some want to work with Manulife to do so will open up new avenues. "But often there are partners who are much bigger than us, where we almost want to connect to their ecosystem – and then the conversation and the balance of power lean," she says. "When hiring partners, you need to be aware that sometimes you need to take off your traditional hat and go," You know what, this is going to be a different kind of discussion and we just need to find our equation and fit. & # 39; ”
Choosing a Partner
For its healthcare ecosystem, Manulife is looking for three areas where partners can help. The first is distribution: which partners can help Manulife reach people outside its existing typical distribution channels? These partners already exist in the lives of these customers and can help Manulife get in touch with them.
“The other is about product and commitment. Are there partners who can enrich and complement our product or drive commitment? " she says. “At the end of the day, we are an insurance company, and customers often do not engage with insurance companies day in, day out. But they train every day; they take transportation every day; and they get coffee and food every day.
The third group is operational partners – actors in areas where Manulife needs external assistance. "We would bring in partners to help us provide that service – whether it's digital contact management or fraud management, or even just looking at aspects where we need support," she says.
Having the right partners was important for ManulifeMOVE's speed and one reason why it proved successful. But that is just the beginning of a process to build a sustainable valuation proposal and constantly improve it.
"It has been a journey to look at how we feel, strategize how we should turn, test these pivots by launching them on the market and return to looking at the dial," says Munshi. "There has been a continuous iteration of the proposal, the technical solution and the business model."
Different markets, different needs
Manulife has a slightly different position over most of the six markets where ManulifeMOVE is located – Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam – and this is due to customer needs and potential Partners in each market tend to vary.
Understanding every market context is the key, says Munshi. To this end, Manulife conducts research to learn customer needs; it determines its positioning in each market and its relative strengths that it can use to take advantage of a complementary game; and it evaluates potential partners who can help it provide the services its customers need in their healthcare ecosystem.
These needs often differ. Manulife recently provided a list of ten options that customers could vote to include in the app. In Vietnam, customers wanted information, features and functions that would help them better understand their health and what they could do to improve it.
"In Hong Kong, the answer was that [our customers] would really prefer experiences and entertainment offerings over just having it better," says Munshi. "The bottom line is that not all markets are the same, so we usually try to enter a market, understand the need and then board partners to complement that need."
Range of Offers
The benefits that customers see from accessing Manulife's partners go far beyond what Manulife alone can offer. In China, for example, its franchise is in partnership with Sinochem which puts the Manulife SinochemMOVE bill at the center of its strategy, with its health ecosystem based on four categories:  Fitness  – including partners who support cardio training, such as who Jike Healths exclusive videos along with other wellness  content, solutions and lifestyle rewards .
Other partners provide similar services in other markets. For example, customers in Vietnam can use the American Chiropractor Clinic to get discounts for local chiropractic services, while in Hong Kong they can access content from the fitness group Goji Studios to work out at home.
In any case, the aim remains the same: to create a healthy ecosystem that helps Manulife's customers stay healthy and stay healthy.
In our last blog we will look at some of the technical aspects of innovating and developing solutions for such ecosystems.
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