The Business Transformation Podcast

How Transforming Gen Z Mental Health Is Driving the Next Future Trends - with Natanya Wachtel [012]

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How Transforming Gen Z Mental Health Is Driving the Next Future Trends

The mental health of Gen Z is a growing issue. Of course, you might say it’s absurd because this generation has it all—born with smartphones, the internet, and technology that’s just one click away. But to break the ice, Generation Z is also considered the loneliest generation. Between FOMO, social media, the ongoing pandemic, war, and all of that. It’s easy to see why this Generation is under chronic stress. Want to learn more? Don’t worry, because this episode will break it all down for you. Reeling in today’s episode is no other than Natanya Wachtel, the Founding Partner of New Solutions Network.

She is a renowned revenue-focused B2B2C marketing and branding strategist who specializes in behavioral health, digital transformation and marketing strategy.To add more, Natanya is also well-versed in new and emerging digital platforms and has been deeply involved with the biggest brands in healthcare, pharmaceuticals, and technology. She also has an excellent experience working as a social community builder, Natanya’s proposition is unbiased, extensively researched, creatively scientific, and supports audiences from GenZ to C-Suite. Our talk for today focuses around GenerationZ in terms of health care, mental health and the growing technology. You’ll definitely gain insights on this never before heard topics.

"It is one thing to recognize the issue and it’s another thing to come to help address it with the old tools and that’s the problem."

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Transcript

Heath:

Welcome to the Business Transformation Podcast. I’m your host,Heath Gascoigne. This is a show where I cut through all the hype and noise and get to the facts of what actually is business transformation and what is required, how to and how not to do it. I’ll be talking to industry experts and professionals to share their stories, strategies, and insights to help you start, turnaround, or grow your business transformation. By the end of this podcast, we have some practical tips to use to make your business transformation a success. Whether you’re just at the start of your journeyor midway through, I hope you enjoy.

Heath: Welcome my name is Heath Gascoigne and I’m the host of the Business Transformation Podcast and this is the show for business transformators who are part business strategists, part business designers, part collaborators, and part negotiators. Business transformators have moved past just design and includes oversight of implementation of those business designs and business transformation and includes stakeholder management, coordination, and negotiation. If you work in strategy development and implementation and work to ensure that is aligned to the business design and technology, then you’re probably a business transformator. This is a show where we speak to industry experts and professionals to share their stories, strategies, and insights to help you start, turn around, and grow your business transformation.

Today, we are speaking to one of these industry experts, Natanya Wachtel, is the founding partner of The New Solutions Network which includes The New Solutions Factory and chief community officer at the evrmore. Natanya has served as a board member on the WomenWho Create. Natanya, diverse expertise, innate talent, and prolific accomplishments, a powerful trifectapoised distinctly between the unexpected intersection of marketing, tech, and mental wellness. Natanya is an award-winning revenue focused B2B2C marketing and branding specialist, well versed in new and emerging digital platforms and with extensive experience with many of the biggest brands in healthcare, pharmaceuticals, and tech. She has an academic and clinical background in behavioral psychology and is a certified life coach, board-certified health and wellness coach, and neural linguistic programming, NLP,master practitioner. Her passion lies on mentoring young people, womenwhocreate.org, girls.inc, build.org, and coaching people to discover and unleash their exceptional potential. As a practiced social community builder, Natanya’s approach is inclusive, deeply researched, and creatively scientific, reaching in and activating audiences from Gene Z to C suite in eight languages. A veteran entrepreneur, accomplished speaker, and former journalist, Natanya’s work appears prolifically across renowned publications and industry events. Natanya, whoa, that is some background. Thank you for your time. Thank you for being here. How are you?

Natanya: Good. Thank you so much for having me.

Heath: Well, that’s an impressive resume there. You must be the most accomplished guest that we’ve had on the show so far, I can tell you.So we could talk about a lot of different things in terms of transformation but with your background, let’s focus on a few things, mental health and I see you have a particular interest in the younger generation, Generation Z, and so we’ll keep the agenda confined because that’s a very big topic, it’s a big demographic, for those that don’t know, it is the size of just a little bit smaller than, well, it is in terms of USA anyway, it’s the same size population, 70 million for the baby boomers and 65 or 68 million in generation Z so this is about the same size. So, if the world thinks about Generation Z as a small population, that’s like, no, it’s the size of the baby boomers, particularly in the US. Now, on our topic, we are gonna be focused on Generation Z in terms of health care. Is their currently health — mental health, rather, is there a problem with Generation Zin mental health? Why is there a problem? And you raised a particular issue that I wasn’t currently aware of, that this is the, if I understand correctly, Generation Zis the generation that grew up in technology and really only knows technology. They didn’t grow up in the days of fax machine or analog telephone. They always got technology in your face so I think in terms of I can see the mental, just thinking out loud, the mental impact that would have of kids growing up these days and seeing Instagram, the highlight reel, and they’re saying, “Oh, my goodness, life is like this all the time, it’s lovely, and, therefore, I must also have a lovely life and if I don’t, I might be of no value or a loser, maybe,” and, you know, the psychological impact of that. I mean, if it’s not treated, it goes out of control. So is there a problem? Why is there a problem? And then what are we doing about it? Which is kind of the three questions that I ask when I go do a transformation myself. So —

Natanya: Okay —

Heath: Natanya —

Natanya: All right —

Heath: — welcome.

Natanya: Thank you. So there’s a lot there. So Gen Z, which, depending on where you look, is either 1995 or 1997 birth year to 2010 or 2012 approximately. What you’ll also notice is the volume and size is similar to baby boomers but it’s half of the amount of years so it’s a huge group in a short amount of time.

Heath: So like 10 years versus20 years.

Natanya: Yeah, 10 to 12 versus 20, yeah. And they’re growing up in a time of, again, it might seem clichéd but legitimately measured an increase in anxiety and depression. In fact, you know, some research currently we were just speaking about, about 20 percent of their peers actually say they don’t have anxiety or depression or that it’s not a significant factor versus boomers who only 20 percent do. So 70 percent of boomers or 30 percent, excuse me, about 70 percent say that things are great and only about 20 percent of Gen Z does.

Heath: Wow.

Natanya: So they’re actually unfortunately nicknamed the most depressed generation. They’re more likely than their parents to seek out mental health though, which is great. 35 to 40 percent of them actually do seek out mental health and are more open to talking about getting support about mental health issues and more of them have actually worked with a clinician or a mental health professional. They have school shootings, they have debt and they grew up into a crash and joblessness and a lot of political strife. That was their early days of kind of high intensity —

Heath: The end of the last decade, yeah, so I think 1997 was about — was there a stock market crash around then? I think I lived —

Natanya: Yeah, there was a late 90s, early 2000s so they’re very early time and then 2009,’10, ’11 was another big year since, yeah, so it affected, you know, their parents, which obviously affected them —

Heath: So what did that mean for them? That they would be — in a time where they would be more — what’s the word? Tighter with their money because they’ve seen tight times so then —

Natanya: Yes, they’re more frugal in general than the sort of clichéd role archetype of the millennial that they, you know, we talk about avocado toast and that kind of thing, that’s not for Gen Z. Gen Z is much more spendthrift. In fact, thrifting, thrift shop clothing, recycling, reusing, they’re very much more connected about making do with what you have, which is great. Also, we are talking about younger folks, from 13 to 15to early to mid-20s so a lot of them haven’t even entered the workforce, although there are many in the workforce right now. But they haven’t necessarily fully earned their potential yet so we’re not 100 percent on the spending, but even comparable rates of early 20s in Gen Z compared to millennials or Gen X, they are more spendthrift. But really it’s tech, we think tech is playing a big role in everything, you know?They’re growing up hyper connected and this can get really intense, evoke, you know, real consuming feelings of isolation and loneliness. So they’re surrounded by everyone and no one. They’re an island. And then also having the COVID and being not in school at very pivotal formative times, like first year of high school or your first year of university if you’re going or your first year in your job. So they basically have this kind of drumbeat of negative news stories surrounding them. Then they have this FOMO, this fear of missing out, because everyone’s highlighting, what?“ I’m on a mountain and I’m over here and I’m doing this,” and so there’s FOMO, they’re missing out, and then there’s this sort of shame and falling short of this ideal because of this curated media that everybody is essentially their own publicist from the time they’re seven or eight years old.

Heath: Yeah. Everyone’s a celebrity now.

Natanya: Yeah, and, you know, the Wall Street Journal and other publications are now starting to report about the impact of Instagram — maybe I’m not supposed to name, I’ll say social platforms, on the mental health of teenagers. A lot of it is this comparison and it’s not just for young women, but that is a big area. This is for all kinds of folks, you know?Emerging sexual identity issues and definition. There’s more acceptance in some ways but there’s also more polarizing things, as you can see in the news and even in our government about these kinds of things. So body image, suicide, anxiety, depression, you know, feeling less than, school shootings, this is sort of normal conversation for these young people. And the suicide rate, unfortunately, is up about 30 percent right now in this age group.

Heath: Wow. So they got a lot of — I wasn’t aware of what I would be, I think I’m a Generation X, and, you know, I wasn’t aware of all these potential issues, that the technology would be an issue or cause an issue, but I can, you know, when you step back, like, you know, going to a client and if you step back and look at the big picture what’s going on, you go, okay, yes, I can see that if they’re bombarded with all this, I don’t know, let’s pick on, without saying any names, Instagram, you know, the highlight reel of everyone’s life or the very, very best, of course it looks amazing, but the reality is it isn’t always like that. This is the highlight reel. But if kids don’t have maybe training or the ability to step back and see and go,“Oh, does that happen all the time?” then they might be led to believe that this is reality and they must also achieve the same outcomes or same results and live a great life like they do. And if they don’t, then there’s something wrong with them.

Natanya: Right. And then the pandemic comes, which has affected all of us in different ways, some more than others, and it destabilized economies, their whole education often was interrupted as well as their social life, but even there was a lot of loss of life and a lot of older siblings had to step up and essentially parent their younger siblings while they’re stuck home together, become caregivers, become teachers, I mean, and they’re young themselves, the depression rates is up, you know, anywhere from 20 to 40 percent, depending on where you look, The Lancet studies across the globe. But it’s pretty intense. And then a lot of them were entering the workforce at the first time at this time too, it’s a very tough time, as you know. There’s a lot of job loss or lack — even though there’s a lot of talks about openings in jobs, there’s also a lot of job loss, especially for some of those early career jobs and minimum wage jobs and jobs that were just their source of income to get by, especially if you’re a young student.

Heath: So these would be probably then the most educated, because I think maybe the education now has gotten better over the years, but also maybe their earning potential, although they haven’t reached the potential because they’re like maximum of 25 years old, their potential, maybe from an investor’s perspective, they look at this population and say, “Wow, this is the next version of the baby boomers,” when they’re about to hit their earning potential when they leave university more educated, more opportunity, all the technology in the world, the most technology in the world right now, so there’d be a few eyes looking at them, but they have this inherent, unfortunately, issue, mental health wise, that is, what would you say? Under serviced or under recognized?

Natanya: Yes, I think it’s starting to be recognized but it’s definitely underserviced and we were talking about this before we recorded and I think it’s worth mentioning, I hope, that it’s one thing to recognize the issue, it’s another thing to come to help address it with the old tools, and that’s the problem. So the underserved comes from part of the fact that because they’re tech natives, the way they speak to each other, the way they speak to adults, the way they feel about therapy, yes, they might be more open to it but they also have a different sense of self, a sense of what they wanna be and who they wanna be and how they get there is completely different than the way it was defined 30, 40, or 50 years ago, which is still how traditional talk therapy is set up, you know?Surveys, self-assessments, the way things are written in a scale, you know, “How are you feeling about this today?” It’s all written in a way that doesn’t connect very well. Also, the isolation, we know there’s a rise in telehealth and tele medicine so talk therapy maybe access is a huge challenge, right? Therapists are just overwhelmed. They cannot see all the patients that they want. Their appointments are months out, even with telehealth. And then it’s still an arbitrary moment in time. So, you know, one of the reasons we started focusing and looking at how do we better serve this generation from a mental health perspective, resilience, self-efficacy, grit, determination, because we need them. They’re the future, right? And we need to help them in the way that’s going to work for them. So, one of the things we’re trying to do is kind of turn old school therapy on its head and really look at engagement and building the hero’s journey and building up each one of these young people to be the best them, however they define that, that they can be. And a lot of that has to do with those things around mastery and resilience and grit, to push through the noise and the clutter and the negative loop spiral that they’re basically being exposed to every time they open their phone, which they have to not just open their phone for socialization, now school is on the phone, work is on the phone, everything’s on the phone, you know? I say on the phone, any tech, tablet, what have you.

Heath: Yeah, any mobile device, the handheld mobile device. So, to address this problem, when I go in and my team will go into a transformation, not a particular process, but there’s usual steps or stages that you go through. Is there a particular process to address this? We’ve gotta do it in a certain order, because it sounds like if the messaging is wrong…

Natanya: Right, right. I don’t know if there’s one size, I know that we’re exploring AI tools. We had also spoken about that older generations, the things that are out there in the commercial marketplace today, there’s a lot of bot-driven sort of therapy apps and those work pretty well for older folks because they’re not necessarily expecting and used to a level of engagement and personalization that the younger generation is sort of table stakes, right? So —

Heath: They like that —

Natanya: — have to kinda evolve —

Heath: — customization.

Natanya: Yeah. They’re gonna expect more personalized experience because they’re gonna expect that from any brand that they engage with, right? Not even mental health, any brand, and they’re less brand loyal about brand name and more about customer centricity. So that applies across all businesses, right? In mental health, you have to have a few things. It has to have credibility, of course, and it has to have engagement. So, basically, therapy can be boring and also be even perceived as, you know, slow in terms of affecting change, because it often can take months and months and months and some of them say, you know, “I had to meet with six therapists before I found someone that I can connect with.” So what we’re trying to do is sort of support and respect the therapeutic communities and the clinicians and the job that they have to do, which is big and difficult, but also supplement all this time that these young people are waiting to deal with their traumas and their situation. So we have to be a little creative in that way, at least, that’s what my groups are working to do with using game theory, making apps that have adventure, a call to adventure within them, and so the idea of traditional therapy kind of goes to the background and the idea of going on a quest to better yourself is kind of more in the foreground and using that kind of language instead of, “How do you feel today on a scale of one to five?” you know? So it’s a kind of a different way of defining and addressing the starting point.

Heath: So would it be that scale of one to five almost like condescending, that’s not really empowering, so you’re flipping the messaging around, although maybe the outcome is still the same but the way that you do it, let’s say it’s a user journey, I don’t know if you call it that way, or user experience, that the user experience is, in your words, was it customer centric? So more understanding of the customer to start with.

Natanya: Yeah. So, basically, the other thing is that the way people defined themselves just a few generations ago were really bound by often two or three attributes. Your career, you know, “I am a stockbroker,” “I am a school teacher,” by your ethnicity, by your gender. These were the labels, right? You know, “I go to church,” or, “I go to synagogue,” or, “I, you know, go here and that’s like one of my identities,” and, “I’m a parent,” and, “I’m a clinician,” whatever that is, you had three or four things that like defined you. And because of those, there were societal norms that you kind of said, “Okay, I fit here or I fit here.” Well, nowadays, all of that is blown up. And in any given day, any one young person has like seven personas that they manage. They have the persona that they wanna curate and be for their high school, let’s just say, in their classes with their teachers, but then let’s say they’re a president of this club and that club and then they have a different sort of persona and then, you know, after school, they’re into some group where they do fashion and then they have that persona. And so there’s all these different identities that they say they’re sort of wrestling and stitching together in a fabric that aren’t tethered so there’s a beautiful thing in terms of that they are defining themselves, they are the most varied in terms of how they describe themselves, where they align, being aware of some of their mental health issues and naming them. At the same time, it’s so many kinds of things, it’s very easy to feel other. And that’s a challenge. When you feel other, like you said, you can feel less than, so not only fear of missing out on an event or a party or a movement, but also on your self-worth of like, “I belong here. Where do I belong? I’m not one thing.” And that’s another area that you have to navigate a little bit differently, whether you’re a consumer commercial brand appealing to them for brand loyalty and acquisition of a productor to engage with them on a journey, like a mental health journey.

Heath: How do you see brand loyalty there? Would they be loyal to a brand or they’re brand agnostic?

Natanya: Unlike generations before, more brand agnostic in terms of like the label and more about, quite frankly, a lot more close to what a brand stands for in terms of their commitment on cultural, socio political issues, those things come to the forefront. They know about these things, and/or their commitment to customers and/or servicing different kinds of customers. So, depending on where the young people are on the spectrum of their personal beliefs, they will look for brands that share those personal beliefs.

Heath: Yeah. Wow, that’s a good tip there for —

Natanya: And price may be completely, you know, irrelevant. I mean, not completely irrelevant but way less in the consideration set, at least in the sort of survey data.

Heath: Okay, so they’re more concerned about the experience that they get, that it was tailored or customized to them, as opposed to — and not say irrespective of the price, price may be secondary, but as long as they got that, I think the most part would be personalized user experience.

Natanya: Yeah, their relationship. So the relationship, how they’re treated and what does the company or that brand stand for, you know? What do they stand behind? So that’s, again, I’m not saying pro or conany personal thing to stand for and I’m not saying they’re all activism in one side of the spectrum or the other, but generally they’re bound to a brand that feels like it aligns to their values, which is very different. I feel like if you were asking a boomer about their investment portfolio 30 years ago, you couldn’t tell me what the company culture was of the companies in that investment portfolio, but today, you’d have a young investor who would.

Heath: Yeah. Oh, wow, that’s a good tip for organizations that, yeah, look at probably their values and their mission statement and think about how they, if they were targeting Gen Z, that they were targeting it and online with the message. I think a big part of the whole servicing that market would be making sure that their message is like, what would you say, if it’s not on tune, it’ll go fuzzy, then you’re just gonna go straight over their head.

Natanya: Yeah, yeah. And if it’s sort of just platitudes and there’s no real evidence, they will suss that out as well. So they will, you know, these are the Wikipedia contributors, these are the researchers, these are the I’m gonna connect the left hand to the right hand to see what’s going on and they want authenticity. And we’ve seen that with a lot of the activism involvement. It feels very much like kind of the beginning of the 70s again, you know, where young people are getting involved and saying, “I wanna change the world,” and they mean it. They don’t have the money yet but we also spoke about they are poised to inherit a lot of the world’s wealth —

Heath: Yes.

Natanya: — as they are the grandchildren of the wealthy. And those folks are getting sicker and passing on sadly. And so they are becoming into inheritance as well as their early careers, more educated, more qualified, and more able to probably negotiate and navigate better sort of employee benefits and that kind of thing, because they’re ready for it. They’re sort of saying, “I deserve to be treated like a human so here’s what that looks like.” And it’s a very, very different type of culture, lexicon, language, and expectation for interpersonal dynamicsas well as financials.

Heath: Just in case the listeners had missed that, or viewers, is that they are the grandchildren of the generation of the boomers, baby boomers, baby boomers who have they’ve done well and acquired their wealth and are retiring or passing away and leaving them inheritance and both they have effectively two sources of income, inheritance but also their education as they enter now the workforce with possibly inheritance, that they have a lot of spending power.

Natanya: Yeah. I mean, the projections in the next decade are astronomical and that’s why, if you wait 10 years to pay attention to Gen Z, you’re gonna miss the boat. It’s now.

Heath: So you gotta plant the seed now to benefit from the growth in this market, both in probably the population, but would they, so the baby boomers, the baby boomers after the war, after the World Wars, you know, they come home, soldiers come home, and that’s hence why there was a baby boom, so families married, husband and wife, family unit, children, is that still the scenario then with this generation?

Natanya: So, again, I’m gonna generalize a bit so for you and the audience, forgive me here, but probably not a shock that traditional heterosexual marriage as well as, you know, other kinds of marriage is generally down and —

Heath: So that’s the population growth falling —

Natanya: — also the number of children — yes, the number of children and young people who have been surveyed about their plans. So we know this isn’t necessarily an exact number because people don’t always do exactly what they think they’re going to do, of course, but just looking at cohort analogs from the same point in time, so meaning high school students in the 2000s, in the 2010s, I can say, the 90s that were surveyed, so same age points in time going forward, the number of young people who say they’re going to have children is statistically doubling down in the negatives every year. So less are saying, “I plan to have children, I plan to be married, I plan to buy a house,” you know, all those kinds of numbers are consistently going down. So family looks different. Friends giving that I think millennials coined but things around this —

Heath: What do they call it? Friendsgiving?

Natanya: Yeah, chosen family, you know, essentially people are coming together with other like-minded people and making partnerships and living arrangements and small, not commune, but community-based situations. kind of akin to that. That’s why I was saying it feels like the 70s. It’s a lot about collaboration, sharing resources. And it’s amazing and that’s across all socioeconomic statuses and all ethnicities and all gender affiliations, like it’s really interesting. I mean, people are just saying, “We like similar things, we have similar values. Let’s, you know, find a way to support each other.” That doesn’t mean that no one’s having any children but it’s definitely less focused on children definitely a little bit later and/or fewer children and less likely to be married.

Heath: Okay, so if they — that’s a bit of a concern that if the next generation they’re not interested in, what’s the word? Procreate?

Natanya: Procreating, yeah.

Heath: Yeah, procreating. So if that generation is not looking forward to having children, then there’s a population decline overall so that’s a bit of a concern. And if they are featuring — how do they feature in terms of stats and mental health compared to the others, suicide, depression, hospital admissions for self-harm, those kind of things? Is it a big number? Should we be concerned —

Natanya: Yes. So it’s pretty bad. I mean, it’s doubling. It’s up there. Now, again, you have a little bias around the fact that now there’s a name, people put a name to their feelings in a way that boomers didn’t as much, right? So you’re gonna have more incidents anyway, just like other things, like ADHD and autism spectrum disorders and things that are now we have different tools to assess, some of the increase is because of the fact that there are more tools to assess, right? So you can identify them. But also, statistically significant increase just in incidents so just to be careful, like I wanna make sure everyone, you know, I like to look at data from a couple of ways to make sure it tells the story in a way that really, we don’t infer things that aren’t relevant. But, yes, it’s quite significant. And you can imagine, if you don’t have those social normsto kind of pull you in and out, even colloquially among friends, you know, someone who gets really upset about something and then their friends are like, “Okay, you know, I know that really hurt your feelings, but they probably didn’t mean this or that,” you know, you can kind of get nuance, you can get tone, you have live interactions, you can look at things from a few angles and not necessarily just the way that you perceive it in your head. When you, meaning anyone right now, if we were writing a text message back and forth to one another, a lot of the sentiment would be lost and unless you really know the person, sometimes intent is not clear and discernible. So imagine all that doubt for most of your interactions in life. It’s a very, very heavy burden and it’s really tough to anchor your baseline. And that’s why, you know, we’re focusing on helping build up young people to look within themselves and get that strength and look to others and in an authentic way, where there’s trust and not a competition for who’s the coolest all the time and make sort of, you know, that be the cost of entry of social engagement. We’re trying to kind of shift that whole dynamic. It’s a big goal.

Heath: Yeah, massive goal. So you’re starting off on — just to put it in context, so we’re talking about evrmore or we’re talking about the New Solutions Network?

Natanya: We’re talking about evrmore for the most part. New Solutions Network is a group of like-minded but very different skilled senior folks in industry and healthcare, medtech, who are looking to help the traditional stewards, if you will, a lot of the, quite frankly, investment in patient consumer programs for wellness, betterment, or even better health. So, the reality is that bio, tech, and pharma brands, company manufacturers, and sometimes health insurance providers, like payers, you know, big health insurance companies, global and US only, you know, they’re the ones who fund a lot of the research and the work around betterment, around managing chronic diseases in terms of not just the therapy that you put in your mouthor in your armor where, but also what you do with that in your daily life, your relationship with your clinicians and all that. So, because of that, and I come from in-house pharma career trajectory, really pushing for authentic support, not just, “Check the box, we made a pretty ad and we made a checklist in a box that had some keychains in it and a refill reminder program, good luck with your diabetes,” you know? “And now you have your pills so here’s a postcard and a contest and good luck with your depression,” you know? So really trying to look to those —

Heath: That was the old school, was it? That’s the old school method of —

Natanya: Yeah. I mean, I worked on a lot of those, yeah, brands and really was desperate, quite frankly, begging for funding of like the promotions budget. “Can I just have some of your pen money so I can like make a brochure to just explain this?” you know?Like it was so difficult in the early days in pharma to get anyone to care about patients. Now, most pharma and biotech companies plaster all over LinkedIn and their walls have painted mission and “We care about patients first” and that’s wonderful. But sometimes, when the rubber meets the road, there’s still some work to be done and I think that’s a function of these big, giant, behemoth engines that are in place that a lot of that is set up to protect us all, quite frankly. There’s a lot of regulations and protections in place to do that. But, sometimes, the creativity gets lost within that, right? The balance, and it’s a difficult balance to strike and I’m not saying there’s an exact formula either, but the balance between doing something that actually helps, and for me, it was about going to bed at night and feeling like I did something that mattered instead of just made a PowerPoint, you know, that actually gets in the hands of people who need it and not just, “Okay, I signed a contract with a company that’s gonna help pay for medicines, I don’t really know if it works or if people can do it but I signed that so I did the right thing.” That’s kind of how pharma has been, hands off. And I don’t mean that they don’t care but they’re not involved in the actual customer experience. Very rarely. There’s a lack of visibility, so many layers, and, quite frankly, nobody’s being measured on that customer experience because the compounds that they were producing, that takes years and years of clinical trials and major, major investments, of course and understandably, and clinicians and the data and the safety and the efficacy is where the focus was, and then, of course, the sales, but focusing on, “Okay, after all of that, somebody’s taking your therapy, what else can you do to support them in a real way?” that’s still emerging.

Heath: From the big pharma’s perspective, what you’re just saying there, is previously they would not listen to the customer, well, maybe not listen but their thinking was —

Natanya: The only customer to them was the physician, yeah.

Heath: Not the end user.

Natanya: Yeah. That wouldn’t even be called customer until pretty recently.

Heath: Oh, wow.

Natanya: And physicians weren’t seen as people either, by the way. They were seen as factories to write scripts, you know? They weren’t necessarily considered about their workflow or their practice needs or their challenges with certain guidelines or resources, you know? So really looking at what is a customer for pharma and biotech and with payer systems in a new way and trying to bring that authenticity that we’re talking about with Gen Zacross, right? Do what you say you’re gonna do, imagine, right? And try and do good. I mean, do more — less harm than, you know, then you’ve done good. And that’s really like the balance. That’s all we’re trying to push for. And it’s difficult.

Heath: That’s a fundamental shift or transformation of an industry there to change that thinking, whether they say profits before people, but now the switch to be people before profits.

Natanya: Or at least at the same time, you know? I think that they were saying it in the last 10 years, I don’t see many companies truly —

Heath: Doing it.

Natanya: — doing it, right, and I understand why because you need somebody passionate about it to pay attention all the way down to the level of button pushing and that’s really difficult to do. But I do believe it’s possible. And they have to maybe also think a little bit out of the box and look for different kinds of innovative partnershipsand maybe not control the relationship as much as they once wanted in terms of the dialogue and be comfortable enough that if there are solutions, whether that be a medicine, a device, digital therapeuticor an injectable or any kind of therapy, whatever that is, or a pill or an infusion, okay, that is, of course, the main thing they’re focused on, but if you’re saying you care about that customer, that patient or that treater, the treating clinician or the health care team, you need to think about how their life works around that and what they might also need that you could be uniquely poised to help with. And is it really valid or did you make it so you’re proud of it? So meaning like making a lot of their own solutions, may or may not be the way to go and sharing the credit with an established company that has solutions that can actually affect change. So that’s kind of, you know, a shift.

Heath: Would that be, in that case, for like I would say project delivery where you create a product that they would outsource it to a provider that has two things, maybe the ability or capability to develop and implement or deliver that service, but their values are aligned as well?

Natanya: Yes, exactly. And they may or may not have a customer base that is outside of that manufacturer’s purview so meaning in mental health, in diabetes, in oncology, you know, there’s gonna be multiple manufacturers with different solutions and products and therapies for different kinds of people. Some are gonna be competitive, some are gonna be complementary, and some are gonna be just across different segments but they may all be serviced by a similar platform or community group. And that used to be the role of advocacy groups mostly, advocacy organizations that would help do that bridging, but I’m talking more about like services and tools, like apps, like things to help you the rest of your life beyond your disease management.

Heath: You have an interesting app, don’t you? For evrmore? Something that is unique currently right now.

Natanya: Yes. I mean, we think so. We do. We’ve tried —

Heath: Without giving too much away, if you don’t want to.

Natanya: No, I do. It’s available in the app store right now and some of the things I can’t give away are sort of who we’re partnering with, but I’ll say large payer system, so people who provide insurance, private and Medicaid in the US right now, so that people can access it and provide this — it’s a mental wellness betterment app but it’s not supposed to feel like therapy and it’s for Gen Z and it’s really rooted in the thing that you said in my introduction, you know, sort of the interconnection of a couple things that we think are really important and powerful, which is sort of the intersection of tech, psychology, and young people, right? So it brings together the best of the best across the AI space, you know, using AI with empathy built in and that is a huge factor. In fact, it’s part of the core foundation there. And focusing on the initial person, inner journey, so we call it the hero’s journey, and helping bolster and bring them up to be the best them that they can be. So it has a feeling of a spirit of adventure, there’s game theory so that it’s exciting so that you wanna do it. But, ultimately, it’s in complement. If the person has a therapist or they’re on medication, you know, it works in complement with what they’re already doing and helps you work through some of your issues, especially with the case rates as they are with clinicians being just backlogged for months. This is an in-the-moment, real-time way to process how you’re feeling about certain things for young people. And pharma, it doesn’t fit exactly well with the old pharma models, but some of the new companies are very interested in looking at how we partner such that they can offer something that actually is fun and exciting and useful and still helps with that mastery and self-efficacy and anxiety and depression lowering. But that’s just one example for one market, yeah.

Heath: It’s interesting that you say they find it exciting and useful together. Yeah, I’ve been on some projects where they have, well, you think that we find it exciting or the changes they implement would be useful, but it ends up being just interesting. There’s a key word there, “useful.” I’ve seen a lot of projects where they deliver things that are interesting but not useful. Like you say, the values, a company has espoused values, you know, versus espoused, what they say they’d like to do, versus enacted, what actually happens in practice, is a little bit separated.

Natanya: Right, exactly, and so here, we’re just trying to explore how we get the best of both worlds and have respect and honor and, quite frankly, need these big players to help support so that we can put these kinds of tools in everyone’s hand. We don’t want cost to be a barrier, right? So that’s another thing that we’re dealing with, a big wealth disparity in the country so getting access to care, and I don’t just mean mental health, any kind of care, you know, with our health care system, you must have heard of this quite a bit, it’s very different. I know visiting the UK, I had some illness and I went with my mother-in-law in and I was coughing and this was before COVID and they took me right in and they treated me and they gave me all this medicine and I just felt so confused, even though I have lived overseas, about what to do with all this extra time and lack of forms. I mean, I think I put my name on the form. And I was like, “Well, let’s stop in the gift shop because I feel like I didn’t spend any money and I came into a hospital, something’s wrong,” like I didn’t know what to do with myself.

Heath: Yeah, you didn’t get a big bill.

Natanya: And so I went to, you know, it was like a charity shop, and then the same. I had medicine that I needed. They said, “If you need, come back.” I was seen right away. And it was so pleasant. And that’s not really the experience here in the States for most people, most folks, the health care burden is quite a bit. So if we can get access, and that does have a cost because at least for this app that we’re working with, we are very private about that data and so that has a cost to store privately, right? So if you have advertising, people don’t always understand, like Facebook and Instagram, if I’m allowed to say their names, I think, you know, the platforms that exist today that they use to communicate with, their data is there and used in different ways and sold to advertisers and that’s why they are free. So because we’re not doing that, we need sponsors. And so we have to, you know, we can’t disintermediate the clinicians and we can disrupt these large organizations that, quite frankly, are the reason we’ll be able to do what we do.

Heath: Would that be, if product is for free, you have the product, you’re providing them something, in most cases it’s the data, so maybe then, particular around health then, people would be hesitant to use a particular site, website, app, mobile device because of the potential reuse of the data, then, yeah, there’s the reluctancy but there’s means and ways you could possibly get around that, you know, tell them it’s secure and other things, but when it’s backed by a health or medical or big pharma or bio or something related to life sciences, does that also create the same hesitancy?

Natanya: No. I mean, I think they’re sort of like popular opinion sentiment, and I will say that having worked in house and I like to think that I have integrity, I know that there are actually a lot of levers in place from a regulatory perspective to keep health information private. And that’s why we’re trying to work with people who understand that and hopefully people will respect and understand that rather than other tech companies whose data sharing is much less stringent, let’s just say.

Heath: Okay.

Natanya: Because nobody’s gonna trust it if they can’t feel that their data is private. No one’s gonna speak their truth. This is what we’re hoping for themselves. But we have to pay to store it and keep it private so there is a monthly cost, you know, and that’s also why we need sponsorships to help provide access to those who can, because it’s in the consumer marketplace, who can’t get access otherwise.

Heath: So, in terms of your product, is it live right now? You’re on the app store, aren’t you?

Natanya: Yes, we are in the app store, just very recently, and pretty exciting stuff happening there. But, again, this is a startup so we have ways to go. But the adoption rate is pretty impressive for us and we’re really excited and we came through an incubator program so we’ve had quite a few in the tens of thousands of beta testers, we work with young people, I actually personally get to run the Youth Advisory, and it is so rewarding. I learned so much. Some people mentor because they like to feel really smart. I like to do it because it’s a true natural hi to like see somebody —

Heath: The feel good factor —

Natanya: — realize something for the first time for themselves, master something and wanna share it with you, and even through Zoom, because we have to do a lot of it virtually now, but it’s an incredible feeling and these young people are so committed and so invested in understanding themselves and bettering others. And these are very different young people, like they don’t have the same interests, they don’t have the same affiliations, and yet there’s this common thread. It was really amazing to me.

Heath: Wow. You know, I do a little bit of mentoring myself to younger generations, both professionally, as in they are young professionals and then those that are still in high school. So I did a big brother program back in Australia. It was part of a sponsored program from where I was working at the time. So I do quite enjoy that but I didn’t realize the mental health issue. So that’s very interesting year. Yeah, that they are gonna be the leading demographic, being the next leaders of the world and they’ve got issues now that generation after them are gonna be even worse.

Natanya: Yeah, so what we need to do is we need to use the resources that we have, the knowledge that we have, and meet them where they are. I mean, that’s what we’re trying to do. And like I said on the sort of corporate side new solutions, we’re trying to work through our corporate partners and relationships to help bring awareness here and to work on things that help connect not just with Gen Z that’s across any kind of patient type but even clinicians, just humans. Let’s connect to humans and help humans do their jobs and treat diseases and fight and help all be better, right? Rising tide floats all the boats. That’s a tough sell.

Heath: Wow. Yeah, that’s a great quote, that one.

Natanya: Sadly, and then —

Heath: I will quote you on that.

Natanya: — specific solution, you know, work on — so the founder of evrmore, you know, is a former colleague of mine, an amazing woman named Ivy, and she was at, I think I’m allowed to say, Price water house Coopers. She was at a different job. Most of us came in and just started to have that pull and that feeling of, “Can I do something to help heal the world?” And she answered that call and the rest of us are joining her, you know, we’ve taken arms, because she’s a pioneer in it and she’s passionate and she’s dedicated and I don’t know when she sleeps and we’ve been really lucky —

Heath: Oh, she’s doing it all the time.

Natanya: Yeah —

Heath: Fantastic.

Natanya: — and we’ve been really lucky to come on the journey, because the more I get involved, the more I know this is the thing that matters, you know? And that’s really hard to come from sort of a corporate background to kind of do that and kind of do something that’s a little risky, but I really believe it’s worth it and I think that, you know, the conversations we get to have with these youth advisors, even down to the way they frame up things, they are so articulate and sometimes I also see something that I think is unfortunate where older generations dismiss them and their perspectives because of their youth and because of like the first level TikTok culture cliché around they’re not taking things seriously. And I’ve heard them that say like, “Listen, I’ve grown up with like war, political instability, school shootings, shooter drills, friends getting kicked out of their house because they’re gay,” like all these things and he’s like, “And I’m like15, sometimes we need brain cleaner and that’s why we like doing stuff,” and like I kind of got it explained to me a little bit too and that like they’re not that they’re not aware, it’s that they need a little bit to tune out because it’s so intense and so real and they were thrust upon information that most of us didn’t really even have exposure to until if we left home. I mean, you had to look up in an encyclopedia or maybe get a hand on a newspaper to even understand about what was going on in the world. Now, the strife of the world is the headline news that before they barely open their eyes, they’ve already got it in their newsfeed.

Heath: Yeah, yeah, wow, they get almost bombarded nonstop, can’t turn it off. So, you know, with these projects and programs I go into, we go into, I think not say it separates us but we go in there to build the capability so that the client can have the skill set and the training, the tools that they can do it themselves. So you’re talking about the coachesor the mentors, if they are the next generation coming through, they are also maybe the next trainers themselves?

Natanya: Yeah. I know that I have a little bit of a cringe personally, like when even you’re doing my bio, because everybody is a coach now and I know that. I know that that’s how it seems. And so I sort of I have like a mixed feeling about it myself even being in the field. But a lot of that is that in order to get those certifications at times, you have to go through the, as you know, you have to go through a lot of these exercises and I had to deconstruct my own self in the process and I just truly felt it so liberating and so motivating towards actually doing affecting change, whatever, you know, you’re into, that I wanted to share that deconstructing of the self and building it backup is okay, especially if you’re in, you know, maybe a more rigid career track. And then for organizations to do, without being pejorative or insulting or saying, “Hey, guess what, don’t make money, just be altruistic,” really functional around, like you said, workshopping and training, understanding you can still be have financial P&L goals met and actually connect with customers and do something of value and — imagine, right? So to work through how to move through systems, what kind of checkboxes, if you will, or checklists or protocols or SOPs, whatever you wanna call it, need to happen such that you’re aware of where you’re at with your customers across these different stages versus just, “This is our projected revenue and this is our actual sales and we did a good job so customers love us, the end,” and we’re trying to turn over that apple cart, especially in the life sciences.

Heath: I think my personal maybe experience in the projects that I’m involved in, that there is a little bit of maybe more so the customer journey or customer experience through their interaction with the organization. Hopefully that is a bit more widespread, just my personal experience. But if you’re saying — the questionnaire about deconstructing yourself and rebuilding yourself is okay, is it because maybe the millennials see themselves as — oh, sorry, the Gen X, Gen Y, see themselves as you can’t ask for help?

Natanya: Yeah. One of the stats that was really interesting in one of the Gen Z articles was saying narcissism is down, and I was like, oh, I didn’t know narcissism was up, but apparently, Gen — I’m Gen X, Gen X and Gen Y and boomers and the silent generation were much more self-focused and what that means sometimes is around the same thing as what you were saying about where you go for guideposts for success and happiness are shifting, right? And where that’s the same, so where customers and customers or consumers and even clinicians of any products or service, what success looks like is shifting, and I think some categories, some industries are moving just more quickly than others so it’s not a shock that consumer packaged goods are already there, right? They know that they have to satisfy that. They know if you saw, let’s say cause du jour, because I don’t wanna alienate anyone, but let’s just say any movement, any current event, many companies where you’d see every company you’ve ever heard of with an email or company page that talked about their commitment or their position on that issue, right? Like the sneakers and the ChapSticks and the — you know what I mean?The cars, like whatever you were selling, all of a sudden, you’re seeing companies’ position on these things. That didn’t happen years ago. It didn’t matter. So I think that the financial services industry started looking at money in a different way and customers in a different way in terms of microlending starts coming up, you know, so they’re just looking at who is a customer and what does it mean differently and I think that the life sciences on the med tech side is going there and then the old school, if you will, sorry, but payers and biotech and pharma who were more tied to their core business model around discovery of new therapies and putting them into the marketplace, that’s why I think there’s a lot of work to be done there but, again, they’re our friends, we need them because we need to help each other out. They have resources, they have access to individuals, to lives, to data, to study, to safety protocols, and we have the innovative tools to help make those relationships better.

Heath: Okay, when you say that for the partners, that’s to help and get support, that’s the rising tide raises all boats. Fantastic. It goes full circle then.

Natanya: I hope. I’m still hopeful. Maybe if we reconnect in a year’s time, we’ll see. But right now, I’m smiling and hopeful because that’s all we can be, right? But I feel like these young people are really asking some of the questions that I think are, as a society, we’ve all been afraid to ask, asking of themselves and of others. Who are you? What do you stand for? What do you want? Is what you are and who you are the same for me and for you and for you and for you? And how can we help each other all be better? It sounds really hippie-ish but, I mean, it’s a really beautiful, basic, primal human thing and I think that’s what’s really amazing to me about these young people coming from all walks of life and having a very similar platform that they start with, which is that. And I thought, wow, adults could really learn from this, you know? And I noticed that even on LinkedIn. I mean, look at how LinkedIn feeds were just a couple years ago to now. Now you see personal stories. CEOs and presidents of companies sharing a picture of a child at a desk saying, “My son is home working next to me today,” and I was like, wow, they’re really sharing their personal stuff or sharing a health diagnosis on LinkedIn with thousands of random people and just being vulnerable and also asking for help and support of causes that they believe in. And so you see this shift everywhere, obviously, but I think that the young people, for them, that’s normal to them. That’s where they’re starting.

Heath: Yeah. I have to say that I’ve seen those personal posts and I did see it at the time, it’s like a stage, it was all like corporate and no feeling emotion, and then it became a little bit and then those posts and people would comment and say, “This is not Facebook.” And now I see no one saying that anymore, “This is not Facebook,” and now it is some personal stories. Again, we’re humans. We’re humans again. This is good. Very good. But it took some time and, as usual, there’s a video about a guy dancing, you might have seen it. They use it a lot on about, I don’t know if it’s psychology or group theory, there’s a guy dancing on his own on a hillside at a festival and he’s dancing crazily, he’s having a lot of fun and everyone’s standing and looking at him going, “Look at this guy,” and next thing you know, the whole hill is dancing. It took one person. And then just like LinkedIn, a couple of people and now, hey, we’re all humans again. So, hopefully, yes, I’m hopeful. So how far away? You’ve just come from an incubator, you’ve got your product out there, you must be pretty close to scaling and now you have America covered, then you’ll be off to the rest of the world then.

Natanya: Yeah, we actually have some cool partnerships just launching too, wound up through one of our advisors connecting with the Romanian robotics team. They are world champions and pretty exciting, pretty smart group of young people who are gonna be part of our beta testing group. We have basically partnered all over the world with small groups that we’re trying to — I think the app right now currently for evrmore is in English only so you have to be, you know, can be ESL but English speaker, but, yeah, we’re looking at global and cultural, you know, to make sure that everything resonates and see how we do that and having adoption and growth and enhancement around the globe, because that’s the goal, to help everyone everywhere. And if we can’t, that someone else can. And then that side of the business and then with new solutions, we’re trying to work with corporations to do similar things, whether they have their own tools, you know, the tools and the service are just mechanisms of action, right? Ultimately, it’s the mindset, and then, quite frankly, the funding that is aligned to actually affecting change.

Heath: Okay, you said a key word there about the mindset, it’s a big thing on the mindset. I see that with these transformation projects when they say, “We’re agile,” and they say that in really name only but their behavior, the way they think is still how they’ve always done it, and it’s not — yeah, the mindset needs to change first and then everything else will follow.

Natanya: Right or just, you know, acronym BINGO for acronym sync, or buzzword bingo, right? So it’s, you know, maybe the words I use aren’t as eloquent but there’s a true benefit when you can make someone’s life just a little easier or a little better. And there is enough wealth, data, tools, science to help do that for people. We just have to sometimes help put it together in a different way.

Heath: Yeah, package it and get the right messaging so it resonates, as you said earlier, and not like over the head and basically will sound like white, you know, the TV when you turn it on the morning and you get the white noise, which —

Natanya: Right, right, exactly.

Heath: Yeah, I have some friends I studied with and they said this is what they listen to when they study and everything and I said, “How can you? I listen to classical music. That’s just annoying,” but each to their own, right? Okay, so should we wrap it up there? That’s been a great conversation. I wanna summarize what we’ve just covered. There’s a lot that we covered there. It’s been a learning curve for me. I didn’t understand the issues about the mental health that the children have and why is it an issue for the children, for the children to me, although on this camera here, I might look like a child myself. But, no. So there is an issue around mental health with Generation Z. For those that don’t know, you know, it’s all fun and games at the moment when we’ve got our phones in front of us, but for the kids this generation is that they’ve never known anything else but so they are bombarded with information all the time. Like I think this older generation would know, have a certain perspective or view on media and they’ll know that media and certain media outlets have a certain perspective that they like to push but if you weren’t aware of it, you’d understand that this is a particular message that they want to push that may not be reality but when kids have got their mobile devices and they think this is the reality, this is their life, and if they don’t match up to themselves, then there’s something wrong with them. And then that leads to other issues of depression, anxiety, and as you were saying about the number of incidences, the stats of either suicide, mental hospital admissions, everything is up for them. 20, 30, 40 percent. So this is a big issue. But why should we care? We should care because it is a massive demographic that is comparable to, well, it’s 65 to 70 million people in the States and what is the States? 340 million people?

Natanya: Yes. And 2 billion globally.

Heath: Yeah, that’s a big number. So we need to pay attention because they are our future. The future of the world —

Natanya: And they’re gonna be taking care of us. Let’s not forget that.

Heath: Yeah. So, yeah, that is a big thing. Yeah, so we should look after them now so that we can say, “Hey, remember that time,” but also, they are more, let’s say, personally aware of their wants and needs so throwing things at themor tools and techniques that don’t resonate, forget about it so you need to pay attention. Why do you need to pay attention?That’s because they have two sources of revenue or income: they have their own earning ability, which they’re about to start if they haven’t started already, but also, they are the grandchildren or the great grandchildren of the baby boomers, the baby boomers either retiring or leaving them inheritances, that they will inherit a lot of money and so, therefore, spending power. So, in terms of investors, then this is the opportunity to pay attention. They will be bigger and stronger as they get older. If you miss the boat now, you’ve missed the boat forever. So it’s pulled out and it’s sailing so forget about that. Or like the train has left the station. So, sorry, you’ve missed the station. Yeah, so there are tools and techniques. Natanya has one out in the market right now and growing. So what is the website that we can — the spelling is bit unusual, isn’t it?

Natanya:Oh, yeah, sorry. So it’s evrmore.io.

Heath: Dot IO, the classic startup domain. So evrmore.io.

Natanya: Yep.

Heath: Okay, and that’ll be in the show notes anyway as well as your LinkedIn details that people can find you, get in touch with you. There’s partnership opportunities there. You’re looking for sponsors. So this is a great initiative. You’ve got the CEO that comes as very passionate, probably like me that doesn’t get enough sleep because you love what you do. Okay, did I miss anything there? I think the quote that I’m gonna —

Natanya: Thank you for this. It’s a really great opportunity. I really — I spent a long time in my career not revealing anything personal about myself because I thought you’re not supposed to, right?

Heath: Yeah.

Natanya: And I think it’s a really refreshing time to be able to lean into what you care about and to try and actually build up others and yourself in the process with your understanding and awareness. So I thank you for this forum to do that. And, you know, ultimately, there’s a lot of heavy lifting on the building side so there’s a lot on, you know, there’s a lot within your communities and your groups that we can’t do this alone, you know?We need every level of everything you know?From development, financial planning, to commercialization expertise, so it’s always good to share outside of your comfort zone and, you know, I’m really glad I pushed out of mine and I thank you for this opportunity.

Heath: Oh, my pleasure. No, thank you for your time and thank you for your advice and the knowledge that you imparted, and for the listeners, now they know something about the Generation Z that I didn’t know before so I think we’ve gotta pay a little bit more attention because they are, like Michael Jackson has a song about the youth, they are the future so we’ve gotta look after them. And, yeah, they’re a special group of people. They’re not like us. They were born in technology. They’re a bit more sensitive. But they know what they want. So, you know, pay attention. Okay, Natanya —

Natanya: Great.

Heath: Thank you very much. We’ll wrap it up there. Enjoy your evening.Thank you again for the time.

(outro)

What is business transformation? This is a two-part answer. The first part is what is business transformation, and then when is the change the organization goes through deemed a transformation? Firstly, the definition. Business transformation is where business changes the way it does business. That is, it changes how it creates and delivers its products and services, its CVP, its customer value proposition to its customers. It doesn’t necessarily change what it does, but it changes how it does it.

Heath Gascoigne Business Transformator

Heath Gascoigne

Hi, I’m Heath, the founder of HOBA TECH and host of The Business Transformation Podcast. I help Business Transformation Consultants, Business Designers and Business Architects transform their and their clients’ business and join the 30% club that succeed. Join me on this journey.

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