Kate O’Neill’s Advice on Creating Human Experiences Through Technology

On February 11th, our ‘Inner Circle’ members were joined by Kate O’Neill as the first ‘Inner Circle Book Club’ guest author to discuss how to create real human experiences for patients through technology.

Kate has led innovations across technology, marketing, and operations for more than 20 years in companies from startups to Fortune 500s including Netflix, Toshiba America, Magazines.com and was founder & CEO of [meta]marketer, a first-of-its-kind analytics and digital strategy agency.

Kate’s most recent book is Tech Humanist: How You Can Make Technology Better for Business and Better for Humans.

She was interviewed by Phil about her book and her key ideas for how Inner Circle members can apply her philosophy of making tech work for you AND your patients.

Here are some key highlights:

How does one become a “Tech Humanist”?

Kate explains first that there are 3 concepts when it comes to becoming a “Tech Humanist” in your business:

1. The advancement of technology is largely driven by business
2. That business creates most human experiences
3. That human experiences thrive on meaning

But it’s not all about AI and robots. In Kate’s next book “A Future So Bright”, she introduces the concept of “strategic optimism” and the importance of using technology to give meaning and amplify experiences.

The future for how humanity, tech and healthcare can work together

In the future, the importance of data will be even bigger. The fact that we will have more access to data means that responsible use of it, plus considering how much data we need to collect and how we are going to use and store it, will all become more critical for being responsible with patient data.

How the pandemic has changed how we see tech

The biggest change that Kate sees is in the workplace and how what it means has changed with so many people working from home. It’s now more critical and relevant to distinguish between the future of work and the future of jobs, with jobs being the human side and essential work becoming more essential in many cases.

In a “human-centric” industry such as hearing care, there is a resistance to tech, even when the results become the hero of the journey – such as results of hearing tests. The outcomes and meaning of those results to humans is the real focus and provides that link between tech and people.

Getting clear on our purpose and building meaningful brands

Kate encourages everyone to have a clear “purpose statement” of around 7 words that states what they exist to do and what they want to do at scale. And the discussion that leads to creating this statement doesn’t always begin with tech. The more important focus is to first know the answer to this question:

“What problem are you solving for people?”

It’s likely that providers will have a similar “North Star” and priorities, and that’s OK. What is a better focus is whether it feels truthful. When you say it to yourself, do you sit back and feel that it’s both bigger than you AND aligned? Does it make you feel like it’s why you started in this profession?

The right way to embrace tech

Kate moves on to dive deeper into how tech can help to achieve our purpose. This can involve answering questions such as “What could I automate around this so it’s a more convenient/comfortable experience?”

Much of the tech that can help can also be a barrier. Kate and Phil discuss chatbots and how initially they can be perceived as providing a far from human experience. However, when used in a way that answers questions fast, but gives the opportunity to transfer quickly to a human conversation, it can provide a great experience. Furthermore, in using features like “Question Trees”, by the time a human gets involved, we already know a lot about them and can provide a more effective service and have more efficient conversations based on their answers so far.

Examples of these questions could be:
• How much
• What to expect
• I need help for a family member

The key here is to be upfront and the honesty and authenticity of being clear that this is using technology can be important to the relationship.

Using “both and” thinking

We hear next from Kate about the idea of “Both and thinking”. An example of this could be giving attention to how we address the downsides of tech, by balancing them with the clear human-centric advantages. For example:

How can this allow us to be both profitable AND create meaningful experiences?
How can this be both intrusive in gathering data AND a respectful use of data?

Here Kate also encourages us to acknowledge the full landscape of what’s possible plus what can go wrong AND well. What happens if this is successful beyond our wildest dreams? How can tech support this for us and for the patient experience?

Creating meaningful experiences

Meaningful experiences can absolutely be created through tech and we next are encouraged to consider the importance of understanding the patient journey and what they go through towards a positive outcome. Question to ask yourself here are:

Where does my practice/expertise fit in that journey?
What can I most affect?

Kate shares an idea where mixed augmented reality could be used more to show people what hearing loss is really like for their loved ones – either through an app or web based feature. Some manufacturers already do this, where the product is the star, but as practitioners there is an opportunity to own the “empathetic space” and be truly with them on that journey. This is an excellent way to position your practice to intake the “post-consumer market” from OTC and online retailers.

Having one eye on the now, one eye on the future

The last part of the discussion is a big one. When asked what the world will look like in 10 years, the only certainty that Kate can offer is regarding climate change. But she does say that we have an opportunity to create technology that addresses human concerns at scale.

Want to know more? Check out the UN’s 17 goals here.

There’s a chance that we could solve them all using technology, but business incentives don’t always align. So a focus for you is to consider this:

How do we align business incentives with the best outcomes of people who entrust their hearing care to us?

Action steps to become a “Tech Humanist” in your practice

The interview ends with both Phil and Kate suggesting some key steps and takeaways:

  • Put thought into creating your own purpose statement
  • Get stakeholder unison/buy-in/awareness
  • Measure whether you’re managing resources but introduce a customer focused metric – how are your patients faring? How successful is the person on the other side in achieving what they want to accomplish?
  • We focus on what can go wrong, but what about focusing more on what can go right? “What if this succeeds beyond our wildest dreams?” Then plan for it. What resources are needed for that scenario?

These are just some of the key notes from a 75-minute interview with Kate O’Neill. The full interview is only available to “Inner Circle” members, but you can view the highlights below.

FREE GUIDE: The 7 Big MISTAKES That Most Hearing Care Clinics Are Making

Including The Strategies & Tactics to Address Each Mistake, Today.

Want to be the first to be notified when a new article or resource is released?


No spam, awkward promotions, or cheesy emails – just pure, solid, business-building strategies and insights.

Recommended Articles

AlexCopywriter

Describe your role with Orange & Gray in 25 words or less

Helping write, plan and publish content.

What do you love most about working with clients?

The variety! There are always new and interesting projects and angles to work on.

What has been your favourite moment so far working in the O&G team?

The support from the amazing team!

Tell us a random fact about you in a short sentence - keep it clean ;)

I use to live in Switzerland!

If you could travel anywhere in the world for free, where would you go?

The Maldives

AlexandraTechnical Account Manager

Describe your role with Orange & Gray in 25 words or less

I make sure that the websites are up to date, functioning well and looking good.

What do you love most about working with clients?

I love being a part of a team that helps our clients to further help more people with hearing loss, tinnitus etc live rich, fulfilling lives. 

What has been your favourite moment so far working in the O&G team?

There is always a huge sense of achievement whenever we put a site live - we know at that point that the client is happy with the work we have produced and is ready to show it to the world.

Tell us a random fact about you in a short sentence - keep it clean ;)

Before joining Orange & Gray I was a classically trained chef and have also studied hypnosis and psychotherapy.

If you could travel anywhere in the world for free, where would you go?

India

AntonWeb Designer

Describe your role with Orange & Gray in 25 words or less

I am responsible for creating the look and feel of the websites that we build.

What do you love most about working with clients?

Understanding the personality of the individual brand and their people and translating it into a unique web user experience.

What has been your favourite moment so far working in the O&G team?

I really enjoy how everyone takes ownership of their roles thus creating a well-oiled machine.

Tell us a random fact about you in a short sentence - keep it clean ;)

I played Ice Hockey for South Africa ;)

If you could travel anywhere in the world for free, where would you go?

Maldives. Cliche but hey, it's for free!

BilCopywriter

Describe your role with Orange & Gray in 25 words or less

I provide content with an American style and the unique point of view from different regions of the U.S. to improve local SEO.

What do you love most about working with clients?

Because I have struggled with hearing issues, my passion is not only focused on the client, but also communicating hope to the people they serve.

What has been your favourite moment so far working in the O&G team?

O&G's team approach, which combines the unique talents of each individual to create top-level service to our clients, is our most impressive feature.

Tell us a random fact about you in a short sentence - keep it clean ;)

Away from my keyboard, my wife and I spend our time delivering food and basic household supplies to the less fortunate.

If you could travel anywhere in the world for free, where would you go?

Back to my family roots in England and the Scottish Highlands.

BonnieExecutive Administrator

Describe your role with Orange & Gray in 25 words or less

I create agendas and take minutes for the monthly meetings of the Leadership and Operational Teams

What do you love most about working with clients?

Learning something different from each and every one of them!

What has been your favourite moment so far working in the O&G team?

Seeing all of their faces on our calls.

Tell us a random fact about you in a short sentence - keep it clean ;)

I recently have a newfound appreciation for riding on the back of a motorcycle (with a very safe driver/boyfriend) - was always terrified of them!

If you could travel anywhere in the world for free, where would you go?

Anywhere right here in the US - there are so many awesome places to go!

ClaireBrand Manager

Describe your role with Orange & Gray in 25 words or less

Ensuring that Orange & Gray is presented as an industry-leading brand, creating resources and experiences that make becoming an Inner Circle member something to aspire to.

What do you love most about working with clients?

I don't work directly with clients, but I do love seeing the wider team bring ideas and campaigns to life and how it helps them.

What has been your favourite moment so far working in the O&G team?

Being part of such a great team with a family feel to it really has been refreshing and it feels like a privelege to work alongside such great people.

Tell us a random fact about you in a short sentence - keep it clean ;)

I've been singing on stage since I was 6 and my mum is an opera singer

If you could travel anywhere in the world for free, where would you go?

I'd love to visit Singapore and Japan

ClintCopywriter

Describe your role with Orange & Gray in 25 words or less

I create engaging copy designed specifically with the client's needs at the forefront.

What do you love most about working with clients?

I like the challenge of trying to improve the awareness and overall sales of their businesses.

What has been your favourite moment so far working in the O&G team?

Receiving my first assignment and getting to show my new co-workers that I'm capable and proud to be working alongside them.

Tell us a random fact about you in a short sentence - keep it clean ;)

I used to be a golf professional.

If you could travel anywhere in the world for free, where would you go?

Bora Bora, it looks beautiful and it's fun to say.

Clive MargettsCEO

Describe your role with Orange & Gray in 25 words or less

I see it as a team builder and facilitator. Making sure the right people occupy the right roles.

What do you love most about working with clients?

I don't too often, but when I do it's the people interaction. Getting to know our clients' interests, approach to business, motivations and dreams.

What has been your favourite moment so far working in the O&G team?

It may sound a bit twee, but I'm so proud of what we have achieved in building such a talented team and by their resulting impact in an industry that needs a service like ours.

Tell us a random fact about you in a short sentence - keep it clean ;)

I love classic cars and plan to travel widely in years to come in an old Classic Campervan!

If you could travel anywhere in the world for free, where would you go?

The Amazon Rainforest

Daniel WatersChief Technical Officer

Describe your role with Orange & Gray in 25 words or less

I take charge of the technical team and make sure that all of our technical systems run smoothly. If it's tech, I've got it.

What do you love most about working with clients?

I love interacting with people who are all in the same boat but all face different challenges but most of all I love it when something I do makes them happier or their life easier.

What has been your favourite moment so far working in the O&G team?

There is no favourite moment as such as it is all one favourite moment being able to work with a wonderful team of talented and varied individuals. Apart from driving amazing results for clients, getting to face challenges and build solutions with this growing team is reason alone to wake up each morning.

Tell us a random fact about you in a short sentence - keep it clean ;)

I started my first business when I was 12 years old.

If you could travel anywhere in the world for free, where would you go?

This is so hard but I think Thailand or South Korea or China - basically East Asia for amazing food and diverse culture.

DonnaSEO Expert

Describe your role with Orange & Gray in 25 words or less

It is my responsibility to optimise websites so they rank well on Google search pages and are recognised as trust worthy and reliable websites.

What do you love most about working with clients?

I love working with clients because of how much I've learned from them and what they do, and being part of making their business grow.

What has been your favourite moment so far working in the O&G team?

Other than winning my "most improved" award in 2020, my favourite moments of working with this amazing team is when we meet up in person for a weekend packed full of laughs and great memories.

Tell us a random fact about you in a short sentence - keep it clean ;)

I'm a crazy dog lady. I have 4 rescue dogs and couldn't imagine what life would be like without a furry friend.

If you could travel anywhere in the world for free, where would you go?

The Maldives - the fresh food, drink, beaches and sunsets looks like paradise. What's not to love?

EmmaSenior Member Concierge

Describe your role with Orange & Gray in 25 words or less

My role involves managing marketing campaigns, requests and projects for our Inner Circle members.

What do you love most about working with clients?

I like making a connection with our clients, listening to their ideas and feedback, and using this to make sure they are really happy with what we are working on for them, whether that be a new website build, a new webpage, creating online forms, or any other technical job.

What has been your favourite moment so far working in the O&G team?

There have been lots of wonderful moments so far. Highlights definitely include winning Best Newcomer in March 2020 and Star of The Year in December 2020. I love my job and the O&G team, I am really lucky to be a part of it. Another highlight for me is getting to work closely with our Inner Circle members. I really enjoy managing the campaigns and being the point of contact between our members and the O&G team.

Tell us a random fact about you in a short sentence - keep it clean ;)

I used to teach Forensic Science and Psychology.

If you could travel anywhere in the world for free, where would you go?

The Maldives or Iceland depending on if I was in the mood for sun or snow.

JodieGraphic Designer

Describe your role with Orange & Gray in 25 words or less

I design logos, printed materials, online social assets and websites adding consistency across everything as well as ensuring the graphic design looks professional and engaging.

What do you love most about working with clients?

I love helping to bring the clients' visions to life and exceeding their expectations.

What has been your favourite moment so far working in the O&G team?

I have really enjoyed seeing how O&G have grown over the time I have worked with them and the difference they have made to businesses

Tell us a random fact about you in a short sentence - keep it clean ;)

I'm a bit clumsy, I even managed to break my wrist snowboarding on the first run 5 minutes into my holiday... Surely a record!

If you could travel anywhere in the world for free, where would you go?

I would love to go back to Hawaii and see all the Islands!

KathrynWriter

Describe your role with Orange & Gray in 25 words or less

Editing, proofreading & copywriting, with a special eye for ensuring anything is not too UK-ish!

What do you love most about working with clients?

Witnessing the life-changing results their services provide.

What has been your favourite moment so far working in the O&G team?

It's hard to say. Everyone is so lovely and a joy to work with. So much so that "work" doesn't feel like work but something special to be a part of.

Tell us a random fact about you in a short sentence - keep it clean ;)

If you love cats and hot chocolate, then we'll be friends for life!

If you could travel anywhere in the world for free, where would you go?

On an Alaskan cruise

KerrinContent Executive

Describe your role with Orange & Gray in 25 words or less

I keep the client's content consumable. Using insights, ideas, and strategies to keep their socials, newsletters and blogs fresh, flavourful, and flowing.

What do you love most about working with clients?

Using their unique stories, experiences and insights to shape and create engaging and targeted content.

What has been your favourite moment so far working in the O&G team?

Seeing the team go from strength to strength as we develop and grow alongside our clients.

Tell us a random fact about you in a short sentence - keep it clean ;)

I'm a half & half South African-Brit who speaks Norwegian, because hvorfor ikke?

If you could travel anywhere in the world for free, where would you go?

I'd love to visit the Serengeti in Tanzania

LaurenCopywriter

Describe your role with Orange & Gray in 25 words or less

I write engaging blog posts that are full of clients' unique personalities.

What do you love most about working with clients?

I love the opportunity to learn more about their field and opinions as physicians.

What has been your favourite moment so far working in the O&G team?

I've loved getting the opportunity to write for so many interesting clients.

Tell us a random fact about you in a short sentence - keep it clean ;)

I'm also a graphic designer and love creating digital art.

If you could travel anywhere in the world for free, where would you go?

I would love to visit Korea!

LucyCopywriter

Describe your role with Orange & Gray in 25 words or less

Marketing Strategist - Conjurer of Content!

What do you love most about working with clients?

There's always a fun and effective way to get our client's message across, and rest assured the Conjurer of Creative Content will surely find and implement it :D

What has been your favourite moment so far working in the O&G team?

Seeing how the team truly support each other.

Tell us a random fact about you in a short sentence - keep it clean ;)

I studied English Literature at Georgia State Uni in Atlanta... #isntitironic

If you could travel anywhere in the world for free, where would you go?

Norway

ManpreetWebsite Developer

Describe your role with Orange & Gray in 25 words or less

I am a Web developer, making sure that client websites function correctly and reliably.

What do you love most about working with clients?

I love using my creativity to build and style their websites.

What has been your favourite moment so far working in the O&G team?

All moments are my favourite. I am enjoying every moment with O&G but I want to share one moment that, during the COVID-19 when Clive Margetts ( The Boss ) organized a meeting with all team members and gave us motivation to fight with that along with work assurance.

Tell us a random fact about you in a short sentence - keep it clean ;)

I believe in humanity first, country second and religion at last.

If you could travel anywhere in the world for free, where would you go?

I want to go Paris once in my life.

MeganCopywriter and Marketing Assistant

Describe your role with Orange & Gray in 25 words or less

My role involves driving the monthly newsletters and writing engaging copy for our clients - ensuring my words are both sensitive and impactful.

What do you love most about working with clients?

Building up a relationship with the clients and getting to know the personalities behind them is my favourite part as it allows me to create something unique that we're both proud of.

What has been your favourite moment so far working in the O&G team?

It's really fantastic to see the whole team working together on the 2021 Planning Meeting call. It shows how much collective ideas and team work can make a difference.

Tell us a random fact about you in a short sentence - keep it clean ;)

No one in my family knows how to pronounce my last name - we all say it differently!

If you could travel anywhere in the world for free, where would you go?

India - the country fascinates me and it's one place that's always been on my bucket list.

MikeMarketing Executive

Describe your role with Orange & Gray in 25 words or less

Marketing, Design and Content Creation

What do you love most about working with clients?

Bringing their ideas to life.

What has been your favourite moment so far working in the O&G team?

Creating stunning content and seeing results

Tell us a random fact about you in a short sentence - keep it clean ;)

I play 4 musical instruments!

If you could travel anywhere in the world for free, where would you go?

Rent a camper and drive across the US :)

NathanTechnical Advisor

Describe your role with Orange & Gray in 25 words or less

Helping with all things technical, including creating the Inner Circle members area

What do you love most about working with clients?

Seeing the results they're getting from our marketing campaigns!

What has been your favourite moment so far working in the O&G team?

After much hard work and a huge team effort, the launch of the Inner Circle members area was hugely rewarding.

Tell us a random fact about you in a short sentence - keep it clean ;)

My eyes changed colour from brown to green in my teens

If you could travel anywhere in the world for free, where would you go?

The Amazon, but maybe in some kind of pod, protected from anything too bitey.

Oli LukeCo-Founder

Describe your role with Orange & Gray in 25 words or less

I drive the marketing strategy on behalf of 'Inner Circle' members and develop cutting-edge campaigns that see them lead the industry

What do you love most about working with clients?

Helping them to understand what modern marketing really is, and helping them to dispel the "silver bullet" myths

What has been your favourite moment so far working in the O&G team?

It's spending time with members, although the challenges of the pandemic have restricted travel, my fondest memories are being in clients' offices, understanding the inner workings of their businesses, and bringing new ideas

Tell us a random fact about you in a short sentence - keep it clean ;)

I fractured my skull when I was 14 trying to impress some girls at school. It didn't work, and resulted in two months in hospital. Not my proudest moment.

If you could travel anywhere in the world for free, where would you go?

I really fancy Rio de Janeiro

PaulWebsite Developer

Describe your role with Orange & Gray in 25 words or less

I am a Web Developer, helping to build, debug and fix websites

What do you love most about working with clients?

I know it's a bit of a cliche to say it's because every one is different, but that's really what it is. Dealing with different people who all bring different approaches keeps everything fresh and exciting

What has been your favourite moment so far working in the O&G team?

Receiving my first task as part of the team. It was exciting and terrifying in equal measure!

Tell us a random fact about you in a short sentence - keep it clean ;)

I have appeared on backing vocals for folk legend Pete Seeger

If you could travel anywhere in the world for free, where would you go?

The Maldives

Phil M JonesCo-Founder

Describe your role with Orange & Gray in 25 words or less

Building a vision for the industry, the amazing people we partner with and the entire O&G team that creates sustainable and profitable growth.

What do you love most about working with clients?

I love that these are real people, with amazing stories and skills and together we can create 2+2 =5

What has been your favourite moment so far working in the O&G team?

The pride of helping many who we partner with THRIVE through the challenges of 2020

Tell us a random fact about you in a short sentence - keep it clean ;)

One day I will find the time to learn to play a musical instrument

If you could travel anywhere in the world for free, where would you go?

Still looking to find a paid gig in Antarctica!!

SallyCopywriter

Describe your role with Orange & Gray in 25 words or less

I write articles and newsletters for our clients.

What do you love most about working with clients?

I like seeing how much they care about helping their patients.

What has been your favourite moment so far working in the O&G team?

The warm welcome.

Tell us a random fact about you in a short sentence - keep it clean ;)

We won the lottery visa and emigrated from Ireland to Texas in the '90s.

If you could travel anywhere in the world for free, where would you go?

New Zealand

SamairaContent Manager

Describe your role with Orange & Gray in 25 words or less

I manage the process involved in ensuring the monthly content is delivered each month including newsletters, blogs and social media.

What do you love most about working with clients?

Their knowledge and expertise in their area. Also, I like hearing about how their lifestyles differ from ours in the UK.

What has been your favourite moment so far working in the O&G team?

I really enjoyed our team trip to Orlando to attend a talk by Phil and meet some of our potential future clients. It gave insight into the current status of the hearing industry and what we at Orange & Gray can do to help support and grow our clients' businesses.

Tell us a random fact about you in a short sentence - keep it clean ;)

I have a huge documentation of my dreams which I analyse in my spare time.

If you could travel anywhere in the world for free, where would you go?

Japan - I would love to see Mount Fuji and experience the real life Mario Kart in Tokyo!

ScottTechnical Support Officer

Describe your role with Orange & Gray in 25 words or less

Servers, websites, security. If it's written in code and it stops working, that's where you'll find me with tools in hand.

What do you love most about working with clients?

Helping! There's nothing better than seeing a client moving onward and upward. If I can make that transition smoother for the client, then I can leave my desk happy.

What has been your favourite moment so far working in the O&G team?

Working with incredible people is always a bonus! However, getting my hands dirty poking the websites and servers, suggesting improvements is always fun.

Tell us a random fact about you in a short sentence - keep it clean ;)

I had lived in 4 different countries by the age of 16.

If you could travel anywhere in the world for free, where would you go?

Hobbiton Village - New Zealand

SophieSocial Media Executive

Describe your role with Orange & Gray in 25 words or less

I'm a Social Media Executive, creating content that puts clients in front of existing and prospective clients on a regular basis

What do you love most about working with clients?

I love getting to know interesting things about the people we provide content for day in and day out.

What has been your favourite moment so far working in the O&G team?

It's great when we can all get together! It's not happened much due to the current circumstances but it's good fun when we do!

Tell us a random fact about you in a short sentence - keep it clean ;)

I lived in Australia for a year when I was 18.

If you could travel anywhere in the world for free, where would you go?

New York or Las Vegas!