“Health is now everyone’s business,” Shaheed Peera, Executive Creative Director of Publicis LifeBrands, said this week at the 2019 Cannes Lions awards. Shaheed also led the Health & Wellness jury at Cannes Lions 2019, the mission of which is to, in the words of the award’s portal, “celebrate creativity for personal wellbeing.”

The Grand Prix Lions award for Health & Wellness went to IKEA for the company’s ThisAbles campaign.

ThisAbles is a project pioneered by IKEA’s team in Israel, looking to improve everyday living for people with special needs through  well-designed IKEA products.

IKEA collaborated with non-profit organizations to develop this line of products that help people live and thrive independently at home.

Part of IKEA’s mission statement is to, “create a better everyday life for the many people.” Operational values that flow out of this vision are democratic design, sustainability, form, function, and low prices so “the many” can benefit from IKEA products.

So back to the Grand Prix award for Health & Wellness. There are three-pages of short-listed entries in very fine print on the Cannes Lions 2019 website in just the Health & Wellness category.

These applicants by category included over-the-counter medicines, devices, nutraceuticals, technology, branded education and awareness, foundation-led education and awareness, fundraising and advocacy, corporate image and communications, health services, and animal health.

Among the diverse range 120 products and services short-listed were campaigns from Huawei (Storysign), Nestle (Pinch-water), ESPN (Legs to Fly), Monica Lewinsky (on anti-bullying), GSK (for over the counter pain meds), P&G (“Yarmulke Switch” for Head & Shoulders shampoo), Dwight & Church (for Trojan branded condoms), Gold Bee CBD (for hemp-derived CBD – a fast growing category), Neurogen Brain and Spine Institute (on One Mindful Mind), Movember (on suicide prevention for Be a Man of More Words), and the UN (“The Bridal Uniform” to raise awareness on anti-child marriage), among many other worthy and impactful projects. This is also a global competition, this year with entries from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Denmark, Ecuador, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Israel, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, UAE, the UK, and the U.S.

But it was Israel’s IKEA entry that garnered the top prize, the Grand Prix, for ThisAbles — creative communication not for a drug or device or technology or service or education campaign, but for product innovation.

Health Populi’s Hot Points:  This quote of Shaheed’s from AdAge strikes at the heart of what IKEA’s ThisAbles program really means: “Did the technology bring a level of humanity? The ideas that broke through were very scalable.”

I concluded my book, HealthConsuming: From Health Consumer to Health Citizen, focusing in on our homes as our health/care and medical hubs. IKEA’s ThisAble’s project is the dictionary-definition of my concept of the home-health-hub. Increasingly, we’ll be self-caring from home, at work and in our cars, and IKEA will be part of that evolving health/care ecosystem. In addition to democratizing design and attending to sustainability, IKEA’s focus on low prices also helps to scale innovation to people who most need it: people managing chronic conditions and disability can also tend to earn lower incomes.

Bravo! to the Cannes Lions jury for choosing ThisAbles as the top Health & Wellness innovation for 2019. There was stiff competition from all kinds of worthy programs and products that can help support peoples’ self-care, mental health, physical health outcomes, and community well-being. But ThisAbles speaks to EveryMan and EveryWoman, all of us at-risk one day for needing extra help, EveryDay.

I’m encouraged with traction I perceive, globally, for attending to health in the community and health, broadly-defined, for individual health citizens. If my colleagues working in the U.S. look outside of American borders for evidence of this, you will find lots of it abroad.

And you will also find green shoots of evidence throughout the U.S. if you are mindful and open to seeing them. A week ago today, Providence-St. Joseph’s Health System announced an investment of $1.6 billion (with a “b”) to focus on community benefit for mental health and homelessness. In their community benefit report, PSJH listed the key health and social areas the system has targeted, calling out social determinants of health like housing instability, food insecurity, and social isolation. The system is partnering with local organizations to sustain community support for health citizens, especially people who are vulnerable and dealing with chronic illness.

IKEA’s ThisAbles stakeholders make the case for resilience, creativity, humanity, and pragmatically-inspired design. In 2016, I quoted my colleague Aman Bhandari in a report I wrote for California Healthcare Foundation on technology and the safety net; Aman told me that, “scaling is the new sexy” when it comes to health and technology. The 2019 Cannes Lions awards for Health & Wellness demonstrate this across much of the category. It’s getting (appropriately) hot in here!

Here’s a wonderful video on ThisAbles from IKEA’s YouTube channel: