Photo caption: Alex Abel, right, joins Kelsey Akerson, center, and Sydney Peters, right, for the “Fifth Annual Intern Igniter Challenge”
By Kelsey Akerson, Cambia Strategic Marketing Intern
Being an only child, I learned at a young age that creativity and imagination are the most important tools in my toolbox. These skills remain invaluable in my professional career as I embark on my journey into the working world. When choosing an internship, it was critical for me to join a company that nurtures my creative and innovative spirit. At Cambia, I found my perfect fit.
Over the course of 12 weeks, Cambia’s summer interns have the opportunity to attend panel discussions and meet one-on-one with leaders across the company, with the goal being to cultivate real-world experiences as well as engage in a variety of other activities that encourage innovative thinking, communication and collaboration. I was inspired by the stories we heard. For example, Mark Ganz, President and CEO of Cambia, shared how he was shaped by watching his father, a family doctor, journey side-by-side with his patients.
Each year, Cambia’s Innovation Force challenges interns to develop ideas that transform health care at the “Annual Intern Igniter Challenge.”
This year’s innovation concepts focused on identifying pain-points in health care and improving member experience as it relates to a continued sense of belonging for homebound and palliative care patients. This includes focusing on consumer engagement with human-centered design tools and storytelling in health care.
In merely two hours, my team – along with five others – created startup ideas to present to our peers and members of the Innovation Force team. Our ideas were then shared throughout the company, where all Cambia employees were encouraged to comment and vote on them.
My team came up with an idea to help members of one of our regional health plans navigate the complex world of health care, having their provider walk alongside them through each and every moment of their health journey.
Taking the concepts to heart, a total of 43 interns participated in the challenge, generating 11 original ideas. The teams with the top three ideas presented their proposals to senior members of the Innovation Force team, including Mohan Nair, Cambia’s Chief Innovation Officer.
Crafting and presenting ideas during the “Intern Igniter Challenge” was an inspiring opportunity. Working with the Innovation Force team and other interns reminded me that an idea can come from anywhere, with empathy as the driving force; sometimes you just need the support and wisdom of others to make it happen. This experience gave me the confidence to share my ideas because, at Cambia, every voice matters.