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IBX Insights

Philly Arts and Business: Better Together

By April 27, 2017April 12th, 2022Health Insurance Industry

Philadelphia is home to a thriving arts scene and world-class local businesses. Working together, the arts and business communities can create something vibrant, innovative, and uniquely Philly. That’s where the Arts + Business Council of Greater Philadelphia comes in. The council was created to support arts organizations by sharing skills from the business world. Now, new initiatives are reversing these roles, with businesses enlisting artists to help them think more creatively.

Redesigning the health care experience

University of the Arts president David Yager, who serves on the Council’s Advisory Board, sees the potential for design to enhance the health care experience. That he’s not a doctor, he says, is the point.

“I’m like a cross between Forrest Gump and a piece of sand in an oyster,” he says. “I ask the questions that people aren’t willing to ask — they may not be the smartest questions, but they get to the real issues.”

Yager uses design methodology to get to the root of problems. Problems that some businesses don’t even realize that they have.

As a visiting faculty member at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, Yager noticed that the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) was extremely loud. He wondered if a noisy NICU could be detrimental to its vulnerable patients. As it turned out, the head of pediatrics was so accustomed to the noise, that he hadn’t even noticed. With Yager’s input, the hospital upgraded elements of its design, including eliminating overhead paging, and installing softer ceiling tiles to absorb the sound.

“I come in with a different toolbox than the traditional hospital worker,” Yager says. “I’m looking at the problem with a different point of view, by looking at how we interact with technology.” He hopes to collaborate in a similar way the Philadelphia-area health care community.

How we get creative at IBX

Independence Blue Cross is a proud supporter of the Arts + Business Council, and I personally serve on the Advisory Board with David Yager. With eight out of 15 of Philly’s largest employers being in the health care industry, including Independence, I’m always interested to see how the arts can affect health care.

As the Vice President of Advertising & Creative Services at Independence, I wear both hats, arts and business, and I’ve seen first-hand how combining these perspectives improves our member experience, from dipping our toes into new social media channels, to videos encouraging wellness that help members get the most from their health plans.

Local Philly artists at Independence LIVE

Later this year, the Arts + Business Council will help our department evolve and align our creative work across the entire organization. And that’s not all we’re up to. We’re hosting exhibitions of artwork by students from the Art Institute of Philadelphia and the University of the Arts at Independence LIVE, our community space in downtown Philadelphia where members can take free fitness classes, join a live cooking class, and get help from licensed Super Agents.

Local art, as well as design touches from Independence’s creative department had a big role in designing Independence LIVE to be more welcoming to our members. In the spirit of the Arts & Business council, the opening event will connect the student artists with local employers.

If you’re an artist, how has the business community helped you improve your reach? If you’re in business, have the arts helped to improve your customers’ experience?

This article was originally published on LinkedIn Pulse.


John McClung

About John McClung

John McClung is vice president of advertising and creative services for Independence Blue Cross (Independence). In this role, he oversees all corporate advertising and brand management, having direct accountability for creative execution, budget management, and strategic alignment with sales and marketing goals. McClung also manages relationships with the company’s external advertising and communication agencies, along with advertising partners in the community, including Philadelphia’s professional and college sports teams. McClung joined Independence as a copywriter in 1988. Since then, he has established and expanded a creative services team who support the creative aspects of all internal and external communications efforts, including marketing, wellness, health management, and public relations for Independence Blue Cross and its subsidiaries. In addition, his team plays a leading role in the promotion of key company events, such as the Blue Cross Broad Street Run, the largest 10-mile race in the country. Prior to joining Independence, McClung was a freelance copywriter and journalist. McClung serves on the allocations board for the United Way of Southern Chester County and is the co-founder, current board member, and soccer coach with the White Clay Soccer Club. McClung has degrees in English and French from Villanova University and a master’s degree in publication management from Drexel University.