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Designing A Healthier Tomorrow

The Ministry of Health Gets Insights on Healthy Nutrition

Anat Eldar Vatine
Anat Eldar Vatine
January 11, 2018

With a new year comes the cordial exchange of blessings to “live in good health.” This year, Israel’s Ministry of Health digitally launched an exciting, new decision-making project with Insights.US to effectively bring those wishful words into reality. 

The Minister appointed a Regulatory Committee for Promotion of Healthy Nutrition, headed by CEO Moshe Bar Siman Tov, to lead the project. The Committee needed to quickly understand what it would take for people to improve their diets. Because let’s face it: With manipulative marketing and easy access to high-processed foods, grocery shopping isn’t always easy.

‍ ‍The committee's representatives meet with a group of parents as part of the consultation process

Who knows best how to improve people’s diets? Of course, the people themselves. But instead of distributing another long survey nobody wants to answer or hosting a small panel group of 10 people, the Ministry chose Insights.US. Now, project leads could think together with thousands of consumers and update them on the eventual decisions made.

How did it work?

First, the project’s decision-makers came up with their key questions and customized the Insights platform. They drafted a background, embedded with links, images, and facts, to give context to the issue at hand.

It highlighted the importance of healthy eating and detailed some of the current efforts underway to mitigate harmful ingredients in foods.

The Ministry then asked thousands of citizens, “What would make you choose to eat more nutritious, less processed food? What should food manufacturers change, and how can the Ministry of Health help?” They reached out broadly to diverse groups of stakeholders, from the ultra-orthodox community (through newspaper advertisements) to young parents (through social networks). 

Eventually–through emails, text messages, phone calls, and direct interactions–well over a thousand answers were conveniently consolidated onto the Insights project site.

The Light Bulb Goes On

After answering the key questions, participants helped the Ministry analyze the advice by completing analytical tasks, a hallmark of the Insights tool. They highlighted related advice together, linked them to insights, and created new insights.

What are insights? They’re the synthesized, actionable strategies discovered through the project, unknown previously, which reflect potential action steps. They are similar to the key points in any executive summary you get from a consulting firm–except the validity of insights is stronger. 

For instance, the first insight in the Ministry’s project addressed the changes needed in food packaging and labelling. On packaged foods, instead of an endless list of ingredients, there should be a clear indication of whether those foods are harmful to health or recommended by the Ministry. Other key insights revealed the important roles that access, taxation, education, and several other elements can play to change the food landscape and positively impact consumers’ dietary choices. Participants analyzed, and decision-makers tackled the change.

Strong Finish, Promising Future

The 1,700 participants from all socio-demographic backgrounds shared 1,100 answers, which led to nine insights that inspired nine novel decisions. Unlike a survey that often leaves participants in the dark, the Insights tool engages with them from start to finish.

On this and all projects, stakeholders received a personal update on how their contribution has directly helped to shape change in the Ministry of Health–change that will ultimately impact them.

It’s a win-win. Compared to what other qualitative research would have offered, Insights saved the Ministry costs of gathering dozens of roundtables or panel groups, while providing measurable gain with helpful insights. The project has concluded, but a promising, healthier future lies ahead.

Designing A Healthier TomorrowAnat Eldar Vatine
Anat is the VP of success at Insights.US