Q&A with Ayogo Engagement Expert
|Name: Mavis Dixon|
|Title: Manager of Projects & Engagement, Ayogo Health Inc.|
|Fun Fact: Hosted a radio show by night, while managing the first Winnipeg New Music Festival. The WNMF still runs today.|
|Hobbies: Playing the harp and piano, and nordic skiing.|
|Personal Website: linkedin.com/mavisdixon and @PreferHealth on Twitter|
Each month we place an Ayogi in the spotlight. This month, meet Mavis—a member of our Marketing Team. She has applied her subject matter expertise in psychology, engagement, strategic marketing, and campaign work to wear many hats over her tenure at Ayogo.
Mavis worked for years in the nonprofit sector as a director of development, executive producer and marketer for various environmental, social services, and arts organizations. It was her experience with complex campaign work that led her back to school mid-career. In 2012 she graduated with a Project Management Certification from UBC and made the transition to the for-profit sector.
“In 2012 Michael [Fergusson] approached me and described what Ayogo was doing. It sounded fascinating. I had already decided to make the switch to the for-profit sector, so his timing was perfect. When I joined the team I was doing half business development and half project management. It was a great way for me to understand the business from the bottom up and to be able to apprentice with Michael. There are many parallels between nonprofits and startup culture: everyone is motivated by the mission and just gets done what needs to be done.”
Fast forward a few years and Mavis has developed a unique set of skills in engagement and marketing. She researches and writes much of Ayogo’s content on behavior change, moderates a Patient Engagement group on LinkedIn and is an engagement expert for the Global Alliance for Medical Education’s patient engagement group.
Q: What are you hoping to achieve while at Ayogo?
I’m trying to understand what actually works. What Ayogo is doing is truly on the cutting edge, and it’s amazing to be a part of a team that is showing that we really can support behaviour change with technology. I see that as a huge achievement and something that I didn’t realize would be so important to me when I first started with Ayogo.
My honours degree is in psychology and so in some ways I’ve come full circle. Being an engagement expert means that I’m always revisiting the research on behavioural economics, the psychology of games, play and change, and taking a deep dive into that.
Q: In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge in creating behaviour changing software for the healthcare industry?
Getting users hooked with a great snap impression is hard enough, but getting them through their first week of interaction is the biggest challenge. People today have very high expectations for how mobile technology will perform. We are used to getting awesome games and apps for free. There’s this steady stream of incredible free content. Keeping the attention on health behaviours using technology means that we have to deliver unbelievably engaging applications. If we don’t, our users may not stick with it.
We are picky about which apps we’ll actually keep on our phones.
I recently sat in on a review of user testing. We heard that the first impression was that the app was great and seemed like what they needed. But they still weren’t sure if they would use it. It wasn’t until they had used the app regularly for a week that they realized how indispensable it was to them. So how do you get people to commit to that first week? That’s the biggest challenge. We work a lot on getting that right.
Q: What advice do you have for those looking to start their career in marketing/project management?
I’ve done a lot of things in my career and tackled some pretty steep challenges but things feel hardest when you’re working with people who don’t get you. So as a project manager, you don’t want anyone on the team to feel like an outsider. It’s really important to find the right fit with a company so you can be yourself. You’ll show your natural abilities and really blossom. If you don’t have the right fit then you’ll be second guessing yourself and wasting your energy on that.
If you’re going to work in a startup or non-profit it sure helps if you can see the lighter side. Paul Prescod, used a phrase I like to recall when stress is rising—”bring more light than heat”. It keeps the focus on solutions not blame.
Most importantly, when things get tough, can you still find the fun in it?