On June 25th, nearly 50 HERO members and invited guests gathered in beautiful and balmy Kansas City, Missouri for a highly interactive Summer Think Tank focused on strategic planning. We’ve been tracking trends in employer use of written strategic plans for their health and well-being (HWB) initiatives for many years and consistently find that nearly half do not have written strategic plans.1 Since our ongoing analysis of data from the HERO Health and Well-being Best Practice Scorecard in Collaboration with Mercer (HERO Scorecard) indicates having a strategic plan is associated with more effective HWB initiatives, HERO is committed to helping our members incorporate this practice more consistently. We relied on the principles of Blue Ocean strategy and Hoshin planning methods to engage Think Tank attendees in identifying the priorities to advance the art and science of our field beyond current practice to a future state where 50% of companies in America invest in comprehensive approaches to improving employee HWB. As HERO is about to embark on a refresh of our own 5-year strategic plan,2 this Think Tank also allowed us the opportunity to get input from those gathered, which may inform updates to our own strategic plan.


Paul Terry eloquently summarized some of his key observations from the Think Tank3 and we’ve invited other attendees to share their observations in forthcoming HERO blog posts, so please let us know if you’d like to contribute your key takeaways from the day.


In the meantime, we’d like to share some of the resources from this Think Tank with our broader membership.


Resources on Blue Ocean Strategy and Hoshin Planning


One of the steps in the Blue Ocean Strategy process is assessing the current state against which we may contrast our future desired state. To help us understand employers’ current approaches to addressing employee HWB, we invited Dr. Laura Linnan to share the findings from a nationally representative sample of US employers. Her slides and an audio recording of her presentation is available to HERO members in the HERO General Think Tank Library. For those interested in the finding of the Worksite Health in America Survey, you can access CDC’s official survey report here and a more condensed summary published in the American Journal of Health Promotion here.


Dr. Linnan’s presentation was followed by a Reactor Panel that augmented our understanding of the “current state” of employer practices by reflecting on data from various industry scorecards, including the CDC Worksite Health Scorecard (Jason Lang), the American Heart Association’s Worksite Health Achievement Index (Kristin Pham), and the HERO Health and Well-being Best Practices Scorecard in Collaboration with Mercer (Dr. Steven Noeldner). Dr. Ron Goetzel also joined the Reactor Panel, sharing his insights as an industry researcher that’s worked with scorecard data and as someone in the unique position of having contributed to the development of these and other scorecard instruments. Each panelist provided a handout on the instrument they represented and audio recording of their discussion is available to HERO members in the HERO General Think Tank Library.





  1. Hunt, N. Strategic planning as a fundamental step for achieving outcomes. HERO Blog. March 6, 2017. Available at: https://hero-health.org/blog/strategic-planning-as-a-fundamental-step-for-achieving-outcomes/


  1. Terry, P. Comments wanted on HERO’s five year strategic plan. HERO Blog. August 22, 2016. Available at: https://hero-health.org/blog/comments-wanted-on-heros-five-year-strategic-plan/


Terry, P. HERO summer think tank 2019: Moving to a “future state” will challenge us to better define our current state. HERO Blog. June 28, 2019. Available at: https://hero-health.org/blog/hero-summer-think-tank-2019-moving-to-a-future-state-will-challenge-us-to-better-define-our-current-state/

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