What a feeling – DraftFCB's innovating for the win

DraftFCB The Journal Innovators Awards

DraftFCB’s project The Journal with the Ministry of Health reaped rewards far beyond snagging a 2011 New Zealand Innovators Award.

Brian van den Hurk is a part of one of the communication industry’s most successful and rewarding projects. This isn’t measuring success with market share gains or even the bottom line.  Van den Hurk and his company DraftFCB helped deliver the Ministry of Health’s online tool for depression, The Journal.

The project’s objective was to reduce the levels, impact and stigma of depression. The project won a New Zealand Innovators Award in 2011. But the tales from project ambassador John Kirwan of the piles of letters he receives from depression sufferers using The Journal successfully were the bigger reward.

“Nothing beats those letters which say ‘The Journal helped me turn my life around,” says van den Hurk.

He says innovation came about because of the collision of different disciplines that encouraged friction and tension. This resulted in an interactive and accessible tool for users – 73 percent of sufferers don’t seek treatment.

The portal also provides another option for sufferers who shun medication.

The project was not without its risks. Any mishaps would undoubtedly risk lives.

“We want to be world leading but when dealing with mental illness treatment we had to emphasise risk aversion,” says van den Hurk.

“We tested with rigour. Users had guidance and impact testing from their clinicians. The harm that could have occurred was always at the top of our minds.”

The engaging accessibility of The Journal has helped more than 8,500 users reduce their depressions severity by half – results DraftFCB can be proud of.

The NZ Innovators Awards celebrate innovations and proud results from all industries. The call for entries is still open, so enter now at

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