Getting to know GAM. First up is our creator, Christopher Kennedy!

What was your experience at university?

“I went to Bournemouth University after taking a gap year in Canada and studied Marketing. Bournemouth is a specialist uni for subjects like these along with media, animation, etc. I knew quite early on in my life that I wanted to create my own business and thought marketing would be a key area to help grow a company in the future. For my final dissertation, I wrote a marketing strategy for a company called Parafricta who produced wound healing products. My dissertation was deemed ‘too commercial’ and didn’t do wonders for my final mark, but it projected me into my next role, as Parafricta employed me to work for them afterwards.”

 

How did you get into Medcomms?

“My Medcomms journey started about 10 years ago when I started working for Parafricta to promote their product in the wound care market. They had a special frictionless material that reduced pressure ulceration and so developed a range of products like bedsheets, pillowcases, and booties for those with chronic wounds. I used to go round different NHS hospitals and met a Tissue Viability Nurse in Croydon who allowed me to sit in on her wound care clinics and see how they change dressings among other things. There was one lady who came back every day and always asked if her wound was healing. These chronic wounds can last many, many years and she wanted to see progress. I saw the nurse measure an irregular shaped wound by its height and width and afterwards commented on the limited accuracy of this method. It seemed a very difficult way to capture true progress. 

 

This got me thinking and led me to research a way to better capture wound healing progress/data for patients, as it just wasn’t accurate at the time. My method of choice was using 2D planimetry software measurement. By using a photo with a scale next to it, say a ruler by the side, you can calculate how many pixels are in 1cm and use the software to map round the wound edge to give you surface area measurements of the wound. This was more accurate than the standard methods and gives healthcare professionals as well as patients more visibility into how the wound is healing. I formed a collaboration with a professor in Croatia to develop an artificially intelligent statistical algorithm to look at the colours in the wound image to distinguish between granulating, fibrous and necrotic tissue- so the photo would come out red, yellow, and black to produce a good visual of whether the wound was healing or not. I developed this as a pilot and started selling it in the NHS but unfortunately hit many barriers in their ITC systems, and so sold the software to companies with debridement products as it was a very powerful tool for them. Debridement is the medical removal of dead, damaged, or infected tissue to improve the healing potential of the remaining healthy tissue. 

 

Soon after this, I started working as a product manager for Beier Drawtex in South Africa to look after their global marketing initiatives and their distributors in the US, China, and the UK. I learned a lot about the South African healthcare system and lived there for 6 months, but the contract came to an end as the company was undergoing an acquisition at the time. I went back to the UK and worked for one of Drawtex’s distributors, Martindale Pharma, for 2-3 years. I did lots of marketing work for them and also used the software system to help them stimulate conversations and breakthrough different NHS hospitals and various community trusts. I still kept developing the software as a side project, and in 2015, a company in the US called WoundZoom contacted me, we had discussions for about 2 years before they acquired all the code for the system I built. At that point, I started to think about what would be the next phase of my career. Throughout the years I turned to animation a lot to help me with my work and realised I wanted my next move to be exploring building a business out of animation. I started Get Animated Medical initially as an explainer video company to develop 90-second animations to explain products and services. We quickly realised this was a highly competitive market and to develop further we would need to specialise. So I decided to change the direction and steer towards the healthcare market as I already knew more about this area. We organically grew, developed a showreel, and started acquiring more clients, partnered with med comms agencies, and even now still have those relationships after 3-4 years. The quality of animation we can deliver impressed our clients and they started to ask about what other things we could do, and that was when we decided to expand and start offering software development, websites, game development, and VR solutions. The company has grown from strength to strength steadily and I couldn’t be happier with our progress.”

 

What does your role at Get Animated Medical (GAM) entail?

“When I started, I was the managing director, creative director, finance, HR manager, account manager, tea boy, etc. It’s been necessary for me to take on so many roles to keep the company moving forwards in the right direction. It was only around early 2018 that I was able to bring in commercial help to build on the back of our success in the first 18 months and start hiring strategic hires to take some of the workload away from me so I can do what I do best. Find new business, drive the company forwards, and provide a little bit of that magic sprinkle we like to put on the stories and projects that we send to clients.”

 

What aspect of GAM are you most proud of?

“I am proud of how far we’ve come in such a short space of time. We have grown from strength to strength and that shows in the clientele we are attracting and awards we are winning. I am proud of how I’ve made the company grow the way it has and that I am able to hire such wonderful staff that deliver such high quality-work, to an end result that is always to a standard we are proud of.”

 

What’s your favourite project you have worked on during your time at Get Animated?

“2 stick to mind! The first was the My Happy Planet for Opus Innovations animation (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uac3tcjtQBY). The client gave us lots of freedom to flex our creative muscles. This project was about biodegradable wet wipes and we needed to show awareness that normal wet wipes are bad for the environment. It was a wonderful project, our client was so open to our ideas and we won an award for the animation which gave us the validation that what we’re doing is really at the forefront of creative storytelling. 

 

The second was a VR project with a leading Med Comms agency and one of the top 3 pharma companies. We played a major role in the project and were involved in the entire process. It showed the life of an MS patient over a period of 20 years and the symptoms they would experience. This project won the Gold PM digital award for animation and we are very proud!”

 

What is your vision for Get Animated for 5 years time?

“My vision is for Get Animated Medical to be the leading animation and creative healthcare agency in the UK, where clients come to us because we are the specialists in the market that engage brands with their target audiences through creative storytelling.”

 

What do you do in your spare time?

“I have always been sporty, I do lots of running and spend a lot of my time playing with my kids. I have two wonderful kids, Eva and Axel, and I am going to be a dad for the third time in January! I play golf often and still play competitive football. Little fact for you, I was a semi-professional football player from the ages of 17 to 28 and have represented the county of Surrey in a number of sports from x-country, tennis, football to cricket. My parents always got me into a lot of sports clubs when I was younger to keep me occupied – I was a bit of a handful (some say even so now 😉 )”

 

What is your greatest achievement to date?

“My family without a doubt. I am very grateful to have what I have right now, I know I am very lucky and I don’t take it for granted.”

 

You’re stranded on a desert island… What film, song, and luxury item would you choose to have with you?

“My film would be Moana! Disney films are easy to watch over and over again, and here’s a little secret for you, I know most of the words off by heart. Picking one song is too difficult but my album would be Brothers in Arms by Dire Straits. My luxury item would be a top of the range luxury deck chair that reclines so I can sleep and laze about in the sun – I am on a desert island after all.”  

 

Lastly. what shampoo do you use and why?

“Normally whatever my wife buys that happens to be in the bathroom! If I could choose though, I’d pick Aussie because it smells nice.”

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