Innovation Integrated

A Success Story

Datex-Ohmeda is the world’s leading supplier of anesthesia equipment, systems, and services. The company is responsible for the majority of the innovation breakthroughs in the anesthesia industry during its more than 100 years of history. Its long history of innovation and success in the marketplace led to its acquisition by GE Medical Systems in 2004.


In early 2003, the marketing group of Datex-Ohmeda recognized that they did not have a clear, shared vision to serve their customers. They realized that they had a strong need for one, because there were big questions looming, such as:

  • “How can we get all of our sales reps working from a clear and understandable vision that is compelling for us and our customers?”
  • “How can we increase systems and information management sales?”
  • “How can we communicate our story in two minutes in a way that changes the way we think?”

The team realized that they needed to better understand the customer’s experience and find their story of how what they offered matched their customer’s needs. They believed they needed to take an integrated systems or total solutions approach to solving their customer’s problems.


Konrad Knell and the Grove teamed up to offer a total solution to meet the needs of the marketing team. We designed a custom process based on Strategic Visioning with some value proposition work and a customer focus group. We presented the vision and value proposition wallcharts created during the strategic planning session to a group of hospital administrators and anesthesiologists. Konrad facilitated the focus group, which included telling stories of their experiences of buying anesthesia equipment, discussions of their buying criteria, and feedback on the company’s vision and value proposition. We incorporated the feedback into Datex-Ohmeda’s final vision and marketing story.

We then designed a Storymap to help the team communicate the resulting vision, value proposition, and marketing story to their sales force and customer base. We were able to design a storymap that told “the whole story” in one compact document, which became a central marketing brochure. The storymap incorporates Datex-Ohmeda’s long, impressive history of innovation, its leadership in the anesthesia market, and its vision for sustaining innovation and support for its customers and employees. At the center of the piece is a diagram of the various products and services integrated in a hospital environment, allowing stakeholders to quickly see the whole system of offerings and the value that the integrated system provides.


As the energy of the company grew around the new vision, ideas came pouring in for new products and services, and new ways to integrate them to match up with customer needs. There were, in fact, many more ideas than they could pursue — a great problem to have! Konrad worked with the team to create a process for group assessment of the ideas with a scoring model to prioritize the ideas.

Soon, the company’s offerings became more integrated and their vision and marketing story became clearer to themselves and their customers. This helped the company maintain more of its structure and best practices through its transition to GE Healthcare. Best of all, Datex-Ohmeda has been able to maintain exceptionally high customer satisfaction ratings, as 94% of 2006 survey respondents say they would recommend the company’s products and services to a colleague.