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Haven Dissolution: Failure vs. First Step?

Jan 06, 2021

There’s been a lot of talk the last two days about the dissolution of Haven - the Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, JPMorgan Chase healthcare collaboration to do something about healthcare for their employees. This talk carries a prevalent theme of defeat with phrases such as "little to show for their efforts," and "not living up to the hype." 

Remember the Amazon Fire Phone? Did anyone besides me own one?

Regarded as one of Amazon's biggest misfires, they swallowed a $170 million loss with the phone's failure. But if not for the Fire Phone failure, Alexa technology would’ve been isolated to a phone platform. Instead, this AI technology serves as a hub in our homes. Amazon enjoys a 53% market share of a $7.1 billion industry. As a former Senior Manager at Amazon (and thanks to Jeff Bezos), I learned that "failure and invention are inseparable twins."

Today I’m sharing 3 things to consider with the dissolution of Haven…

1. Failing fast is productive

Companies that don't innovate will be extinct. Innovation requires failure. Here's the problem: failure might be a great teacher, but it's also a cryptic one. Figuring out its lessons isn't easy (especially when we're still nursing a bruised ego and swimming in frustration).

Jeff Bezos stated in 2016, "To invent, you have to experiment, and if you know in advance that it's going to work, it's not an experiment. Most organizations embrace the idea of invention but are not willing to suffer the string of failed experiments necessary to get there." Failing after only three years should be viewed as innovators learning and pivoting quickly. 

Today's industry giants (Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Google) have found great success at taking new approaches in industries where incumbents fail to seize the next wave of innovation. And when the return on investment for a new operation or innovation appears low, we often fail to invest our time and resources. Ultimately, this locks down current business models, preventing us from making a pivotal move. Read more about how innovators view failure here.

2. These are still companies to watch

Just because these three innovators didn’t find a one-size-fits-all approach to address the specific needs of their employee populations, it doesn’t mean insights and innovation didn’t emerge. 

Currently, we see Amazon at the forefront in implementing ideas such as Amazon Pharmacy and Amazon Care (a pilot program for Amazon employees in Seattle). However, I wouldn’t discount Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase & Co. Both leaders Buffett and Dimon have commented on reducing cost and increasing the experience as a significant priority. With Covid-19, this priority has not changed, and as insights emerged from the collaboration, each company should adopt programs matching this priority.

3. Healthcare is VERY complicated! 

As someone who came from a different industry, healthcare is a lot more complicated than outsiders think. This complication is why politicians fail to make meaningful differences and why collaborations such as Haven fail to show substitutive improvements. 

It’s hard to balance cost, quality, and availability. The US spends more per capita on healthcare than any other comparison nation, and the spend is not reflected in better outcomes. Therefore, I still contend the healthcare industry is ripe for disruption – cries for transparency and an overall better end-user experience continue. 

Clients need help to thrive with today’s complicated systems and healthcare plans! Americans NEED (not want, not 'would probably be better off with') experts to navigate this super-complex system. While we continue to work toward progress for consumerism healthcare, discover these 6 real-life ways a premium Advocacy program simplifies the healthcare journey for families today.  

Now it’s your turn. Do you think this joint venture was just a short-lived blip or a potential first step toward a solution? Comment below or email me at

Tonia Degner

Tonia has been a leader in the retail and tech industries for 20+ years with a focus on driving vision and growth strategies in large volume business sectors. Her most recent experience includes Director positions at Amazon where she implemented complex company-wide enhancements, led the launch of innovative products, and created disruptive strategies. She joined freshbenies as Chief Strategy Officer because of her passion to provide practical tools that simplify the American healthcare experience.

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