AbbVie puts creativity at heart of health problem-solving with unique group of experts including animators and gamers  

Today, global research-based biopharmaceutical company, AbbVie, is announcing a unique line-up of experts from the creative, health and tech industries, including Aardman (the studio behind Wallace & Gromit and Shaun the Sheep). The experts, who are part of the Live:LabTM project, have been brought together to tackle the complex health issue of the ‘Fear of Finding Out’ (FOFO) – a major psychological barrier which prevents people from seeking medical advice when they have worrying symptoms[iii].

Former Health Minister, Alan Milburn, is chairing the group of Live:LabTM collaborators who comprise filmmakers, animators, gamers, data specialists and health experts – with the likes of award-winninggame designers Glitchers, medical virtual reality experts FundamentalVR, the Open Data Institute, Professor Sir Muir Gray and TV doctor Dr Zoe Williams, joining the line-up.

The experts will draw on their experience on the power of storytelling and characters, the benefits of data and tech, and real-life medical experience. The aim is to create a positive new approach to help the public and NHS to overcome barriers that stop people coming forward for early diagnosis and treatment.

A new short film is being released today, documenting the Live:LabTM collaborators meeting to discuss ways new technologies and data collection can revolutionise our approach tackling barriers to health.


Studies show that addressing concerns in middle age can double individuals’ chances of being healthy when you are 70[iv]. Live:Lab’sTM aim is to help people feel positive and empowered to take control of their own health and wellbeing, which in turn will help them to overcome the barriers that prevent them from seeking health advice and delay diagnosis. Live:LabTM complements NHS England’s ‘Five Year Forward View’ by focusing on improving health prevention, supporting a more sustainable NHS.[v] Never before has the ‘Fear of Finding Out’ been addressed by such a broad range of experts, collectively.

Speaking about the project Live:LabTM collaborator, Sir Muir Gray CBE, said: “We’re increasingly seeing evidence which shows that people respond far better to positive health messages, which in turn means they are more likely to engage with the health service. I’m a firm believer that healthcare is what you do for yourself and through the work we’re doing with Live:LabTM, we’re hoping to devise a solution which will help people feel empowered and in control of their health and wellbeing.”

Heather Wright, Executive Producer and Head of Partner Content at Aardman and Live:LabTMcollaborator, comments: “I am passionate about the NHS and I was a little surprised that a major pharmaceutical company, like AbbVie, would want to look outside the industry for answers and explore the territory of preventative health. I was even more surprised when I first learnt about who else is part of Live:LabTM – from game developers, to tech experts. The aspirations for Live:LabTM, such as breaking down barriers to form progressive partnerships to support the NHS, are something I really respect. I feel we have the potential to help make a real change to healthcare.”

Jérôme Bouyer, AbbVie General Manager, commented: “As an innovation led science company we, and in fact healthcare organisations more widely, are used to thinking in terms of logic and evidence. We come at problems from the world of fact based evidence. But life experience shows that we’re not always logical in how we think about our own health. The decisions we make have a big impact on what help we can get from doctors. If we are going relieve the huge strain on the NHS, we must get creative and we can only do this by bringing in the most creative minds from outside of healthcare. This is what AbbVie is trying to encourage through this collaboration.”

The Live:LabTM collaborators are:

  • Rt Hon Alan Milburn – former Secretary of State for Health
  • Simon Bullmore, Open Data Institute – a non-profit company with a mission to inspire people to innovate with data
  • Julia Manning, Chief Executive, 2020health – an independent, social enterprise think tank whose mission is to ‘make health personal’
  • Aardman – world leading and multi-award winning British studio which produces series, advertising, interactive entertainment, attractions and feature films; like Wallace & Gromit andShaun the Sheep
  • Glitchers – a company creating innovative gaming products including Sea Hero Quest, an award-winning mobile and virtual reality game which collects spatial navigation data to inform dementia research
  • Professor Sir Muir Gray – founder of the National Library for Health and the first person to hold the post of Chief Knowledge Officer of the NHS
  • Dr Zoe Williams – media medic, GP and clinical champion for the RCGP’s clinical priority ‘Physical Activity and Lifestyle’
  • Dr Carmen Lefevre – research associate and research lead at the UCL Centre for Behaviour Change
  • Alison Hardy – health behaviour change expert and founder of Headstrong Thinking
  • Fundamental VR – medical VR simulation specialist that delivers virtual reality haptic ‘flight simulators’ for surgery
  • Dr Angel Chater – chartered psychologist, and a reader in Health Psychology and Behaviour Change at the University of Bedfordshire
  • Chrissie Wellington OBE – Global Head of Health & Wellbeing, Parkrun, and British triathlete
  • Daniel Hulme, CEO of Satalia – a company pushing the boundaries of data science, optimisation and artificial intelligence to solve the most difficult problems in industry


Further background on all of the collaborators can be found on the Live:LabTM website, which is also where the second short film in the Live:Lab TM series an be viewed.

i) Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME). GBD Compare – Public Health England. Seattle, WA: IHME, University of Washington, 2015. Available at: [Last Accessed: 11 February 2016]

[ii] 2020health: The Fear of Finding Out – Identifying psychological barriers to symptom presentation and diagnosis in the UK. 2017. Available at

[iii] 2020health: The Fear of Finding Out – Identifying psychological barriers to symptom presentation and diagnosis in the UK. 2017. Available at

[iv] Lang, I. A., et al. (2012). Healthy Behaviours in Middle Age and Long-Term Consequences for Mortality, Physical and Cognitive Function, and Mental Health. J Epidemiol Community Health. 66:A1-A66

[v] NHS England. Five Year Forward View. Available at: [Last Accessed: April 2017]

[vi] Dryden, R. et al., 2012 What do we know about who does and does not attend general health checks? Findings from a narrative scoping review. BMC Public Health 2012, 12:723

[vii] Public Health England – Modern life responsible for ‘worrying’ health in middle aged’. Available at: [Accessed Jan 2017)

[viii] Public Health England – Living healthily in midlife can double your chances of being healthy at 70 and beyond. Available at: [Accessed Jan 2017].

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