Of all the individuals on this list, Coffey faces one of the most daunting challenges on a day-in, day-out basis: His role is to make living with diabetes a positive experience for the 21 million Americans suffering from the disease. And while "positive experience" is highly subjective, several of Coffey's patient-centric innovations have resonated with his target audience. Most notably, Coffey and his team have surprised customers with the monthly delivery of Accu-Check To, a box filled with both the essentials for monitoring glucose levels and treats like popcorn and aroma candles. "The challenge is understanding where our ability to walk alongside the customer truly is and to break out of the commoditized world we live in," he says. Along those lines, Coffey believes that it's important to look beyond healthcare to delight consumers; he finds inspiration in the world of discovery retail (wine clubs, Birch Box).
The Accu-Check program has been a part of Coffey's efforts to build a much richer relationship with customers—even to generate some enthusiasm around the treatment of their condition. "Can we get them excited about testing? Can we get them to share it socially?" he asks. "If we can make that happen, it would open up the door for them to talk about diabetes as part of their lifestyle in a positive way. We approach them as people, not patients." —Sarah Mahoney