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The Living Heart Project: Insights from a Global Collaboration

Posted By John M DeWitt, Wednesday, March 13, 2019

“If We Work Together, Can We Build a Human Heart?” This was the tagline for Steve Levine’s March 12 Leadership Spotlight session at the 2019 ASAP Global Alliance Summit. His captivating presentation detailed, in TED Talk style, his multi-year journey as a collaboration leader to find the answer to this question. (Spoiler alert: The answer is yes.)

Levine is the senior director of life sciences at Dassault Systèmes, as well as the founder and executive director of the Living Heart Project. He holds a PhD in materials engineering from Rutgers University, and in 2015 was elected as a Fellow in the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.

Levine opened his presentation by describing his current company, the 40-year-old Dassault Systèmes, a computer-aided design company that evolved to offer a “3D experience” software platform used by many industries and the public sector. Most cars on the road today, Levine said, are designed by Dassault software, which renders three-dimensional experience with visually as well as technically exact realism. Car manufacturers use Dassault simulation technology to not only design cars, but to crash test them as well. For example, BMW, a Dassault customer, stopped physically crash-testing cars in 2013.

Also in 2013, Levine began to explore the idea of building a virtual human heart, one that could be used to diagnose ailments and educate people about the organ. Even in the big data era, this was a truly enormous task, given the amount of detail that he and his team needed to fit in. They needed new models for tissue, fiber orientations, coupled multiphysics (the electrical impulses that control the heart muscle), valves, and hemodynamics (flow of blood through the heart), among other things.

The medical community already has the understanding of the heart necessary to build a digital one, but that knowledge is “deconstructed,” as Levine says, distributed around the globe in many minds and texts and databases. The single greatest challenge, then, was getting all of that knowledge into one spot, then applying it. Or, as Levine asked the audience, once the pieces are gathered, “Can we put it back together?”

In order to put the heart back together, Levine needed to bring together many of the best medical and engineering minds from around the world (his team had members from 24 different countries) in order to pool their knowledge and capabilities. To accomplish this, while protecting what most partners would consider their proprietary intellectual property, he designed a hub-and-spoke collaboration, with Dassault Systèmes at the center. By centralizing trust, he maximized the amount of information exchanged. Not surprisingly, as trust in the Dassault hub grew, the spokes became increasingly comfortable and increasingly open with sharing their knowledge to support the common mission.

In the end, this Herculean feat of collaboration allowed Levine and his team to launch a completed and realistically rendered digital heart into the cloud in 2015. This digital model is expected to pave the way for personalized heart models, used to determine more exact treatments, safer and faster tests for drugs, image diagnostics, and, one day, for this technology to be applied to a patient’s entire body. Doctors and pharmacists would then be able to better design a specific treatment for the patient in question, with no guesswork involved—because the treatment can be tested on the virtual model before given to the real human.

To learn more about Steve Levine and the Living Heart Project, visit www.3ds.com/heart. Stay tuned to the ASAP blog and Strategic Alliance publications for the ASAP Media team’s comprehensive coverage of the 2019 ASAP Global Alliance Summit.  

Tags:  3D experience  ASAP Global Alliance Summit  collaboration  Dassault Systèmes  life sciences  partners  partnership  Steve Levine  The Living Heart Project 

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‘Running on Ice’: Creating a Winning Partnering Team When the Odds Are Against You—Part 1

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Running on ice. That’s how Genpact’s Scott Van Valkenburgh, CSAP, vice president, global alliances leader and Donna Peek, CSAP, global alliances, described their company’s transition to a partnering mindset in their session “Cool RunningsThe Road to Building New Alliance Capability.” The session took place at the 2019 ASAP Global Alliance Summit “Agile Partnering in Today’s Collaborative Ecosystem” in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Despite the challenges, the transition to partnering has served them well: Genpact pulled in $47 million in business in their first year of partnering. The company brought in 8 partners and plans to add 10 more in 2019. But the process “was like running on ice to build the team,” said Van Valkenburgh during a clever retelling of their experience in a session based on the 1993 movie “Cool Runnings.”

The movie is a fictionalized account of the Jamaican bobsledding team that in real life trained for the 1988 Olympics. It was the first time Jamaica competed in the Olympics, and in a category mismatched for a country that rarely sees snow and has average temperatures hovering around 80 degrees.

So what does the Jamaican bobsledding team have to do with Genpact? For Van Valkenburgh and Peek, the process of transitioning Genpact to partnering took considerable training and a highly strategic approach. “We didn’t have the language …. We had to define what partners were,” he explained to the packed room. It was like: “You’re on a journey, we are funding you, we got you a sled. Now train people who have never run on ice before.”

Building the team was structurally challenging with the need to balance roles, weight, and speed—to name just a few of the considerations. Bobsled racing is performed with either a two- or four-person team. A team of four requires sensitive balancing in the sled at the ends and in the center. “If you have four people sprinting and one person is out of sinc, it doesn’t work,” he explained of the analogy. “You have to have people doing the right things in the right order. How do we get homegrown talent …  working well? And how do you create that culture?” he said, describing some of the problems faced.

“I build culture first and processes and goals second. If you can’t get the culture of your team right, then all the challenges happen,” he added, while also pointing out the importance of being open to the fact that the team you had before doesn’t easily fit into the new partnering structure: “You can’t have people who can’t run,” he observed.

To build a world-class team, you need to  create world-class athletes, he said. “There’s a whole reset mindset involved” just getting on the track. To make that happen, Genpact found, you need to do the following:

  • Create tipping points.
  • Build important things. “If it wasn’t going to get us on the track, it doesn’t matter.”
  • Make moments that matter. “That emotional deposit you give, that’s your bank account.”

Stay tuned for more of ASAP Media’s live, onsite coverage of this session and others from 2019 ASAP Global Alliance Summit. Cynthia B. Hanson is managing editor of ASAP Media and Strategic Alliance publications. 

Tags:  alliances  Donna Peek  Genpact  Global Alliance Summit  partner  partnering mindset  partners  Scott Van Valkenburgh  team 

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Self-Assessment, Data Collection, and a Growth-Based Mindset

Posted By Noel B. Richards, Wednesday, March 13, 2019

“Most of the time, problems with partnerships are with our own company,” said Parth Amin, CSAP, founding principal of Alliance Dynamics. He made the point while co-leading the workshop “Improving the Partnering Capability: From Self-Assessment to Action” at the 2019 ASAP Global Alliance Summit, taking place at the Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Amin and Erica Murphy, CA-AM, consultant at Alliance Dynamics, led the audience through the process of assessing the efficacy of their alliances and determining where improvements could be made by using the new team version of the Partnering Capability Assessment Platform tool developed by ASAP in partnership with UK-based New Information Paradigms.

The two executives educated the audience about a universal set of attributes vital to partnership success and then asked participants to assess themselves based on the “Partnering Maturity Model.” (This model and the attributes used for assessment are outlined in the article “A Platform for Assessing Organizational Partnering Capability” by Amin and Norma Watenpaugh, CSAP, CEO and founding principal of Phoenix Consulting Group, in the Q1 2019 Strategic Alliance Quarterly.) After completing the self-assessment, it became clear that most session participants’ alliances have room for improvement. The speakers then led the audience through the newly developed version of the Partnering Capability Assessment Platform.

After completion, audience members viewed the scores given in each of the 20 key partnering capability attributes (a sample report also can be found on Page 25 of the Q1 2019 Strategic Alliance Quarterly). The assessment tools generate data that can point alliance managers and teams in the correct direction of growth and improvement.

The purpose of the assessment is not to fix the partnership but to improve ourselves; if both companies are focused on doing so, the partnership will naturally improve, Amin pointed out. The “majority of issues with a partnership are not with the partners but with your own organization,” he reiterated. Addressing internal issues requires inwardly focused self-assessment and adopting a growth-based mindset in the company. Once areas of improvement are recognized, executives can focus on a game plan for manifesting improvements.

Amin stressed that it’s important to “verify that the strategy works in a small sample, then roll it out on a broader scale.” In order to determine whether a new strategy is working, one needs to ensure that the personnel and methods of gathering this data are drawn out from the beginning. This supports the implementation of new strategies to help make partnerships as efficient and effective as possible.

The survey is an effective tool that up to 15 individuals on a team can complete. It can help get members of a partnership and in-house teams to recognize that improvements are possible, Amin said. This can prompt team members to adopt a growth-based mindset, which will yield improvements across the board for an organization or partnership. At the very least, Amin said, “This tool is the place to start.”

Noel B. Richards is a staff writer for ASAP Media. Stay tuned for more of the ASAP Media team’s comprehensive on-site coverage of 2019 ASAP Global Alliance Summit sessions on this blog, and in the weekly, monthly, and quarterly Strategic Alliance publications. 

Tags:  Alliance Dynamics  Data Collection  Erica Murphy  Growth-Based Mindset  New Information Paradigms  Parth Amin  Partnering Capability  Partnering Maturity Model  partnership success  Self-Assessment 

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The Sharing Model of Alliances: Creating Value through Economies of Scale

Posted By John M. DeWitt, Wednesday, March 13, 2019

I arrived in sunny Fort Lauderdale for my first ASAP Global Alliance Summit and dove headfirst into my first session—a three-hour workshop with Dave Luvison, CSAP, PhD, and Ard-Pieter de Man, CSAP, PhD, on building collaborative business models. Both Dave and Ard-Pieter are academics: Dave is a professor and executive in residence at the Sellinger School of Business at Loyola University Maryland; Ard-Pieter is professor of knowledge networks and innovation at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

Ard-Pieter started off the presentation talking about the three models of that he believes form the core of most alliances: sharing, specialization, and allocation models. I’ll focus on the sharing model in this article.

The sharing model creates value through economies of scale, in a horizontal combination between two organizations that share similar resources and capabilities. In other words, they might ordinarily be competitors. The goal of such an alliance is to increase the scale of one or more of the organizations involved, through a predetermined split of resources, costs, and revenue. As a result, the organizations are often thoroughly integrated. Additionally, the value creation potential of the alliance is very easy to predict, given that existing operations are combined.

Ard-Pieter cited the example of the Delta and Air France/KLM alliance. Here, the airlines share customers along North Atlantic routes, an area where they would normally compete for customers. They all sell tickets “color blind”—meaning the actual airline doesn’t matter—and send the customer on the airline that offers the desired flight, regardless of which airline the customer originally approached. This increases the number of destinations available to the customer, obviously making the airline more attractive to said customer.

This type of alliance forces the executives of the organizations involved to not only collaborate among themselves, but to do so regularly and frequently. Such involvement is necessary, again, given that many aspects of each organization are joining forces. Going back to the Delta and Air France/KLM example for a moment, 12 working groups from each company interact every single day, forcing the CEOs to interact regularly too.

About halfway through the session, Ard-Pieter and Dave initiated a breakout session. They asked the attendees to apply what they had learned to any alliances that they may have worked on in the past, i.e., identify which of Ard-Pieter and Dave’s models fit their chosen alliance best. I joined one of the tables to listen to their responses.

One interesting detail I noticed: participants found it very difficult to fit their alliances wholly to one model. Essentially, they would start to mix and match characteristics from each model to best fit their alliance. So while Ard-Pieter and Dave managed to boil alliances down into three basic models, in practice these models are not cut and dried. The two presenters commented that the hybridization of alliance models is not only acceptable, but sometimes encouraged to meet the needs of a specific partnering problem or business strategy.

Stay tuned for more insights from Dave and Ard-Pieter’s session—and read more of the ASAP Media team’s live, on-site coverage of the 2019 ASAP Global Alliance Summit on the ASAP Blog and in Strategic Alliance publications. John M. DeWitt is copy editor and staff writer for ASAP Media and an undergraduate at Catawba College majoring in biology. 

Tags:  alliance models  Alliances  allocation  economies of scale  sharing  specialization 

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The ‘Boundary Bridger’: How Leadership Style Drives Alliance Team Performance

Posted By John W. DeWitt , Tuesday, March 12, 2019

“The alignment challenge is not unique to strategic alliances,” commented veteran alliance manager Timothy B. Steele, president of ARM Partners in Leesburg, Virginia, as he kicked off the closed-door, invitation-only ASAP Leadership Forum on Monday, March 11—opening day of the 2019 ASAP Global Alliance Summit in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Indeed, leadership teams typically are aligned only 17 percent on any given topic, according to research by SchellingPoint that builds upon the work of Thomas Schelling, the late behavioral economist who (with Robert J. Aumann) received the 2005 Nobel Prize in economic sciences “for having enhanced our understanding of conflict and cooperation through game-theory analysis.”

SchellingPoint’s “analysis of 230 collaborations uncovered that teams are aligned on only 17 percent of their peer’s views of their collaboration,” according to Michael Taylor, SchellingPoint’s chief executive. Research further indicates that about 60 percent of senior leaders’ time is spent securing alignment across the leadership team.

Steele and his co-facilitator, Loyola University Maryland professor Dave Luvison, CSAP, PhD, described this aspect of leadership as “a boundary-bridging role.” Alternating between presentation and robust discussion with the group of veteran alliance leaders, Steele and Luvison presented leadership models and emerging research identifying the critical role of boundary bridging and other key leadership behaviors.

“When we look at the job of alliance leadership, we talk a lot about focus on the customer, Steele said, “but if you don’t have this boundary-bridging role,” instead of being a chief alliance officer (CAO) with a seat at the CXO table, you might end up on the menu. Your alliance skills might make you able to cope with ambiguity, but “don’t be ambiguous about having clear mission and mandate, because [building alignment] is one area of alliances where you don’t want to deal with ambiguity. Get it crisp and clear—the less ambiguity you have the better off you are.”

Research into leadership styles of product management teams—according to Luvison, an excellent analog for alliance management—supports the notion that you should “push alliance metrics to the CXO suite [so that it is] leveraged across the business,” Steele continued, adding that that boundary bridgers integrate the alliance agenda into annual corporate planning and involve business P&L owners into key partnering dynamics and decisions.

The science indicates that boundary bridger CAOs establish a “North Star” to guide their teams, a concept advanced by The Rhythm of Business and McKinsey, Steele noted. Furthermore, boundary bridgers demonstrate high emotional intelligence and are able to “feel the headwinds and tailwinds happening in your business,” Steele said. “Think about being up on the balcony, watching yourself dance, anticipating what your partner’s next move is.”

Fundamentally, Luvison said, boundary bridgers understand that just doing a good job does not alone drive success. Research exploring how particular leadership styles improve performance of teams has identified three types of leaders. The first type of leadership style describes leaders primarily engaged in task-focused behavior, “managing and driving the team to perform, making sure every executional aspect of the alliance is done properly. The second type are scouts, who see themselves as responsible for bringing resources to the team. The third type are ambassadors focused on dialoguing with superiors and other stakeholders, proactively putting themselves on the agenda of their leaders, and managing behaviors.”

According to preliminary research findings, Luvison said, “ambassador-led teams outperformed [the two others], especially when combined with task behaviors.” Interestingly, he continued, “Frequency of communications was less important than the nature of the boundary-bridging activities. Ambassadors created the opportunity to promote the team, secure resources, and protect it from interference.”

In other words, successful boundary bridgers also demonstrated traits of the other two types of leaders.

The facilitators then asked the two-dozen or so senior alliance execs in the room how they would describe their leadership style and how much time they spend on boundary bridging. General consensus in the room: 50 percent, if not more, of their time is spent on internal alignment across boundaries.

“It’s a full-time challenge to do this. It’s not just something you can do and be done,” commented one pharmaceutical alliance leader.

“I find I have to be task-oriented even when being ambassador,” said another senior pharma business development and alliance leader.

A leader in a large high-tech company with an immature alliance practice commented that, “since it’s a new alliance management function at our company, the ratio is much higher. We have to do the WIFM—‘what’s in it for me?’—lots of meetings, lots of time spent,” the exec explained. Her boss “spends 90 percent of his time as ambassador and is more networked than most senior leaders at company,” she continued, adding, “But we do split duty—you can evangelize, but you can’t deliver the goods if you’re not executing.”

Another leader commented that “it’s a fallacy that software will solve the problem, that [you can]manage by software, manage by milestones, and forget about alignment. Then you are managing instead of leading. And if leaders are not leading, managers default to tactical.”

Stay tuned for more of ASAP Media’s coverage of the Leadership Forum and other seminal leadership discussions at the 2019 ASAP Global Alliance Summit.

Tags:  ARM Partners  boundary bridgers  communication  Dave Luvison  McKinsey  stakeholders  strategic alliances  The Rhythm of Business  Timothy B. Steele 

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