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An Unambiguous Call to Action: Preview the Q1 2017 Strategic Alliance Magazine

Posted By John W. DeWitt, Saturday, February 11, 2017

From the cover to The Close, the Q1 2017 issue of Strategic Alliance Magazine tackles the critical topics that matter in today’s increasingly complex collaborations—and serves as a call to action for partnering executives to step out of their comfort zone, sound the call for professional alliance management, and continuously build their organizations’ capability to collaborate everywhere. For example, in our regular column “The Close,” I share a recent conversation with top Cisco executive and collaboration leader Ron Ricci. While “comfort with ambiguity” is an oft-cited trait of alliance executives, I argue (with support from Ron) that there’s nothing ambiguous about your CEO recognizing that digitization demands collaboration if your company is to succeed. Get a jump start reading this issue—full text of “The Close” follows below.

“THE CLOSE: An Unambiguous Call to Action,” from Q1 2017 Strategic Alliance Magazine

In Genevieve Fraser’s Q1 2017 Member Spotlight on Celgene, she and Jeremy Ahouse, CSAP, PhD, discuss how his alliance team includes “the kinds of people who can live with ambiguity and difference even as they get things done.” I’ve often heard comfort with ambiguity cited as an important trait of partnering executives. I got to thinking: Do I know any “ambiguous” alliance executives?

Most partnering professionals I know strike me as grounded, clear-as-a-bell communicators who don’t hesitate to share their point of view and who often can be very directive. I surmise that it’s precisely a lack of personal ambiguity that helps alliance execs lead amidst ambiguity. In a nutshell, it takes confidence to collaborate.

You feel that confidence within Ron Ricci, co-author of The Collaboration Imperative and a longtime Cisco senior executive focused on collaboration as an organizational capability, who joined a 90-minute conference call with ASAP’s advisory board in January. Ricci and Norma Watenpaugh, CSAP, principal of Phoenix Consulting Group, discussed the just-published ISO 44001, the International Standards Organization’s standard for “collaborative business relationship management systems.” (See in-depth coverage forthcoming in eSAM Plus, ASAP blogs, and future Strategic Alliance Magazine articles.) Ricci believes the ISO standard—which aligns to ASAP’s alliance management frameworks—will help propagate a common language for business collaboration, inside and among organizations. Ricci and the many leaders he interacts with see partnering and collaborative ability as central to grappling with the pace of a rapidly digitizing world.

“I spend all day long talking to senior executives of diverse governments and companies around the world about their collaboration opportunities,” says Ricci, vice president of customer experience services at Cisco, whom I spoke to recently. “Speed is the most important thing they need to move their businesses [according to] every leader I’ve met with over the last five years on this topic of collaboration. And companies see collaboration as the means to get speed.”

Talking to Ricci is an unambiguous look into how the C-suite views partnering and collaboration today—and the opportunity this represents for alliance management.

“Digitization and the ability to connect anything has taken the notion of speed and actually made it a potential carnivore of companies,” Ricci explains. “Take the technology trend of standardization and connect to the broader business trend of digitization—now we have a market moving almost at the pace of Moore’s Law. In 18 to 24 months the way you make money serving your customers can evolve. … So the way organizations collaborate and work together might need to be the most important capability they need to survive in the 21st century.”

This is an unmistakable call to action for all alliance professionals. It’s time to evangelize the value of this profession like never before. Recent ASAP, Vantage Partners, and other studies present unambiguous data on how professional alliance management drives success and financial performance of partnerships. As exemplified by our cover story, “The Partner-Everywhere Imperative: A Practitioner’s Guide,” and numerous sessions at ASAP conferences, the ASAP community is on the forefront of extending and adapting alliance management frameworks, practices, and tools to the new, increasingly complex collaborations that now proliferate across industries and sectors.

“How do you survive in a world where risk is growing faster than growth?” a Fortune 500 CEO recently asked Ricci. “You have to operate at an uncommon level of speed, adaptability, and flexibility,” Ricci responds. “And if there’s a better way to do that than collaboration, please tell me.”

And if there’s a better resource for collaboration success than your alliance team, the ASAP community, and the alliance management profession, please tell me.

Tags:  alliance executives  alliances  ASAP Conferences  Celgene  collaboration  C-suite  Fortune500  Jeremy Ahouse  Partner-Everywhere  Ron Ricci  Strategic Alliance Magazine  The Collaboration Imperative  Vantage Partners 

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The World of Design Thinking: How It Informs Rethinking Alliance Management for the New Faces and Places of Biopharma Partnering

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Thursday, September 1, 2016

 “Using Design Thinking to Drive Speed, Innovation, and Alignment in Partnering” is a 90-minute, hands-on workshop offered at the upcoming ASAP BioPharma Conference Sept. 7-9 “New Faces, Unexpected Places in Partnering: The Foresight to Lead, the Foundation to Succeed” at the Revere Hotel Boston Common, Boston. Led by The Rhythm of Business’s President, Jan Twombly, CSAP, and Principal Jeff Shuman, CSAP, PhD., the workshop will be taking common alliance problems and advising participants on how to understand and apply an adaptation of design thinking to solve them. This workshop will introduce several different techniques along with multiple examples. In this brief interview, Jan Twombly provides a primer on design thinking and what participants can expect. 

What is design thinking?
It’s a methodology for solving complex problems that’s particularly useful in unfamiliar settings, such as partnering with multiple partners, non-asset based alliances, and partnering with sectors that run on much faster clock speeds. It started out as something used for product design, but the data-driven, user experience-focused practice has become very popular in broader business applications because it centers on innovation and complex problem solving. We’ve adapted it for partnering practices. It zeros in on the user’s needs, wants, and limitations, and makes sure that you are providing an experience they value. The tools and techniques take a user-centered approach to aligning processes and interests between and among partners, especially among new faces. It hones in on core problems so that alliance managers can really understand what is needed to solve for, and makes sure they identify the key assumptions in the proposed solutions to understand the data to be gathered to determine if it’s working or not working. In an alliance management context, the users are primarily your internal stakeholders and the equivalent at partner companies. 

How is it used in alliance management?
If you tie back to the conference theme, we live in a world where we are partnering with new partners and in a time of intense competition to get to market first. More and more in R&D is getting externalized, and to drive efficiency in all these new alliances, we need to evolve how we manage alliances. We can use design thinking to really rethink alliance processes, and thereby drive the speed, innovation, effectiveness, alignment, and efficiency required today. You can use design thinking to ensure that your alliance processes and the way you go about collaborating are providing stakeholders with the partnering experience they need to achieve alliance objectives, given the complexity of the relationships and the fact that there is a race to get the most desirable assets and align with companies that will achieve your objectives. We have looked at various ways to do that—starting with IDEO, which created the methodology that is now adapted and used by companies such as IBM, Google Ventures, Bayer, GE Healthcare, and Novo Nordisk. We’ve studied how they are utilizing it and have applied it to alliances in a method we call Partner by Design. 

You collaborated on an interesting article in the Summer 2016 issue of Strategic Alliance Magazine entitled “Mastering the Speed, Scale, and Scope of Partnering for the Connected Ecosystems of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.” How does design thinking fit into the fourth industrial revolution?
Basically, where it aligns is the fact that partnering processes and the way we have been going about partnering have to change and reflect the speed of innovation today. Partnering processes must reflect the needs of the always-on customer. As business people, we increasingly expect to have the same experience when engaging with companies such as Google, Amazon, or Nordstrom. These are companies known for delivering a great customer experience. This means that we need to change the way we go about partnering. The new business models are outcomes-based, where no value is realized or captured until the end customers get their value. That changes the rules of partnering. You can’t use the same best practices we’ve been using forever. The fundamentals apply, but the new environment demands reflection and evolution. 

Tags:  alliances  Amazon  Bayer  ecosytems  GE HealthCare  Google  IBM  Indutrial Revolution  Jan Twombly  Jeff Shuman  Nordstrom  partner  Partner by Design  partnering practices  stakeholders  Strategic Alliance Magazine  The Rhythm of Business 

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Q4 2015 Strategic Alliance Magazine: Improving Your Communication Skills, Incorporating Ninja Philosophy, and Adding Other Valuable Tools to Your Alliance Manager Toolbox

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Sharp communication skills are an essential tool in the alliance manager’s toolbox, so we highlight the topic in the Q4 2015 Strategic Alliance Magazine. The lead article, “Upping Your Communications Game,” touches on several tools that can help build the collaboration framework. Several professionals address how to fine-tune those skills, including Eli Lilly and Company’s Mike Berglund, CA-AM on framework construction, body language experts Jack Brown and Clark Freshman on reading nonverbal communication, Anny Bedard of ABio Consulting on cross-cultural communication, and Trisha Griffin-Carty, owner of Griffin-Carty Communications, on the value of weaving stories into presentations. 

We also preview keynote speaker Jonathan Ballon, vice president of the Internet of Things Group at Intel, and other presenters bringing their leading-edge expertise to the upcoming March 1-4, 2016 ASAP Global Alliance Summit, to be held in National Harbor, Maryland, adjacent to Washington, D.C. As in previous years, the 2016 Summit is on the forefront of alliance management practice, with this year’s program honing in on the diversity of skills required for “Partnering Everywhere: Expert Leadership for the Ecosystem.” Also included in this issue are snippets of events at the Boston BioPharma gathering, “Conference Focuses on Surfing the Shifting BioPharma Wave,” as well as a recap of the 2015 ASAP European Alliance Summit, “The New Ecosystem for Partnerships.” 

Several philosophical voices espouse the value of “ninja” alliance management in the Your Career feature—metaphorically harnessing the ancient elements of earth, water, fire and wind and incorporating them into your daily practice. The article combines the ancient ninja concept with thoroughly modern wisdom and advice from Cindy Warren, vice president of alliance management at Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, and four panelists at a lively session, “Cultivating an Alliance Management Career,” held Sept. 11 at the 2015 ASAP BioPharma Conference in Boston. Panelists spoke in ways that fit with a philosophical view of ninja practice: the earth element of being grounded and standing your ground; the water element of soft skills and moving around obstacles; tending the fire element by diffusing and managing conflict; harnessing the wind element by bending and being adaptable. For a quick synopsis on what to look for in an alliance manager, we added a short sidebar of Warren’s Top 10 qualities. 

There is a review of Remix Strategy: The Three Laws of Business Combinations, by Benjamin Gomes-Casseres, CSAP—a roadmap for the best partnering routes. Also, a heartfelt tribute to Tom Halle, CSAP, a longtime leader, mentor, and champion of the alliance management profession who recently passed away from lung cancer. The magazine also spotlights corporate member Amgen for its investment in strategic alliances with dozens of active partnerships involving cross-functional governance, while improving its own internal governance and processes, to build healthy, longterm partnerships. The quarterly editorial supplement, sponsored by Eli Lilly and Company, features the article “Major Moves: Simplifying Alliance Management Product Transitions With Thorough Planning” by Rachelle E. Hawkins, CA-AM, Joanna L. C. May, CA-AM, and David Thompson, CA-AM, on the challenging steps involved in transitioning a globally marketed asset to another company. 

Without the two critical components of good communication and inspired leadership, “a company can end up parading barren goods or services, much like The Emperor who was tricked into believing that he wore a fine suit when nothing of value was really there,” advises The Close’s “The Master Alliance Weaver at Work,” which focuses on the qualities and characteristics essential for a “durable cloth from which to create and deliver significant value.” All valuable information that you need as you build value into your practice at a time when strategic partnering continues to increase in complexity. 

Tags:  ABio Consulting  alliance management  alliance manager  Anny Bedard  Benjamin Gomes-Casseres  body language  Cindy Warren  Clark Freshman  David Thompson  Eli Lilly and Company  Jack Brown  Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies  Mike Berglund  non-verbal communication  Rachelle E. Hawkins  Strategic Alliance Magazine 

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Q3 2015 Strategic Alliance Magazine: Alliance Leaders Make the Paradigm Shift to Cross-Industry and Ecosystem Partnering, Plus Partnering in the Channel and More

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Thursday, September 24, 2015

The latest issue of Strategic Alliance Magazine, Q3 2015, now available to ASAP members, invites readers to explore a paradigm shift occurring in the life sciences and healthcare industries (and many others too). Veteran alliance executives discuss how to adapt, lead, and orchestrate in new and innovative ways, as cross-industry collaborations proliferate thanks to high tech and other industries entering the traditional biopharma and healthcare arena. Alliance managers are challenged to read the tea leaves and adapt to customer-centric trends and other drivers forcing change.

 

SAM Q3 2015 also provides a preview of the 2015 ASAP BioPharma Conference that took place in Boston Sept. 9-11 “Alliance Expertise at the Forefront: Leadership for the Ecosystem.” Highlights include the opening evening keynote on the analytics-driven innovative partnerships Boston-based Berg Pharmaceuticals has formed with research hospitals, as well as three “ASAP Quick Takes” given by IBM Institute for Business Value's Heather Fraser, Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson’s Cindy Warren, and the Alzheimer’s Association’s Lenore Jackson-Pope. The talks were preceded by professional development workshops and followed by a rich selection of educational sessions.

 

In our quarterly Alliance Champion feature, I interviewed Leona Kral, CSAP, of Verizon, who offered insights on driving revenue in channel management. Adaptation, agility, and innovation are critical components for alliance managers dealing with a fluid business environment, and that requires a wardrobe of hats alliance managers can wear to compliment their changing roles, she advises. Kral joined with her Verizon colleague Karen Robinson, CSAP, to present ASAP’s September Netcast Webinar, “What in the World are Two Alliance Professionals Doing in the Channel?” available for viewing in the ASAP Member Resource Library.

 

Continuing in the same vein of exploring the challenges (and opportunities) in channel sales partnerships, Dede Haas, CA-AM, founder and president of DLH Services, outlines the problems that make channel partners unhappy with vendors, and then offers practical advice from experienced channel executives on how to improve such collaborations through trust-based relationships.

 

The magazine also spotlighted how corporate member Dassault Systèmes and its partners use three-dimensional visualization technologies and collaborative tools—in the process changing the way business is being done in industries ranging from manufacturing and high tech to architecture and engineering, as well as in the public sector.

 

In the magazine’s quarterly editorial supplement, sponsored by Eli Lilly and Company, Michael Berglund, CA-AM and David Thompson, CA-AM, explore the powerful impact of the “conviction curve” on whether or not decision-making processes are actually collaborative. Berglund also delved into the topic in his well-attended workshop at this month’s ASAP BioPharma Conference, honing in on the crucial distinction of “Are We Negotiating or Collaborating?”

 

“Are you ready to thrive at the center of the action?” asks executive publisher and ASAP President and CEO Michael Leonetti, CSAP, in his engaging Up Front editorial. Alliances are taking new forms as partnering proliferates across the new ecosystem, and this issue of Strategic Alliance Magazine appropriately points out that alliance management needs to be embedded and is an essential component to the culture of today’s business enterprises if they are to adapt and proliferate in the emerging ecosystem.

Tags:  alliance  ASAP BioPharma Conference  Cindy Warren  collaboration  Dassault Systèmes  David Thompson  Dede Haas  ecosystem  Heather Fraser  Karen Robinson  Lenore Jackson-Pope  Leona Kral.ASAP Netcast Webinar  Michael Berglund  Strategic Alliance Magazine 

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Official ASAP Announcement and Forthcoming Q2 Strategic Alliance Magazine Article Shine the Spotlight on 2015 ASAP Alliance Excellence Award Winners

Posted By Cynthia Hanson, Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Think “rock star teams” with people “aligned and marching in the same direction” working to make significant contributions to society, science, sustainability, and corporate alliance management practices. That would be the winners of the 2015 ASAP Alliance Excellence Awards, which were presented March 3 at the 2015 ASAP Global Alliance Summit, officially announced in an ASAP press release this week, and will be recognized in the soon-to-be-published Q2 issue of Strategic Alliance Magazine. 

The 2015 recipients of the ASAP Alliance Excellence Awards are: 

  • National Grid/Earth Networks for Individual Alliance Excellence
  • The Dow Chemical Company/The Nature Conservancy for Alliance for Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Philips for Innovative Best Alliance Practice with honorable mention to Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson
  • Takeda Pharmaceuticals for Alliance Program Excellence with honorable mention to Bayer HealthCare
  • ASAP RTP Chapter for the Chapter Excellence Award 

The forthcoming Strategic Alliance Magazine article shares insights from a live Q&A session with the award winners. Moderator Jan Twombly, CSAP, president of The Rhythm of Business, asked recipients about key learnings.  At its core, our project “was about making decisions for all society. It moved us beyond basic philanthropy,” observed Elizabeth Uhlhorn, sustainability program manager at Dow Chemical. Dow and The Nature Conservancy received the Alliance for Corporate Social Responsibility Award for their partnership, which factors the value of nature into business decisions—a crucial step forward in fostering sustainability. 

National Grid won the Individual Alliance Excellence Award, which is given to a company that has excelled in planning, implementation, and results for a single alliance—in this case, with Earth Network’s weather monitoring equipment distributor WeatherBug. Asked what made their efforts awards-winning, “Our alliance delivered twice, first for National Grid to better understand where damage will occur.  Second, with community engagement and stewardship,” responded Eliza Davis, lead program manager, alliance and vendor strategy at National Grid. 

The awards “highlight some of the very best achievements in the industry and require hundreds of hours of work to qualify,” said Michael Leonetti, CSAP, president and CEO of ASAP, while announcing the winners. “There were more applicants this year than ever before,” added co-presenter Annlouise Goodermuth, CSAP, director of alliance management, strategy, science policy, and external innovation at Sanofi. 

To learn more about and from the award winners, don’t miss the forthcoming Q2 issue of Strategic Alliance Magazine—and read the full ASAP press release

Tags:  alliance management  ASAP Alliance Excellence Awards  ASAP RTP Chapter  Bayer HealthCare  Earth Networks  Eliza Davis  Elizabeth Uhlhorn  Janssen Pharmaceutical  National Grid  Philips  Strategic Alliance Magazine  sustainability  Takeda Pharmaceuticals  The Dow Chemical Company  The Nature Conservancy  WeatherBug 

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