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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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Maximizing the Alliance Management and C-Suite Relationship Through the Eyes of Biopharma Conference Plenary Speaker Stéphane Thiroloix

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Monday, August 1, 2016
Updated: Sunday, July 31, 2016

Stéphane Thiroloix describes himself as a “reasonable generalist,” having been involved with partnering in multiple waysfrom business development, general management, marketing, and sales to R&D and legal affairs. The CEO at Mayoly Spindler, an emerging family-owned, independent French company with a focus on gastroenterology and dermocosmetics, will present a plenary talk on The View from the C-Suite: Partnering and Alliances Today and Tomorrow,” Thursday morning, Sept. 8, during the 2016 ASAP BioPharma Conference. This year’s conference, “New Faces, Unexpected Places in Partnering: The Foresight to Lead, the Foundation to Succeed,” will be held Sept. 7-9 at the Revere Hotel in Boston. Mayoly Spindler’s revenue originates half in France and half abroad through activities in over 50 countries, mostly via local partnerships. The company’s portfolio strategy is based almost exclusively on partnering. Thiroloix provided this preview of his topic on how alliance management functions can best be viewed and leveraged by company senior leadership.

What are some of the challenges when coordinating the alliance management and C-Suite relationships?
The first challenge is simply understanding the role of alliance management. When you have skilled and proactive alliance managers, it does not take long for the C-Suite to appreciate their work and turn to them constantly. Another challenge is keeping the alliance manager in play at all times, even when a partner is tempted to take a more direct CEO-to-CEO route. While that’s a perfectly legitimate move, it’s then the CEO's responsibility to keep the alliance manager in play, even if it’s transiently unofficial. One interesting challenge is accepting contradictions from the alliance manager as they stand for partner interests. It’s easy to state and posture that the alliance manager is our partner's ambassador in our ExCom [executive committee], but when they make the partner's case in a difficult decision, we may feel a little strain as we remind ourselves that we hired them to do so and should pay attention.

Among your proposed discussion topics is the importance of establishing an alliance management function and its value to the senior executive team. Why has this become increasingly important in the new ecosystem?
The pharma model has become tremendously fragmented. When I started my professional life, large pharma companies were the norm, and they were fully integrated—from fundamental research to sales. Partnerships were the exception rather than the norm, and we relied mostly on our internal dynamics to succeed. Today, not only is there a constellation of small, ultra-specialized players, but even the large pharma players outsource vast quantities of strategic activities, including entire components of their R&D, most of their manufacturing, and frequently their commercial activity. As a result, the way we work today is intrinsically alliance-based. Additionally, it’s not about whether you're big or small. If you are a big, dominant player, there is high risk that you will be overpowering in your partnerships. Partners used to accept this because partnering with big pharma was the grail. That’s no longer the case, so big players need alliance management to maintain a healthy balance in their dealings with smaller players who have a variety of other doors to knock on. If you are a small player, you must be agile, humble, and alliance-focused in order to quickly build a strong partnering track record.

Describe some effective strategies partnering professionals can use to support the C-Suite?
A straight answer may be a little simplistic. The company (and its C-Suite), its partners and the alliance manager themselves, have a specific profile and style that may call for different approaches. The C-Suite requires a difficult balance between boring them with systematic activity reporting and appearing to withhold knowledge that provides an edge—which is unbearable to the C-Suite. What I've seen work well is to use the pace of partnership governance: at ExCom meetings before key alliance governance moments, provide relevant updates and gather C-Suite insight. That way you will not be covering all topics all the time. Make sure you share partner milestones to provide the C-Suite with opportunities to react in a constructive manner. If a partner cleared an FDA hurdle or raised capital, some C-Suite members may want to send a congratulatory note—but if you don’t point it out, they might miss the occasion. The best way to work the C-Suite is unquestionably to work more with their teams than with them. Similarly, make sure the C-Suite's personal assistants know where to find alliance reports, and develop flexibility and opportunities for them to connect with bosses whenever they need to deal with the alliance. Be ready to explain the same things again and again. And never, ever surprise them.

Tags:  alliance management  alliances  C-Suite  ecosystem  FDA  governance  Mayoly Spindler  partners  partnership  Stéphane Thiroloix 

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It is Time to Think Differently - Taming the Complexity of IoT Partnering

Posted By Jan Twombly, CSAP and Jeff Shuman, CSAP, PhD | The Rhythm of Business and SMART Partnering, Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Internet of Things (IoT) is upending partnering “best practices.” One practice is clear: no company succeeds alone. It takes an ecosystem.

This is partnering at a scale, scope, and speed unprecedented until now. It requires creativity and bold experimentation. Companies must learn quickly, iterate strategies, manage complexity, and try new models for value creation, delivery, and capture.

“We know how to partner. We’ve been doing it for 20 years.” These are deadly words when said about partnering for the Internet of Things. The fundamentals of partnering may still apply – or not – but businesses that until now have been relatively un-digitized are discovering tremendous opportunities to rethink their operations and economics. This necessitates partnering:

  • Across industries and sectors
  • With many more companies for any given industry solution
  • At a greater speed to assemble and reassemble the right partners for each customer scenario
  • With agility, shifting from orchestrator to participant, sometimes with the same customer
  • In conjunction with “Everything as a Service” business models

Innovate and Experiment

Companies that succeed at building the partnering ecosystem required for the IoT take a page from design thinking: Start with the experience of the end customer and play that back to solution development. Those that succeed think similarly about the partner experience, making it easy to engage and drive down transaction costs. They do not lock onto any specific business or partnering model; rather they experiment and learn which of the assumptions you’ve made are valid and which are invalid and need to be iterated.

Instead of copying what competitors consider “best practices,” companies that remake their partnering capabilities for today’s connected world look for other inspiration. For example, Médicins sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders) assembles teams of medical and logistical professionals when conflict breaks out or there is an epidemic. The network has the ability to quickly assemble and then disband when the work is done because it knows what each partner considers valuable and works to ensure that value is received, thus maintaining willingness to participate and contribute value.

Companies throughout the ecosystem, regardless of their role or roles, must be willing to take some risks and fund experimentation to determine what is repeatable and scalable, both in the business and partnering models and in how partnering operations are carried out.

Connective Tissue or Achilles’ Heel

At the ASAP Global Summit in March keynote presenter Jonathan Ballon, Vice President of Intel’s Internet of Things (IoT) Group made it very clear that IoT is a massive opportunity to create and realize tremendous economic value; transforming industries; changing products, services, and solutions, and disrupting business models. He also emphasized that partnering and alliances are the connective tissue required to realize this value. The SMART Partnering Alliance of The Rhythm of Business and Alliancesphere argues that success in the ecosystem partnering required by IoT is not happenstance – it takes careful design. If your company’s partnering capability is insufficient for the task, partnering might be your Achilles’ heel – the exposed and unprotected weak spot of your organization. Alliance professionals have a duty to provide their executives with a roadmap across the new partnering landscape.

Over the next few months, we’ll be publishing a series of blog posts and white papers that explore what is different about partnering in the IoT - and how to apply design thinking – what we call Partner By Design to evolving partnering practices for the connected ecosystem era and everything as a service business models.

Missed the Summit Keynote? Read a Summary and Perspective on it from SMART Partnering.

ASAP was given permission by ASAP Corporate Member, EPPP, and guest bloggers Jan Twombly, CSAP and Jeff Shuman, CSAP, PhD of The Rhythm of Business and SMART Partnering to reprint the contributed blog. 

Tags:  alliance professionals  alliances  Alliancesphere  business model  ecosystem  Intel  Internet of Things  Jonathan Ballon  partner  partnering  SMART Partnering Alliance  The Rhythm of Business 

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ASAP’s New “Quick Takes” Explore Impact of IoT and Ecosystem Partnering—and Proves to Be a Highly Successful Format for Engaging 2016 Summit Participants

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson & John DeWitt, Friday, March 18, 2016

Some forms of communication are more effective than others. The “TED Talks” speaking format, for example, has drawn significant numbers of interested viewers for over 30 years. That is why ASAP decided to introduce its new “ASAP Quick Takes,” patterned after the “TED Talks,” unveiling them for the first time at the 2015 ASAP Biopharma Conference, and again, at the 2016 ASAP Global Alliance Summit. 

The talks were a big hit and garnered lots of positive feedback. Such short talks are successful for several reasons: The message is sometimes simple, imaginative, and an easy take-away; the time limit of about 20 minutes forces speakers to distill the main points, which more-readily captivates the audience. 

Take, for example, John Bell’s “Quick Takes” talk where the marketing executive for strategy development at Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health advised a collaborative approach: “Play in the sandbox. We are sitting on massive scale of opportunity to work in open innovation,” he said. “The toys must be shared. You can’t have it all your way, and you must behave yourself,” he added, while outlining the rules for success in today’s partnering environment. “Today, it’s a whole playground! Amusement parks, even. You can do many things [with] so many kids to play with. Which one would you choose, and why would they play with you?” he asked provocatively, prompting the audience to join him in the creative box for 20 minutes. 

Bell’s invitation was a terrific precursor to the talk by Larry Walsh, CEO of The 2112 Group and a well-known journalist, who asked the audience to join him in a virtual chess game. Strategy is a key component of success, he said. “Strategy is about making choices. If you fail to make choices, you often put yourself at risk,” he continued. “Lots of businesses say they make choices, but they are consumed by revenue generation and don’t discriminate between good and bad decisions. They also fail to anticipate. This is where surveying the landscape equates with chess. If you don’t survey the landscape and understand your competition, you cannot anticipate what the opposition will do,” he noted. Among other things, “you need to lay traps and position assets to create advantages.” 

Think ahead and read the board, he advised. Not only what you are going to do, but what your opponent is going to do. Chess helps you to play by the rules and take responsibility for your actionsto problem-solve in an uncertain environment.” 

Another “Quick Talks” speaker, Anne Nelson of IBM Watson, threw out an elaborate blueprint for success for IoT multi-partnering. IBM’s new business unit, formed in 2014, has seen astronomical growthsome 500 new partners in just two years. The IBM Watson Group provides over 30 services that partners can write applications against or leverage to improve applications. “What did you tweet over the last two weeks?” she asked the audience to recall. “Watson can provide personality insights from those tweets” and generate different coupons for discounts depending on that profile. “We are opening the platform to partners on data as well,” she replied. ‘This platform is the only one in the industry today with this many apps.” 

What’s the value for partners in alliances with IBM in the Watson ecosystem? “We’re the number one B2B brand, Watson has 70 percent unaided awareness—so brand is going gangbusters in terms of value to partners,” said Nelson, who was recruited to IBM Watson Group from IBM’s direct sales organization in January of 2015. “We have over 40,000 IBM sellers who touch millions of accounts,” she noted. 

For a longer-term view of success, Marcus Wilson, president and co-founder of Anthem’s real-world research subsidiary, HealthCore, Inc., spoke about his 20-plus years building healthcare partnerships. The key component is building trust, he said. His experience included pioneered the emergence of physician and patient education and clinical decision support services based upon real-world data. Wilson’s experience exemplifies the “kind of creativity and entrepreneur skill increasingly required when we are reinventing what we are doing all the time,” said Jan Twombly, CSAP, ASAP chairman of programming, and president of The Rhythm of Business, who prefaced the talks as moderator. 

As an entrepreneur and “intrapreneur,” Wilson shared several formative personal experiences, starting as a young clinical pharmacist doing his residency at a Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Delaware health center. “Influence is everything,” Wilson emphasized. “I had no power to prescribeI would have to walk into physicians’ offices and convince them that it was their idea to treat the way they should. I had to influence the healthcare center to offer all these new services—which eventually became incredible force for us.” Similarly, he said, “We met with FDA 10 years ago about real-world evidence. They said, that’s great, but this stuff is voodoo science.” Thanks to influence—reinforced by lots of data—“it’s becoming much more mainstream today.” 

You can read individual blog posts about these “Quick Takes” talks on our website at http://www.strategic-alliances.org/blogpost/1143942/ASAP-Blog.

Tags:  alliances  Ann Nelson  ASAP Quick Takes  assets  B2B brand  collaborative  healthcare partnerships  Heathcore Inc.  IBM Watson  IoT  John Bell  Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health  Larry Walsh  Marcus Wilson  multi-partnering  open innovation  partnering environment  problem solve  strategy  TED Talks  The 2112 Group 

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‘Recognizing Great Behavior’: Winners of 2016 ASAP Alliance Excellence Awards Receive Honors and Accolades for Innovative Problem-Solving at ASAP Global Alliance Summit

Posted By Cynthia Hanson, Thursday, March 3, 2016

“When we share and highlight best practices and learn from each other, part of the success worth recognizing is great behavior,” said Mike Leonetti, CSAP, ASAP president & CEO, emphatically as he presented the 2016 Alliance Excellence Awards during the awards ceremony at the ASAP Summit, “Partnering Everywhere: Expert Leadership for the Ecosystem,” at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, National Harbor, Md. USA. In addition to the awards categories recognized in years past, ASAP introduced new honors at this year’s event.

 Warm applause turned into a standing ovation that swelled the room as Leonetti presented the new ASAP Guiding Light Award to Jan Twombly, CSAP, ASAP chairman of programming, for her exceptional and exemplary “good behavior,” leadership, and volunteerism. Leonetti noted that Twombly, president of The Rhythm of Business, for the past six years has invested literally hundreds of hours of time each year as a volunteer driving program development for the annual Summit as well as annual biopharma conferences for the past four years.  

 The new ASAP Chapter Excellence Award was awarded to the ASAP New England Chapter. Accepting the award was another ASAP luminary volunteer, Becky Lockwood, global board member and two-time president of the New England Chapter, for “going above and beyond alignment with ASAP’s vision. The New England Chapter continues to deliver excellence in everything they do for ASAP,” said Leonetti. In turn, Lockwood praised the suite of companies who have supported her efforts over the years, saying success would not have been possible without their volunteer time.

Leonetti then announced the winner of two ASAP Content Awards, first to Eli Lilly and Company and David Thompson, CA-AM, chief alliance officer, for their long history of devotion to ASAP from the early days of the association. Eli Lilly and Company's contributions include offering workshops, extensive volunteer time, and Lilly’s consistent editorial content in, and support of, Strategic Alliance Magazine. The second Content Award recognized Xerox and head of corporate alliances and ASAP chairman emeritus Russ Buchanan as well for countless hours of volunteer time “spreading the excellence we have been generating over the years,” and Buchanan’s colleague Candido Arreche, global director of portfolio & management for Xerox worldwide and a black belt in Six Sigma quality methodologies, for his dynamic ASAP workshop teaching style. 

The awards ceremony then announced and honored the finalists and recipients in multiple Alliance Excellence Award categories. 

The Alliance Program Excellence Award is presented to “organizations that have instilled the capability to consistently implement and manage alliance portfolios and demonstrated consistent success of those alliances over time.” This year’s award went to Bayer for its Alliance Capability Enhancement Project, now in its fourth year. The project was lauded for, among other things, its strong emphasis on collaborative capability and cultural development, deal-making and efficiency, new IT infrastructure, processes, and pilot programs. 

The goal was to “move the culture from an inward focus to a partnering mindset” commented Joseph Havrilla, senior vice president and global head of business development and licensing for Bayer Pharmaceuticals. This was accomplished through: 

  • Senior management engagement
  • Creating awareness within the organization and recognition and value of the importance of partnership, including pushing data out showing that a significant part of revenue came from partnership
  • Providing training to give people tools and techniques to manage partner conflicts and timelines

 National Instruments won the Innovative Best Alliance Practice Award, given to a company for “individual alliance management tools or processes that have made an immediate and powerful impact on the organization and/or the discipline of alliance management.” National Instruments received the award for outstanding achievement of a best practice with their innovative and highly accessible partner directory that allows customer to search across the partnering ecosystem and access in-depth profiles of partner capabilities, certifications, ratings, and reviews from partner customers. Implementation included the creation of more advanced search functions, markets, keywords, mapping, and other kinds of tools. As a result, the number of National Instruments partners grew very quickly from 600 to 1,000-plus over short time.

 This year’s Individual Alliance Excellence Award, which is presented for “excellence in planning, implementation, and results of a single alliance. … between two companies or multiple organizations,” went to International SOS and Control Risks. Their nearly seamless alliance has changed the way the market perceives support and assistance of business travelers and expats. Previously, Control Risk was doing pandemic planning, and SOS was doing security planning. The unique co-opetition through formation of a joint venture has resulted in significant benefits for both the companies and their clients in terms of crisis management, most recently during the Ebola crisis, Arab Spring concerns, and AcelorMittal Mining evacuation of 130-plus employees from Liberia.

 “The goal was to eliminate completely any competition, to merge and put them together into one. Obviously not an easy task by any stretch of the imagination,” said John Maltby, director, group strategy of alliances at Control Risks. “We took a year to design this alliance and structured it around distribution.” It works to completely eliminate the competition because “when it boils down, we are trying to operate safely in a difficult environment,” he added. “The alliance balances out quite complementary capabilities.”

 There were no submissions this year for the Alliance for Corporate Social Responsibility Award. The seven-member awards committee is chaired by Annlouise 

Tags:  alliances  ASAP Chapter Excellence Award  ASAP Content Awards  ASAP Guiding Light Award  Bayer  Becky Lockwood  Candido Arreche  collaboration  Control Risks  David Thompson  Eli Lilly & Company  International SOS  Jan Twombly  National Instruments  partner  professional development workshops  Russ Buchanan  The Rhythm of Business  Xerox 

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