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‘Design in Pencil’ as You Integrate Change into the Design Thinking Process, Part II: Alliance Execs Explore the Culture of Creativity from Inspiration to Iteration

Posted By Genevieve Fraser, Friday, September 30, 2016

Throughout the fast-paced workshop, “Using Design Thinking to Drive Speed, Innovation, and Alignment in Partnering” at the Sept. 7-9, 2016 ASAP BioPharma Conference in Boston, ASAP board member Jan Twombly, CSAP, and her partner at The Rhythm of Business, Bentley University business professor Jeff Shuman, Ph.D., CSAP, focused on real-life scenarios biopharma alliance teams encounter, such as partnering with multiple partners, non-asset based alliances, and partnering with other sectors that run on much faster clock speeds than is typically seen in biopharma. 

“If the end goal is ‘getting there’ despite these complexities, whatever ‘getting there’ has been determined to be will set off an exhaustive testing and learning cycle in a high-uncertainty environment,” Shuman explained. For many, this may involve developing new cultural behaviors for the team, referred to as a “culture of creativity.” In the arts and design world, the expectation is that the process involves creation and change, where art forms of whatever medium are created and altered or edited in a series of steps considered native to the process. But because we operate in a more linear environment, one project or task at a time, the need to pivot and change direction may seem like a form of failure. For some, iteration does not come easy, yet it is integral to the ultimate success of a project.

In the “how” of “getting there,” the first step involves clarifying the motivations, perceptions and beliefs of stakeholders in the inspiration phase, engaging in a process of discovery and inquiry to hone in on the core question to answer. This is especially important when working with multiple partners because each team comes with its own set of corporate cultural values and language.

In working with a partner, Twombly emphasized, work within a framework of give-and-get thinking.  “Look at their needs first, what is it you need to do to help them to get what they need, and they will do the same for you. Visualize success and how it is different than what has been done in the past. Then test the idea in a safe situation. Map it out, and role play as a test.”

Drawing from one of the “greatest hits” of business strategy, the workshop focus turned to techniques outlined in Google Ventures’ five-day sprint, which can be used to launch products and build services. The sprint gives a team a shortcut to learning, by starting with a journey or experience map where you map out a problem and pick a place to focus. In the case of biopharma and healthcare, the focus might be on how patients access a new product faster. Following the mapping phase, you brainstorm competing solutions. Next, you move on to making decisions and creating a testable hypothesis. Then comes a prototype, and finally, testing.

“Start with the end. What is the objective? Who are the players?” Jan and Jeff asked the gathering. Jan warned that in brainstorming, most don’t do it well.  It’s important to stay focused on the question and come up with as many ideas as possible and then to prioritize.

Part III of our “Design in Pencil” story will discuss how to build an experience map for teams, grapple with issues that arise, and build iteration into the design thinking process. 

Tags:  alliance teams  ASAP BioPharma Conference  Bentley University  biopharma  healthcare  Jan Twombly  Jeff Shuman  non-asset based alliances  partnering  The Rhythm of Business 

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New ASAP Workshop Offers Toolbox for Adapting to Industry Change with an Agile, Lean Alliance Management Practice

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Thursday, September 8, 2016

“Do the people in your company really understand alliance management?” That was a key question Lynda McDermott, CA-AM, president of EquiPro International, a consulting and coaching company specializing in leadership, team, and business development for Fortune 500 and medium-size companies, posed during the workshop “Lean and Agile: Next Generation Alliance Management” at the 2016 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. 

“No-o-o-o-o!” came the resounding response throughout the room. 

The new instructive workshop is designed to improve the role of alliance managers and familiarize participants with what’s needed today to streamline their alliance management practice. Co-facilitated by Annick De Swaef, CSAP, managing partner of Consensa Consulting, it addresses pressing industry changes, such as the impact of digitalization and cross-industry partnering, through basic questions and key objectives such as: 

  • Identifying that your team’s current alliance best practices and skills are future-
  • Assessing if these practices and skills are lean and agile

 The facilitators focused on the three practices they consider critical to a successful partnership: Framework, team dynamics, staying lean and agile. 

For a successful framework, your team needs to be aware of strategic investment, the alliance lifecycle, value co-creation, and alliance governance, McDermott said.

“So many clients don’t understand alliance governance. It’s about all the people in the room, different experiences, different cultures, and how I can service this team so we can come together in this challenge,” she added. 

Participants at tables were then asked to take part in an interactive game with building blocks, and McDermott linked the unique outcomes of each group to the reality many alliance teams face. “What you think is an alliance may not be what someone else thinks looks like an alliance,” she said. “We are trying to take the burden off of you of being the sole person responsible for the success of the alliance.” 

 “Poor implementation of the governance structure is the No. 1 reason alliances fail, according to the research,” she added. “Never assume that what you know is what everybody else knows. Your team members need to be able to see the big picture and how alliances fit into corporate strategy. It’s important that you provide sufficient learning material and experiences to other members of the team.” 

She then probed another key question: “In general, do you think collaboration is a skill that comes naturally to people?” 

“No-o-o-o!” came the cacophonic response again. 

“Toddlers don’t collaborate. They have sandbox issues,” she responded. “It depends on how you’ve been socialized. And people have their own points of view and agenda. But you can learn how to get better.” 

Fundamental to good team dynamics is the concept of the ladder of trust; sensitivity to cultural differences; a networked organization; and collaborative skills, De Swaef added. Pay attention to spoilers of those healthy team dynamics, such as: 

  • A lack of trust
  • Communication that is not always open, which could be cultural
  • Ill-defined responsibilities
  • Differences in company sizes, power struggles

“An alliance manager is not a therapist. Never assume people will behave collaboratively,” she said. “Make sure you create those skills in a safe setting. Give them training on conflict management from the start. Reward your team. Keep the team dynamics flowing in a positive way. And award problem solving, which is often not done.”

The third critical component is to stay lean and agile, she advised. Lean is about proceeding without wandering around and following up with steps in the shortest possible ways. Agile is as fast as possible, but in an interactive way where you reduce the risk for your organization, she continued. “It’s important to be a shape shifter when you are working with a partner. You need to rejuvenate your alliance practices,” she added, while citing the analogy of the hare and tortoise. 

“There is so much regulation and compliance that the culture creates the tortoise,” said McDermott of the challenges that arise particularly in life sciences and health care. “The question becomes, are you so tied to that that you can’t become agile” she continued. 

“When doing alliances with IT, not many companies are turtles. Those kinds of alliances are coming into the [biopharma] industries,” De Swaef noted. “My way or the highway is over.” 

Empower your teams, map out processes, and figure out where they can be more efficient, innovative, and creative. “You are not a therapist, but you are a change facilitator,” observed McDermott. “Think about the least developed competency or best practice in your organization, and then go to the ASAP sessions and find an answer. ASAP is really in the process of trying to connect with you to develop your teams and provide training so you can make sure your teams can learn and connect with each other with a lean and agile mindset.” 

Tags:  alliance manager  Annick De Swaef  biopharma  communication  Consensa Consulting  EquiPro International  Framework  governance  IT  ladder of trust  life sciences  Lynda McDermott  staying lean and agile  team dynamics 

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High Tech, Biopharma, and Academia: The Three-Legged Stool of Many of Today’s Collaborations

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Thursday, September 8, 2016

Cross-industry partnering is on the rise, and a sturdy three-legged stool is fast becoming fundamental furniture in the world of collaboration. The hot topic of collaboration between high tech, biopharma, and academia is on stage Sept. 8 at the ASAP 2016 BioPharma Conference “New Faces, Unexpected Places in Partnering: The Foresight to Lead, the Foundation to Succeed” being held at the Revere Hotel, Boston Common, Boston. In this session, three panelists from diverse backgrounds discuss the trend of “Cross-Industry Partnerships: Managing Alliances between Biopharma and High-Tech Partners”: Chaitanya K. Dahagam, MD, global partner innovation executive at IBM Watson Health, who has managed collaborations for IBM; Rachel Sha, transactions lead, business development & licensing, at Sanofi, who has managed a collaboration with Google; Juliana Leung, director, strategic alliances, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, who has overseen collaborations with Intel, Google, and IBM. I spoke with session moderator Prakash Purohit, managing partner at Raaya Biopharma Consulting, about the thrust of the panel discussion. 

What is the focus of the panel discussions?

They are giving their perspective on how they approached different issues or aspects of cross-industry alliances, how they resolved their questions and concerns, and their approaches in doing so. They describe the metrics and tools they used to resolve these issues. For example, if you take an alliance between high tech and academic institutions, some of the challenges that might crop up are the alignment of goals. Each institution may have their own set of goals for innovation, licensing, fund raising, and publications. So how do they align these goals, especially with high tech, because they are looking to bring to market in the short term, and how will they manage those alliances? We will discuss IBM’s collaborations with healthcare and biopharma: What kinds of challenges did they find in these alliances with various entities, such as clinicians, patients, technical personnel, and consumers? 

Why is this topic of such interest now in biopharma?

This is a brand new session. Recently there has been a recognition of the benefits of developing these alliances for these industries, because they provide clinicians, patients, and doctors with new tools for managing data and genomic data. Considerable growth in the amount of that data has necessitated building cross-industry partnerships in healthcare and biopharma with companies such as IBM, Google, Oracle, and Microsoft. And because today’s data is digital, high tech companies are developing new tools for data analysis for the healthcare industry. 

Where does academia fit in?

We did an ASAP Webinar in May to address the challenges of academia and biopharma alliances. One reason collaborations with academia are happening more frequently is that the tremendous amount of growth of data through genomic or clinical research has become a daunting challenge for both academia and hospitals. High tech is continuously evolving with new software programs, technology, etc. Those collaborations tend to be short because of the dynamics and changes. Biopharma and bioresearch tend to be long-term collaborations because understanding the mechanisms or functions is complicated. It takes time to understand how processes happen. Human trials tend to take place over a long period, some eight to 10 years to go to market. Academic research can happen in a few years of collaboration or it can involve clinical trials with long processes and numerous stagesoften with government funding. That is another way academic institutions come into the picture. They might be involved in a screening process that can be used to create new sets of molecules. Industry partners can then test a number of compounds using that tool for screening purposes. They can determine what works and provide the results to the biopharma industry. 

Tags:  alliances  analytical tools  biopharma  Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard  Chaitanya Dahagam  collaborations  cross-industry alliances  Google  healthcare  IBM  IBM Watson  Juianna Leung  managing data  Microsoft  Oracle  Prakash Purohit  Rachel Sha  Sanofi 

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A Swim in ‘The Aquarium:’ Your Chance to Collectively Shift the Thought Currents of Alliance Management

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Wednesday, September 7, 2016

ASAP Summit and Conference participants spend a lot of time sitting, listening, and absorbing the most cutting-edge information in the industry. Now it’s your turn to be a speaker, guide, and thought provoker in a new session format at this year’s 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. The Aquarium session encourages attendees to dive in and wrestle with the hot topics of the day in a creative, ASAP-designed version of the “fishbowl” learning activity. Moderated by Jan Twombly, CSAP, president of The Rhythm of Business, the session will start with a lively exchange on key topics from several experts in the field of alliance management as the audience peers into the tank. There will be three 25-minute rounds during the session, each with a separate topic. Participants will be allowed to “tap in” and move the conversation in new directions. When someone comes onto the stage, one person must exit. 

“We’re not sticking to a script; each of these topic discussion could branch off,” explains Ann Johnson, ASAP’s content manager, who has developed the concept as an innovation ASAP programming.  “That’s the beauty of nontraditional session structure like this: It allows for free-space that often results in exploring topics in real and meaningful ways … through many different lenses. It encourages engagement, peer-to-peer sharing, and participation, which is what our members want. There are no right answers to these topics, and in fact we want to hear diverse viewpoints,” Johnson adds. “This is a way to hear from the voices we often don’t hear from.” 

It’s an opportunity to become a member of the “school” in a fast-paced, collective swim that is geared to leave participants with a more creative and innovative perspective on the potential for change in alliance management. The following preselected topics are designed to jumpstart the conversation:

Topic #1: Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way

True or False: The alliance management profession in biopharma has the respect, skills, and ability to lead companies into partnering with different types of partners, across industries, and in new models.

Topic #2: Handle with Care: Managing the C-Suite

How do you ensure executive leadership (C-Suite) is appropriately involved in an alliance, without giving them a seat at the table, especially when the alliance is between a small, innovative company and big pharma?

Topic #3: Breadth or Depth – What Does it Take to Succeed?

Which qualities will be more highly valued in alliance managers as the industry adapts to digitization, outcomes based pricing, and an increasing number and variety of partnerships: broad business and technical skills and experience or deep pharmaceutical industry knowledge and experience?

As the conversation evolves, participants will then get a chance to bump the following thought leaders and senior-level partnering executives off the stage: 

  • Jeremy Ahouse, CSAP, PhD, Executive Director Alliance Management, Celgene
  • Harm-Jan Borgeld, CSAP, PhD, Head Alliance Management, Merck Serono 
  • David Burnham, Senior Vice President Strategic Alliance Management, INC Research
  • Mark Coflin, CSAP, Senior Director Alliance Management Global BD&L, Baxalta US Inc.  
  • Cathy Connelly, CA-AM, Head, Alliance Management, Sanofi Genzyme
  • Andy Hull, CA-AM, Vice President, Global Alliances, Takeda Pharmaceuticals
  • Katherine Kendrick, CA-AM; Director of Alliance Management, Elanco, Eli Lilly and Company
  • Brooke A. Paige, CSAP, Staff Vice President, Strategic Initiatives, HealthCore, Inc.
  • Petra Sansom, Sr. Director, Alliance Management, Vertex Pharmaceuticals
  • Mary Jo Struttmann, CA-AM; Executive Director, Global Alliance Management, Astellas Pharma Inc.
  • Michael Sumpter, Head of Alliance Management, Servier Monde
  • David S. Thompson, CA-AM, Chief Alliance Officer, Eli Lilly and Company
  • Steve Twait, CSAP, VP, Alliance and Integration Management, AstraZeneca

 Photo credit:  MB Photo Credit: W. Chappell

Tags:  alliance management  alliance managers  Ann Johnson  Astellas  AstraZeneca  biopharma  c-suite  David Thompson  Eli Lilly and Company  Jan Twombly  Mary Jo Struttmann  Michael Sumpter  partnerships  Petra Sansom  pharma  Servier Monde  Steve Twait  The Rhythm of Business  Vertex Pharmaceuticals 

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What’s Brewing in the 2016 Biopharma Conference Beaker? | Part 1

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Tuesday, July 19, 2016

In a recent interview, ASAP CEO Mike Leonetti, CSAP, provided a sampling of what’s to come at the 2016 ASAP BioPharma Conference. He offered insights into the changing landscape for partnerships and how alliance managers and others need to adapt, as well as a preview of speakers and cutting edge sessions and workshops.  

Why is this a must-attend conference for alliance managers, CEOs, and others working in the biopharma, healthcare, and life sciences industries? 

Partnership management is changing. If they are performing their jobs the same way they were two years ago, they likely are leaving money on the table or missing great new opportunities. This year’s conference offers programming to learn how to partner in new environments, which includes tech, academic, and healthcare system partnerships. An ongoing message of the conference is to understand that the ecosystem is getting larger, and their enterprise now represents their company, partners, and the entire healthcare system. As alliance managers, we can no longer be comfortable defining our box as an asset partnership and staying there. We will limit our creation of value in our companies unless we harvest the enterprise. 

What’s new at this year’s conference? 

We are going to talk a lot about the changes in partnerships across the industry. We are not only going to talk about biopharma and healthcare, we are going to hear from people on the tech side of ASAP regarding what’s important and best practices when partnering with tech. It will provide key opportunities to learn about tech companies and how they partner. If biopharma and healthcare are going to partner with tech, each of these industries needs to have a clear understanding of the others’ expectations. 

What timely message is Dr. Samuel Nussbaum, strategic consultant at EGB Advisors, Inc., likely to provide during his keynote address? 

The keynote, “Healing the U.S. Health Care System: Collaboration is Essential,” which is scheduled for the afternoon of Wed., Sept. 7, will tie directly into our theme. Sam is going to talk about his background and expertise with the impact of public policy on healthcare systems and healthcare reform. He will talk a lot about how important collaboration is to finding a solution to our system crisis; my guess is he may try to give examples of how manufacturers, payers, policy experts, academics, and anybody else in the healthcare system can collaborate and partner to overcome major obstacles regarding healthcare reform. 

Who will give the plenary address? 

Our plenary will be given by Stéphane Thiroloix, CEO of Mayoly Spindler, on the morning of Thurs., Sept. 8. Mayoly Spindler is an emerging family-owned, independent French company, originally founded by a husband-and-wife team working to provide gastroenterology and dermatology healthcare solutions. Stéphane joined as managing director in 2014, and he has lots of leadership experience from working in multiple biopharma executive roles before joining Mayoly Spindler. He is an advocate who understands what it takes to be successful in a partnership and basically created the partnership management function in his last two roles.  He will share what a CEO’s expectations are for alliance management success. 

To view the program and download brochure information, go to www. asapweb.org/biopharma.

Tags:  alliance management  biopharma  collaborate  Dr. Samuel Nussbaum  ecosystem  healthcare  healthcare reform  Mayoly Spindler  partner  partnership  Partnership management  Partnerships  public policy  Stéphane Thiroloix  tech 

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