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External Collaboration for Innovation: Bayer’s Key Leadership Role in Alliance Management

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Wednesday, September 13, 2017

External collaboration for innovation has become a red-hot topic in the pharmaceutical industryand a critical practice for success. It was also the central topic during the leadership forum at the 2017 ASAP BioPharma Conference, “Accelerating Life Science Collaborations: Better Partnering, Better Outcomes,” Sept. 13-15 at the Royal Sonesta Boston, Cambridge, Mass. Chandra Ramanathan, Ph.D, vice president & head of the East Coast Innovation Center at Bayer, kicked off the discussion with an overview of Bayer’s approach.  

Call it “East meets West.” Ramanathan’s discussion of building innovative product portfolios through external crowd sourcing and other collaboration approaches occurred on the heels of a dynamic leadership spotlight talk last spring at the ASAP Global Alliance Summit in San Diego, California, “Accelerating Innovation: Partnering Early and Often in the New Era of Cooperation,” led by Chris Haskellhead of the West Coast Innovation Center at Bayer, tucked away in San Francisco’s Mission Bay—who is responsible for Bayer’s CoLaboratory. Following is a recap of ASAP Media’s conversation with Haskell and coverage of his conference session in the spring.

Bayer’s West Coast CoLaborator space is a subdivision of the German healthcare company, which serves as an incubator for fledgling startups working on promising biotech projects. Haskell explained the impetus for Bayer’s focus on external collaboration: Pharma was taking a hard look at its business models, the challenges with the pace of innovation, and how to adapt to and work with the outside world.  “The pharma industry is a failure business. We have to put lots of drugs out to get one that gets to market,” Haskell notes. “We’re spending $2.6 billion per drug to get to marketthat’s an imbalance you sometimes can’t make up with a blockbuster,” he added.

Bayer wanted to harness the advantages of the life sciences ecosystem in Mission Bay, San Francisco, through local collaborations in early-stage research. So in 2012, it opened the CoLaborator, an incubator lab space located at Bayer’s US Innovation Center, which houses the US Science Huba scientific team actively identifying partnerships with academic and biotech researchers. The CoLaborator includes an open lab layout that is designed for a quick start of research activities. The 6,000 square foot lab fosters collaboration among companies who are emerging innovative life science firms. Bayer often lends support through financing some of the project and/or offering access to the expertise of their staff.

“Pharma companies haven’t done great with incubators—it’s hard to innovate in a short length of time. … But now there are 100 startups within 10 minute walk of my office that weren’t there 10 years ago—that’s thanks to incubators,” he said. “The CoLaborator structure isn’t so much experimentation. If it works, everybody wins. If doesn’t, you can’t sell it anywhere else.”

Their partners are selected because their innovations have the potential to be aligned with Bayer internal projects.  But it’s not a requirement that the work of these life science companies matches Bayer’s needs. The CoLaborator tenants are highly independent. The model relies on the flexibility of “strategic leasing,” allowing Bayer to work with these emerging companies that may not be immediate partners. At the same time, there is potential to build further partnership agreements that would share risks and rewards for both partners. Bayer looks for technologies or therapeutics that could have a major impact on its ability to improve the research process. “We consider the future growth and potential of these companies to see how our needs and the product will link together. Within the CoLaborator, the standard lease is two years, but we do not have a fixed timeline," he added.

Early innovators—it’s different than later-stage licensing. Developing trust and the tools you use are different, he then explained. “One thing we did to improve trust was to put people where the partners are—this is the structure of our global innovation and alliances group. We created innovation centers in five different regions to complement the core development in Germany,” he added.

“We hear a lot about trust—the pharma company is suffering a bit of a trust crisis” and politicians and others are certainly beating the drum against big pharma, he noted.  “You really have to work on this well before the deal comes into play and ask, ‘What does an innovator want, and what can you do to help them build trust’” to achieve that goal? He then provided several key suggestions to establish this foundation:

  • When working with smaller partners, be clear what you can’t do, and why you need them.
  • Acknowledge the speed differential when you are moving at different speeds.
  • Create a clear joint definition of success, which is often an iterative process, and then de-risk the process.
  • Have a local interpreter when cultures and processes merge.
  • Run joint test projectswhen they crash and burn, view it not as failure but a   learning opportunity.

“One of the challenges alliance managers have in early innovation partnering is the belief that it’s “not in my job description,” he concluded. “Trust yourself, and keep sticking with it because you will have wins in the end. Know who to go to, de-risk, and build a story. Finally, simple contracts and dialogue risk info leaks. That could happen. This is where trust comes in. … Stay in touch, create support letters for grants, make your network their network. This is not 2007. Get over it. They will come to you first if you’ve built that trust. What has Bayer created? Successive leadership is driving this.”

Stay tuned for more coverage of this topic from the 2017 ASAP BioPharma Conference.

Tags:  Bayer  Chandra Ramanathan  Chris Haskell  CoLaboratory  Innovation  Leadership  network  pharma  startups  strategic leasing 

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NetApp’s Trackable System Garners Best Practice Accolades at ASAP Alliance Excellence Awards Ceremony: A Q&A with Ron Long, CSAP

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Monday, April 3, 2017
Updated: Friday, March 31, 2017

Finding new ways to implement alliance management tools and processes is valuable for the entire ASAP community because it sets a new standard for best practiceswhether in the area of measurement, communications, conflict resolution, training, or other applications. This year the Innovative Best Alliance Practice Award was presented to NetApp at the 2017 ASAP Global Alliance Summit, “Profit, Innovation, and Value for the Part­nering Enterprise,” Feb. 28–March 2, at the San Diego Marriott Mission Valley, San Diego, California. This award highlights how NetApp has strived for exemplary partnering tools and practices. While many companies still try to manage partnering processes through spreadsheets, NetApp invested in technology and governance with stringent trackable processes that produce measurable results for its alliance co-selling program. The program assists NetApp and partner representatives proactively involved in account mapping, account planning, and pipeline management in the most difficult aspects of go-to-market alliances. The system also provides detailed reports on joint co-selling activities. I spoke with Ron Long, alliance director, who explained the progressive change undertaken that now acts as a valuable model for other companies tracking multi-alliance details.

What challenge were you problem-solving?
We were problem-solving the lack of ability to effectively manage and measure multi-alliance sales engagements. The challenge had to do with multiple partners pursing the same sale and having an impact when closing the deal.  The question was, “How does a system that is originated toward single-product sales measure revenue across several different companies?” We also wanted to improve the ability of teams to collaborate across multiple companies.

Describe some of the benefits of the new trackable system?
We were able to track investments and results, and that resulted in executive alliance growth. We also were able to track results for paying out commissions to salespeople. It was the impetus for growth and investment. When we could track those alliance partners, we had tangible data we could take to management and ask for investments for growth. Revenues have clearly improved through measurement and collaboration. We also use the system to set up sales pursuits to get partners to collaborate. This type of a problem is across multiple alliances, not just technology. Because it’s a problem that exists across multiple industries, it’s applicable outside the tech industry.

How did the new system evolve?
Two years ago, we started with some self-design, but we modified the sales tracking systems already in place with cloud technology, such as Salesforce.com. It’s adaptable because it’s a cloud-based service, and you can link in different information sources in the cloud. It’s easier to link that in than to do an in-house modification system. For governance, we do quarterly APRs, and each of the alliance leads added tracking of their progress, pipeline, revenue, investments, and training to ensure that what we’re doing plan-wise meets with results.

What ASAP tools and practices were useful when designing the system?
The greatest benefit came from ASAP Summit sessions that had to do with the overall management of multi-alliances. Also, we used several ASAP best practices as guideposts.

Tags:  alliance management  Alliance Managers  collaboration  governance  innovation  Innovative Best Alliance Practice Award  multi-alliances  multiple alliances  NetApp  partners  Ron Long 

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Changing Corporate Culture To Create Social Impact: A Plenary by Céline Schillinger

Posted By Genevieve Fraser, Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Updated: Friday, March 17, 2017

“I want to change the way organizations work. I want to make business more humane and more relevant to what employees, customers, and stakeholders at large want today,” remarked Céline Schillinger, head of innovation and engagement at the  French-based vaccine manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur during the first of four ASAP plenary sessions at the 2017 ASAP Global Alliance Summit, “Profit, Innovation, and Value for the Partnering Enterprise,” at the San Diego Marriott Mission Valley, San Diego, California.

We can’t stick to 20th century tools and mindset to create value today. They’re not adapted to our complex, globalized and interconnected world. They’re obsolete,” Schillinger emphasized during her talk “Comfort in Discomfort: Leadership and Innovation from an Uncommon Alliance.”

Schillinger has been recognized with prestigious awards many times over for her innovative engagement initiatives in the pharma world, and specifically, for her role in the successful launch of the first vaccine developed to combat dengue fever. The plenary focused on her life as an international business-oriented engagement professional with an expertise in social technologies, marketing, communications, and human relations.  She explained how she developed a social movement to create change in a very conservative and hierarchical company environment.

In short, Schillinger has succeeded to make change as a corporate activist in a top-down, male dominated system. “I’ve started to change this in my own organization with corporate activism. There’s considerable energy when you tap into a broader pool of knowledge, common purpose, social media, and co-creation. I want to expand this work within my organization and beyond,” she continued.

When Sanofi Pasteur was preparing to roll out their groundbreaking dengue fever vaccine, they were confident that a tried-and-true approach to launch the product would succeed and the vaccine would sell itself. After all, dengue fever is a greatly feared, potentially serious disease delivered through the bite of a mosquito. Its potential victims are the 2.5 billion people living in Latin America and Asia as well as the southern part of the United States. Though the disease was virtually nonexistent 50 years ago, it’s now widespread. There’s no prevention and no cure. When outbreaks occur each year, half-a-million people with severe dengue are hospitalized. Some recover, but thousands die.

With a break-through vaccine to combat dengue fever about to be approved and commercially available in several countries, executives at Sanofi strongly resisted Schillinger’s radical outreach approach. Communication campaigns are the usual response for many governments in affected countries. They often try community-based approaches, in line with the World Health Organization’s recommendations. But their success is limited. The question was, how might this be made more effective as well as more efficient?

For Schillinger, the answer was obvious: “Why not use social media?” she asked. Social media could be used to inform people about the new way to fight dengue fever, but equally important, to connect people to a whole network potentially impacted by an outbreak. Through social media, people “connect and exchange with trusted interlocutors who derive their credibility from what they do, not just what they say. This is a transformative shift for communication and activism, and this has huge consequences for healthcare,” she stated.

Social networks are not just an additional tool for pushing information, she argued. Through social media such as Twitter and Facebook, as well as websites and chat rooms, users contribute their own experiences. They check facts and demand feedback. It’s much more than communication, she said. Eventually, she convinced the executives at Sanofi Pasteur, and she was proved right. Her initiative, the Break Dengue Community, garnered over 250,000 Facebook followers in its first year and enlisted over 4,000 volunteers globally to assist in the distribution and administration of vaccines. 

This approach may not be for the faint of heart, but “health organizations and companies have to adapt to this new interaction model,” she concluded.

Schillinger has been recognized as a 40 Women to Watch Honoree (2016) and received the Gold Quill Award (2016), Employee Engagement Award (2016), Most Impactful Emerging Initiative (2015), and Best Use of Social Media for Healthcare (2014) and was honored as the French Businesswoman of the year (2013).  She is also a TEDx speaker https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CMDKkTuLUHw, blogger, and charter Member of Change Agents Worldwide.  

Tags:  Alliances  Break Dengue  Céline Schillinger  Collaboration  dengue fever  Emerging Initiative  Engagement  Facebook  French Businesswoman  Impactful  Innovation  Partnering  Sanofi Pasteur  Social Impact  Social Media  Twitter 

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New ASAP Corporate Member, DSM, Evolved From Coal Mining to Science-Based Company with Innovation, Sustainability, and Partnering at its Core

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Friday, March 17, 2017

 DSM is a global science-based company with a focus on health, nutrition, and materials. Headquartered in the Netherlands, it has undergone a vast transformation from a coal mining entity in the early 20th century to a diverse, innovative company with the core value of sustainably. Partnering via strategic alliances and joint ventures has been critical to DSM’s growth, says Anoop Nathwani, director of excellence in strategic alliances/joint Ventures at DSM’s Innovation Centre. Nathwani provided the following information about DSM.

What inspired your team to join ASAP at the corporate level?
DSM has a number of successful joint ventures and strategic alliances, such as with Novozymes and Syngenta, to name a few. Industry dynamics are changing, and it recognizes the need to partner more extensively and start to ensure that correct partnering capabilities, skills, and competencies are more widely and consistently used to ensure partner successful in developing new, groundbreaking solutions for the markets it serves. In order to achieve this excellence in alliances and partnerships, DSM is looking to learn from ASAP’s best practices and adopt the appropriate tools and skills that are proven with companies showing consistent alliance success. DSM also saw the opportunity to be able to “tap into” thought leaders and networks with like-minded individuals to share best practices and learn from failures from a community of alliance professionals.

How else do you anticipate ASAP benefitting you and your team?

By joining ASAP, we can leverage the resources, tools, frameworks, and knowledge base with real, hands-on case studies of successful alliances that ASAP and the member community can offer. This can help those involved in driving strategic alliances, JVs, and partnerships to consistently achieve success in their partnering activity, versus the high failure rates that we see happening in partnering in general. The ultimate benefit is to see DSM achieve its growth objectives through successful partnering.

How has DSM evolved during a critical time of change in tech?
The evolution is simply phenomenal. Rather than trying to paraphrase this, please view this link to the company Website that explains that evolutional growth: 
https://www.dsm.com/corporate/about/our-company/dsm-history.html The link also talks about some of our many partnerships. Our alliance with Novozymes is a feed enzymes alliance. Combining DSM's and Novozymes' vast resources provides access to innovative products that are setting new industry standards and reaping exciting business results: http://www.dsm.com/markets/anh/en_US/products/products-feedenzymes/products_feed_enzymes_alliance.html. In terms of the alliance with Syngenta, DSM and Syngenta are developing and commercializing biological solutions for agriculture.  The alliance recently announced an R&D partnership to develop microbial-based agricultural solutions, including bio-controls, bio-pesticides and bio-stimulants. The companies aim to jointly commercialize solutions from their discovery platform. The collaboration aims to accelerate the delivery of a broad spectrum of products based on naturally occurring microorganisms for pre- and post-harvest applications around the world. These organisms can protect crops from pests and diseases, combat resistance, and enhance plant productivity and fertility.

Tags:  alliance  alliance teams  collaboration  DSM  Innovation  joint ventures  Novozymes  Partnering  resources  Sustainability  Syngenta  tools 

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On the Cusp of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, How Agile is Your Alliance?

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Tuesday, February 28, 2017
Updated: Monday, February 27, 2017

Being brittle during a time of industry change can break a fragile allianceand even a business. Agility is key to surviving disruption, especially when a major shift is taking place to a new industrial age. Find out how your company can adapt and weather the change at the session “Agile Alliances: Catalyst for the Next Industrial Age,” as part of the 2017 Global Alliance Summit, “Profit, Innovation, and Value for the Part­nering Enterprise,” held Feb. 28-March 2 at the San Diego Marriott Mission Valley, San Diego, Calif. USA. The session will be moderated by Ann E. Trampas, CSAP, of the University of Illinois—Chicago, with panelists Anthony DeSpirito, CSAP, Schneider Electrics; Gaye Clemson, Globalinkage Consulting; Michael Young, Klick Health; Philip Sack, CSAP, Asia Collaborative Business Community. Sack provided these insights into the session during a recent interview.

How should companies prepare for the fourth industrial revolution with the increase in multi-partnering?

If we accept that the external drivers of global change are going to continue challenging organizationsslow economic growth, digital disruption, globalization, geopolitical uncertainty, speed of change, new nimble competitors, etc.then there is great pressure on organizations to become more agile, innovate, and continually adapt and change. However, this requires additional strategic thinking from previous approaches of value-chain efficiencies, market regulations (barriers to entry), improving costs management, and competitive positioning (differentiation). Success now requires greater thinking about how to continue driving new innovations, customer centricity (creating value), enhancing collaboration (external, internal), and new or adjacent market positions while simultaneously improving performance. That is no mean feat!

Why is it essential for partnerships to become more agilefaster, lighter, more flexible?

There is an increasing appetite for organizations to engage in more strategic collaboration and alliance partnerships, in part driven by the global changes affecting many organizations. Managed effectively, with appropriate support and investment, these relationships assist organizations to enhance their agility, market responsiveness, and new innovation efforts. Many organizations are looking at their strategic partners and networks of partners as a faster way of achieving these objectives rather than typical M&A (buying), or organic internal development (building). This “need to speed” implies that new collaborations and alliances focus on quickly assembling and disassembling around customer/market requirements, delivering rapid prototyping and development capabilities, and operating comfortably within complex and ambiguous situations.

How can alliance managers make their collaborations more agile and successful?

A good place to start would be to review existing collaborations and strategic alliances and how they support achieving these objectives, i.e., new innovations, co-creation capability, improving customer centricity, new products and service solutions, and incremental go-to-market approaches. This open dialogue provides an opportunity to review the original focus and strategic intent of the alliance, what is now required, and where the next evolution of the relationship needs to take place. However creating new alliance relationships that support these new strategic imperatives will involve taking a slightly different approach. Given that these strategic imperatives address significant challenges facing the organization, a firm-wide approach is required for success. The alliance management function has a natural orientation towards strategy, firm-wide thinking, facilitation, collaboration, and ecosystem orchestration. Hence, it should be in the perfect position to lead efforts to create cross-functional teams that would focus on creating, supporting, and delivering to these imperatives. These teams would include members from executive, strategy, research and development, marketing, and human resources and have a strong focus on entrepreneurial action and creation—in effect, a start-up way of thinking within the organization.

 
Is there anything specific to Asia that you think readers might want to know to improve their alliances with Asian companies?

Similar large-scale issues and challenges are being addressed by organizations across Asia as they are worldwide. Engaging within this area is quite exciting and challenging and should be done in a considered and measured approach. There certainly is a strong emphasis on relationships, a natural entrepreneurial spirit, and orientation to deal making. This requires addressing opportunities and making alliances aware of the various local and cultural contexts. This often takes quite some time to evolve. The key message is to do some research, find some local support, and be patient.

Tags:  alliance  alliance partnerships  Ann E. Trampas  Anthony DeSpirito  collaborations  cross-functional teams  cultural  ecosystem orchestration  Gaye Clemson  innovation  Michael Young  network  partners  Philip Sack 

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