Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Building connections that can weather the storm

In the June issue of PRWeek, Maril MacDonald of Chicago's Gagen MacDonald Communications offers her view on the forces that are reshaping today’s communications landscape -- and her position on how our profession must evolve to answer these challenges.

"We’ve all seen, heard, and probably experienced lessons of the last decade. We know that the best honed talking points can’t prevent the reality of a damaging YouTube video," MacDonald wrote. "We know that seamless press conferences can’t prevent a disgruntled former employee’s blog. And we know that no “all employee” email can eliminate the threats of web-spread innuendo or the rants of a cable TV pundit. In essence, we’ve lost a great deal of our ability to control “the message.”

So what can we do?

"We cannot control what our employees and customers hear about us. Each day, they are besieged by dizzying torrents of information. These torrents threaten our reputations and our brands." So MacDonald advises, "In this stormy climate, we need to focus on stimulating durable emotional connections with our key constituents. Emotional connections are forged by experiences — they are visceral, rather than cognitive in nature."

MacDonald concludes, "As Corporate Communications leaders, internal communications practitioners, PR professionals or anywhere in between, our focus needs to be less on what our audiences hear and when they hear it: it needs to be on what defines their experience with us. Future success is not about message dissemination — that market is quickly saturating. Future success is about building connections that can weather the storm. The question can’t just be 'what do we want them to know?' It has to be just as much about what we want them to feel."

We at Stinson Brand Innovation agree -- that attitude is an exponential factor in the success of a brand.

(Thanks to John Bock of Gagen MacDonald for sharing this article with us.)

Monday, June 29, 2009

Innovation in mass transit

Chicago-based Commuter Advertising is doing its part to aid the nationwide mass transit budget crisis by delivering patented, short-form audio advertisements between stop announcements on buses and trains.

For every 10 stops, commuters listen to one 10-second ad that plays over the PA system and view text scrolls on LED screens. Ads are tailored to specific stops so that the information is relevant to the riders.

Commuter Advertising uses existing equipment so there is no cost to mass transit, and ad profits are shared. This innovative concept presents a way for mass transit companies to prevent layoffs, service cuts, and fare increases.

On April 30, the Champaign-Urbana Metro Transit District became the first system in Illinois to adopt Computer Advertising technology, doubling the company's reach to 21 million riders.

Friday, June 26, 2009

12 workplace phrases you probably don't know...but should

It's more than industry jargon - it's the vocabulary of the workplace. And, you had better learn to communicate using the latest buzzwords and TLAs (three-letter abbreviations).

Christine Lambden and Casey Conner, authors of "Everyday Practices of Extraordinary Consultants," have compiled a list of 12 of the hottest workplace phrases that everyone should know:
  1. Boil the ocean: the scope is too big to do in one project.
  2. Drink the Kool-Aid: to enthusiastically perform a task or follow a leader without knowing how this may affect you or to buy the "company line."
  3. Going native: This is what happens when a consultant stops acting like a consultant and starts thinking he is part of the client organization.
  4. Greenfield instance: When a brand-new application is installed, it is a "greenfield instance" until the consultants and programmers go in and start messing it up with configurations and code changes.
  5. Holistic: A big-picture view or a solution that includes upstream and downstream impacts. Whatever it means, it's a great consulting word and we use it a lot.
  6. Paradigm: The perspective or view you have of a situation.
  7. Running in parallel: Processing normal operating data through two systems simultaneously to compare performance and output.
  8. Straw man: First draft of a solution or proposal intended to provoke discussion. It is an object, document, person or argument that temporarily stands in for and is intended to be "knocked down" by something more substantial.
  9. Talking to the dog: Thinking it through by talking it through out loud.
  10. Use case: A particular circumstance or situation in which the solution would be used.
  11. White paper: An authoritative report or guide published to share technical or business information, particularly related to solving common problems.
  12. Wireframe: Simple pictures that show a proposed user interface.
Christine Lambden and Casey Conner teach consulting and interviewing skills workshops and seminars around the world. After a combined total of more than 30 years in the consulting industry, they now bring their accumulated wisdom to business professionals in various industries. For complete bios, visit www.ConsultantingStance.com/about.htm.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Creative ads - inspiration for designers

Recently, I ran across a collection of some 60+ ads that exemplify creativity and originality. These are not your typical ads that you find in everyday media - they remain imprinted in the minds of the viewers.

If you would like to view the entire collection, go to WebAir blog.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Personalized medicine continues to advance -- new cancer treatment offerings from Champions Biotechnology

A couple of years ago, we at Stinson Brand Innovation were developing a Strategic GPS® for a client's new diagnostic instrument. A pivotal part of the insight was a vision of "personalized therapy." And we're seeing it come to reality more and more every day.

Champions Biotechnology, a company offering personalized cancer data for patients and physicians, has launched a new website: www.personalizedcancertreatment.com. The website details Champions' personalized treatment offerings for cancer patients and their physicians, including tumorgrafts, vaccines and expert oncology panels – all catering to individual cancer patients.

“Champions offers a more precise approach to cancer treatment, because every patient's cancer is unique,” said Doug Burkett, president of Champions Biotechnology, in a statement. “In partnership with one's physician, Champions optimizes a given treatment plan's potential for success and maximizes the patient's most precious resource: time.” The personalized tumorgraft, for example, uses a sample of the patient's living tumor in order to test treatment options “through simultaneous evaluation of the effectiveness of numerous anti-cancer drugs.”

The company is currently developing several of its own oncology products, but also has partnered with other biotechs including Centocor, ImClone, Concordia Pharmaceuticals and Gradalis. Personalized vaccines utilize tumorgrafts to predict a patient's immune system response to a given treatment.

If you're seeing other examples of personalized medicine, please share them in the comments below.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

115th anniversary of the modern Olympic Movement - celebrate "Olympic Day" in Chicago!

This year marks the 115th anniversary of the birth of the modern Olympic Movement. Each year on June 23, the world honors the enduring Olympic spirit by staging events and celebrations. The entire country has rallied around Chicago’s bid and the prospect of bringing the Games back to the U.S. in 2016.

Nearly 150 U.S. cities will be showing their support for the Movement with festivities featuring athletic events and appearances by Olympians and Paralympians.

To view details about Olympic Day events in Chicago, click here.
  • Youth Fun Runs
  • Two 3-Mile Fun Runs
  • Celebration Party @ North Avenue Beach - Free Concert by the Freddy Jones Band and Elevation
  • Olympic Day @ White Sox - Dodgers Game

Monday, June 22, 2009

3 great case studies from Tokyo agency Hakuhodo

When we were in Tokyo recently, we had the opportunity to visit an agency named Hakuhodo. Their principal and creative director, Kentaro Kimura, share with us 3 great case studies. You can click on each one to view the video.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

4 criteria and 2 steps to visualize and affirm your desired outcomes: a comprehensive approach from Jack Canfield

You have an awesome power that most of us have never been taught to use effectively.

Elite athletes use it. The super rich use it. And peak performers in all fields now use it. That power is called visualization. The daily practice of visualizing your dreams as already complete can rapidly accelerate your achievement of those dreams, goals and ambitions.

Recently, Jack Canfield shared with me 4 things accomplished by the visualization of your goals and desires:
  1. It activates your creative subconscious which will start generating creative ideas to achieve your goal.
  2. It programs your brain to more readily perceive and recognize the resources you will need to achieve your dreams.
  3. It activates the law of attraction, thereby drawing into your life the people, resources, and circumstances you will need to achieve your goals.
  4. It builds your internal motivation to take the necessary actions to achieve your dreams.
Visualization is really quite simple. You sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes and imagine -- in as vivid detail as you can -- what you would be looking at if the dream you have were already realized. Imagine being inside of yourself, looking out through your eyes at the ideal result.

Mental Rehearsal

Athletes call this visualization process "mental rehearsal," and they have been using it since the 1960s when we learned about it from the Russians.

All you have to do is set aside a few minutes a day. The best times are when you first wake up, after meditation or prayer, and right before you go to bed. These are the times you are most relaxed.

Go through the following three steps recommended by Jack:

STEP 1. Imagine sitting in a movie theater, the lights dim, and then the movie starts. It is a movie of you doing perfectly whatever it is that you want to do better. See as much detail as you can create, including your clothing, the expression on your face, small body movements, the environment and any other people that might be around. Add in any sounds you would be hearing -- traffic, music, other people talking, cheering. And finally, recreate in your body any feelings you think you would be experiencing as you engage in this activity.

STEP 2. Get out of your chair, walk up to the screen, open a door in the screen and enter into the movie. Now experience the whole thing again from inside of yourself, looking out through your eyes. This is called an "embodied image" rather than a "distant image." It will deepen the impact of the experience. Again, see everything in vivid detail, hear the sounds you would hear, and feel the feelings you would feel.

STEP 3. Finally, walk back out of the screen that is still showing the picture of you performing perfectly, return to your seat in the theater, reach out and grab the screen and shrink it down to the size of a cracker. Then, bring this miniature screen up to your mouth, chew it up and swallow it. Imagine that each tiny piece -- just like a hologram -- contains the full picture of you performing well. Imagine all these little screens traveling down into your stomach and out through the bloodstream into every cell of your body. Then imagine that every cell of your body is lit up with a movie of you performing perfectly. It's like one of those appliance store windows where 50 televisions are all tuned to the same channel.

When you have finished this process -- it should take less than five minutes -- you can open your eyes and go about your business. If you make this part of your daily routine, you will be amazed at how much improvement you will see in your life.

Create Goal Pictures

Another powerful technique is to create a photograph or picture of yourself with your goal, as if it were already completed. If one of your goals is to own a new car, take your camera down to your local auto dealer and have a picture taken of yourself sitting behind the wheel of your dream car. If your goal is to visit Paris, find a picture or poster of the Eiffel Tower and cut out a picture of yourself and place it into the picture.

With today's technology, you can make even more convincing images using your computer. I personally use Vision Board to see my goals in action.

Create a Visual Picture and an Affirmation for Each Goal

We recommend that you find or create a picture of every aspect of your dream life. Create a picture or a visual representation for every goal you have -- financial, career, recreation, new skills and abilities, things you want to purchase, and so on.

When Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen were writing the very first Chicken Soup for the Soul® book, they took a copy of the New York Times best seller list, scanned it into the computer, and using the same font as the newspaper, typed Chicken Soup for the Soul into the number one position in the "Paperback Advice, How-To and Miscellaneous" category. They printed several copies and hung them up around their office. Less than two years later, their book was the number one book in that category and stayed there for over a year!

Index Cards

My wife Jenny and I practice a similar discipline every day. We have a list of about 30-40 goals we are currently working on. We write each goal on a 3x5 index card and keep those cards near our bed and take them with us when we travel. Each morning and each night we go through the stack of cards, one at a time, read the card, close our eyes, see the completion of that goal in its perfect desired state for about 15 seconds, open our eyes and repeat the process with the next card.

Use Affirmations to Support Your Visualization

An affirmation is a statement that evokes not only a picture, but the experience of already having what you want. Here's an example of an affirmation:

I am happily vacationing 2 months out of the year in a tropical paradise, and working just four days a week owning my own business.

Repeating an affirmation several times a day keeps you focused on your goal, strengthens your motivation, and programs your subconscious by sending an order to your crew to do whatever it takes to make that goal happen.

Expect Results

Through writing down your goals, using the power of visualization and repeating your affirmations, you can achieve amazing results.

Visualization and affirmations allow you to change your beliefs, assumptions, and opinions about the most important person in your life -- YOU! They allow you to harness the 18 billion brain cells in your brain and get them all working in a singular and purposeful direction.

Your subconscious will become engaged in a process that transforms you forever. The process is invisible and doesn't take a long time. It just happens over time, as long as you put in the time to visualize and affirm, surround yourself with positive people, read uplifting books and listen to audio programs that flood your mind with positive, life-affirming messages.

If you would like a step-by-step, comprehensive approach for defining your goals, creating affirmations for them and how to create a powerful visual support system, take a look at Jack Canfield's Dream Big Collection... it contains a everything you need -- just add your dreams!

Repeat your affirmations every morning and night for a month and they will become an automatic part of your thinking... woven into the very fabric of your being.

Are you "stuck" in this area?
Send Jack your most pressing question about this topic, then join him for his monthly "Ask Jack Canfield" Tele-Clinic. www.AskJackCanfield.com

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

37 years in the making – “a genuinely competitive, fair, and honest election in Lebanon” reports President Carter and his delegation

I received this letter from President Jimmy Carter today reporting on the efforts in the Middle East. Because many of you know of our support of the Carter Center’s efforts, I wanted to share it with you.

Dear Mark,

Last Sunday, something happened in Lebanon for the first time in 37 years: the nation held a genuinely competitive, fair, and honest election.

As millions of Lebanese citizens went to the polls to take a stand for democracy, I was there with a delegation of 60 observers from The Carter Center to provide an independent assessment of the vote.

Our team has created a video capturing the Carter Center’s work in Lebanon on Election Day to show you what it was like for us on the ground. After several grueling days of work, David Carroll, director of the Carter Center's Democracy Program, took time out to record this video for you from the region.

Please watch the video and pass it along to everyone you know who is interested in democracy in the Middle East.

As the election proceeded, all of us from The Carter Center were encouraged by what we saw.

Turnout was very high — especially among women — and there were few problems with the election administration. Crucially, the opposition parties accepted the results of the vote almost immediately.

This went a long way toward bolstering the credibility of the election.

But there is still progress that can be made. For example, there are no pre-printed ballots, so often voters use ballots distributed by political parties — undermining the secrecy of the vote. And despite the high turnout among women, Lebanon can do more to create opportunities for women to run for office.

After our work in was Lebanon was finished, I traveled across the Middle East to help build on the momentum of last week's successful election. I visited Syria, Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza to help advance the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Click here to read my full trip report.

I hope you'll stay tuned for future updates about Carter Center efforts to spread peace and democracy throughout the world.

Thank you for all your support.


President Jimmy Carter

San Diego's bio-pharma hub: where new ideas are emerging

We're always looking for more inspiration in our mission to accelerate
the adoption of new medical treatments.

So on a recent trip to San Diego, Melanie and I captured some photos of
biomedical research and education centers where scientists are working
to advance human health.

The centers are exploring new ideas in small molecules, genomics,
bioinformatics, high throughput screening, and structural biology. Their
efforts further translate the exciting discoveries being made every day
in laboratories into improved diagnostic and treatment technologies that
benefit all patients.

There are many examples of academia and industry joining as partners
with complementary expertise -- and the common goal of addressing unmet
medical needs. San Diego has an established history of partnerships that
facilitate the development of drugs and technologies based on research
discoveries. This approach set the foundation for San Diego's emergence
as a global biotechnology and pharmaceutical hub.

We at Stinson Brand Innovation are pleased to be working with many
companies in the region to support their efforts.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Healthcare marketing: Shifting responsibilities

Healthcare marketing leaders were asked to compare their responsibilities now with what they predicted would be their responsibilities three years from now. They predicted a shift from market research, PR, and advertising, toward patient experience, physician relations, and business strategy.

We agree, and see with so many healthcare brands, that the customer experience will continue to be of paramount focus.

If you would like to read our white paper on brand experience, click here to download it.

Monday, June 15, 2009

11:15am Obama live from Chicago today -- ReachMD XM160 to broadcast President's major health care speech to physicians

I thought you all would want to know that ReachMD is going to be broadcasting President Obama's health care speech LIVE today.

The speech to America's physicians starts at 11:15am CT.

XM subscribers are invited to tune in to the President's address on ReachMD XM160.

If you are not a subscriber to XM, you can listen to the ReachMD broadcast of the President's speech online at www.reachmd.com

ReachMD is covering this event live from the convention floor at the American Medical Association annual meeting. ReachMD will also have extensive post-speech interviews and reaction by physicians and other medical professionals to the speech.

Procedure Growth

The February 2009 "Fact File" in Health Leaders magazine focused on the results of an Intensive Care survey conducted in conjunction with Thomson Reuters, a Fact File partner.

The ICU is one of the most complex settings in a hospital, involving many specialists who offer a wide spectrum of complex care to critically ill patients. While cardiology and general surgery continue to top the list of ICU discharges, other kinds of procedures are seeing high growth in the critical care arena.

We were intrigued to find that sleep studies was projected to be the #1 high-volume intensive care procedure. The graph below shows sleep studies with above average growth rates performed by critical care medicine specialists.

Our client Total Sleep is part of this growing market.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Video Games to Treat Cancer?

Not quite a treatment perhaps, but they do help fight it.

Two years ago HopeLab, a non-for-profit, released Re-Mission, a shooter game in which players destroy cancer cells. Pam Omidyar, a tech enthusiast with a background in immunology, came up with idea to get cancer-afflicted teens to stick to their meds.

Just this past summer clinical evidence was published showing that the game actually works. Patients who played for at least an hour a week were more likely to follow their drug regimen.

This is a breakthrough in innovation. Video games could possibly be applied to other diseases and conditions.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

1st new MOA for hypertension in a decade – and gold prize winner of Technology Innovation Award

While I was in the Philippines recently, Novartis publicized its breakthrough drug Aliskiren that acts at the root of hypertension. According to the report in the Philippine Star:

Doctors have long known that a complex hormone system plays an important role in blood pressure control and is, in fact, the target of several blood pressure-lowering drugs. However, currently available medications act at later stages of this vital blood pressure-regulating process.

After over a decade that saw no new anti-hypertension medication being launched in the market, Swiss research-based healthcare company Novartis AG has developed a breakthrough drug that controls hypertension by blocking a kidney enzyme that can trigger high blood pressure (hypertension), a silent killer that afflicts about seven million Filipinos and nearly a billion people worldwide.

Aliskiren is the first and only high blood pressure medication that inhibits renin, a kidney enzyme associated with the regulation of blood pressure. Unlike other available high blood pressure medications, aliskiren acts at the beginning of the blood pressure-regulating process.

“Renin plays a key role in the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS), a hormone system that regulates blood pressure and fluid balance,” said Dr. Agnes Mejia, a respected kidney specialist and chairman of the Department of Medicine of the University of the Philippines- College of Medicine.

"The RAAS is activated when blood pressure is low, prompting the kidneys to secrete renin," Mejia said.

Renin stimulates the production of angiotensin, a protein in the blood that causes blood vessels to narrow (constrict), resulting in increased blood pressure.

Angiotensin also stimulates the secretion of the hormone aldosterone which causes the kidneys to retain sodium and water. This increases the volume of fluid in the body, which also increases blood pressure.

“The RAAS is crucial in maintaining optimal circulation but its over-activity causes hypertension. A direct renin inhibitor such as aliskiren can help address the problem at its root,” Mejia said.

Mejia spoke on the kidneys’ role in high blood pressure and hypertension management during a satellite symposium organized by Novartis Philippines in connection with the recently concluded 14th Joint Annual Convention of the Philippine Lipid and Atherosclerosis Society (PLAS) and Philippine Society of Hypertension (PSH).

Aliskiren is approved for the treatment of hypertension by the US Food and Drug Administration, European Medicines Agency, and the Bureau of Food and Drugs. Considered by many cardiovascular experts as a breakthrough product, aliskiren was awarded the gold winner of the Wall Street Journal’s Technology Innovation Award for 2007 and declared by Med Ad News as the 2007 Best New Medicine in the US.

Aliskiren is now approved in more than 57 countries. It is a prescription product and should only be taken under a doctor’s supervision.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

7 key highlights of “Building the Optimal Service Model” – how to drive business by creating the right brand experiences with physicians customers

Recently, one of our project managers, Brandy Gonsoulin, participated in a seminar with more than 800 other industry colleagues on “Building the Optimal Service Model: Creating the Right Physician Experiences to Drive Business.”

The presentation was conducted by TNS Healthcare.

Because Brandy found the program to be a valuable guide to helping design and execute effective service models that meet physician needs — and drive improved brand performance in the market — I’m pleased to share the slides for references to readers of our blog.

As you will read, the presentation shares many compelling insights. They derived from the results of TNS Healthcare’s latest research with 1,500+ GPs across the US and EU on the doctors' experience preferences and ratings of 17 Pharma companies on their reps, relationships, and services. As you will see, the findings reveal a wealth of new challenges and fresh opportunities.

The three presenters of “Building the Optimal Service Model: Creating the Right Physician Experiences to Drive Business” were from TNS Healthcare...
  • Mark Sales, Global Practice Leader, Stakeholder Management. His topic was “Listening to Your Customers: Where Doctors See Change and What They Want From Your Reps”
  • Martin Silverman, Senior Vice President and Practice Leader, Sales Force Effectiveness. He reviewed the “Global Sales Force Effectiveness: 2009 Survey Results”
  • Andrew Brana, Senior Global Consultant, Sales Performance Optimization. He summarized the “Service Model Report Card: How Physicians Rate Companies on Service Model Delivery”
The seven key highlights of the seminar are:
  1. Physicians continue to place strong value on sales reps’ skills; diverse set of specific sales rep behaviors sought
  2. Physician education and information remains highly valued, and is increasingly a sales driver. Different information access channels show varying levels of interest.
  3. Patient, practice and Internet services have significant interest in certain markets.
  4. Novartis maintains overall performance lead, but still closely followed by competitors like Pfizer, Merck, AZ, Sanofi and GSK. Tighter US race, with Merck leading on overall service-mix quality.
  5. Relationship quality trends down in US and UK, up in Spain, still challenging in UK and France
  6. High market resistance continues in Europe and increased into negative levels in US
  7. Alignment between favorable company market resistance situation and sales performance
The sales performance survey design was drawn from TNS Healthcare’s Sales Performance Optimization (SPO) and DetailMed customer research offerings designed to optimize and monitor sales strategy performance. For more details, contact tnshealthcareinfo@tns-global.com

Or contact me to review the specifics findings and implications for your brand.

If you would like to download a pdf of the presentation, click here.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

10 Reasons not to Tweet

Yesterday, I shared with you the "10 Ways to Tweet." Just as there are ways to tweet, there are also ways not to tweet. B. L. Ochman wrote a post in Ad Age entitled "Everyone's Talking About It, But Should You be Doing It?" In her article, she maintains that not all companies should be tweeting.

Here are 10 reasons why your company probably should not be tweeting:
  1. You think using Twitter is a social-media strategy. It's a tactic, a tool, not a strategy.
  2. Every tweet has to be approved by legal.
  3. You plan to use Twitter for nothing but broadcasting headlines or deals.
  4. You think a ghost tweeter for the president of your company is OK.
  5. You are not going to respond when people direct tweets at you.
  6. You think Tweeting as XYZ Corp. and using the company logo as your avatar might be a good idea.
  7. You think all that matters on Twitter is getting a lot of people to follow you.
  8. You want to protect your updates.
  9. You plan to track Twitter with Google Analytics.
  10. You think you can just jump in and start tweeting.
Ochman goes into greater detail on each reason in her article. To read the article in its entirety, click here.

Monday, June 08, 2009

10 ways to tweet

I am a follower of Guy Kawasaki’s blog, and he recently offered some great advice on how to "Create a Twitter following."

1. Follow the “smores,” or social media whores

Get a good idea of who these opinion leaders are by viewing twittercounter.com, twitterati.alltop.com and egos.alltop.com

2. Send @ messages to the smores

They probably wont’ answer you, but that’s OK. “Its not who you know. It’s who appears to know you.”

3. Create an effective avatar

Use a simple, informal, straight up mug shot.

4. Follow everyone who follows you

Some people will respond to you and everyone who follows them will see this—which is more exposure for you.

5. Always link to interesting stories and pictures

Think of yourself as a one-person StumbleUpon.

6. Establish yourself as a subject expert

That way, you’ll be interesting to some subset of people.

7. Incorporate pictures and other media

Anthing and everything works.

8. Use the right tools

Use TweetDeck on MacBook and Tweetie on iPhone, as well as Adjix and Posterous.

9. Repeat your tweets

Post your most interesting tweets three times, eight to 12 hours apart. Most people check in at about the same time everyday, so people probably won’t notice repeat tweets.

10. Ask people to follow

That’s right: Just come right out and ask them.

You can follow me on Twitter -- at you guessed it, "brandinnovator"

Friday, June 05, 2009

Top 10 most Innovative Countries

After my recent Asia trips, I’m not as surprised at the results of the study, "Top 10 most Innovative Countries" by Boston Consulting Group and the National Association of Manufacturers.

I am a little surprised at the countries that beat out the U.S. though -- we barely make it into the top 10 by coming in at #8. The study ranked 110 countries based on factors such as tax policies, education systems, infrastructure, and number of patents issued.

The complete Top 10 list is as follows:

1. Singapore
2. South Korea
3. Switzerland
4. Iceland
5. Ireland
6. Hong Kong
7. Finland
8. U.S.
9. Japan
10. Sweden

Thursday, June 04, 2009

New Ideas for Growth

I love walking into my office and hearing the conversation of brainstorming employees. It means ideas and energy are flowing and innovation is at work. That’s why I really liked this story I came across in BusinessWeek.

Last year, Best Buy picked four groups of salespeople in their early 20s and 30s and asked the strangers to room together for 10 weeks in an L.A. apartment complex. They were to come up with business ideas that Best Buy could roll out quickly and cheaply. The result: A service called Best Buy Studio, which provides Web-design consulting for small businesses.

It’s the Real World of business-extreme brainstorming. As participant Jermey Sevush says, “Living together and knowing we only had 10 weeks sped up our team-building process. We voluntarily worked longer hours, talking about business models while making spaghetti.”

Other companies have caught on. Whirlpool sends eight sales reps to Benton Harbor, Michigan, to test out products in a program called Real Whirled. The more experience each rep has with the products, the better marketers they become.

I wonder -- how could this idea be applied to Pharma branding and connecting with the patient and their experiences?

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

6 ideas that are innovating the West

One of the great things about having our western states office in Boise is that we are exposed to new ideas and viewpoints. As the world and our country are facing economic, energy, and environmental challenges, we need innovators now more than ever.

Here's a sampling of 6 ideas that are emerging from the West and shaking things up:
  1. Sci-fi Solar The curved 10-foot mirror focuses sunlight onto a steel plate about five feet away, and the steel glows bright and white - shedding sparks as if targeted by a cutting torch. Within seconds, the amplified sunlight burns a hold clean through the quarter-inch steel.
  2. A New Method for Brainstorming Nathan Myhrvold calls it an "invention session." For his groups, he seeks unusual people from around the world - bioengineers, nanotechnologists, chemists, even a few artists - who "have really deep knowledge and an open mind." An average session features 5-10 people in a big room furnished with a massive secondhand table and comfortable purple and green chairs. The small size and informal atmosphere encourage friendly interaction.
  3. Breaking Down Walls, With Art Inspired by a project in New York, Adam Price and his wife Dessi, invited 143 artists - ranging from teenaged graffiti artists to classical painters in their 70s - to transform an abandoned, 42-room building in one of Salt Lake City's oldest neighborhoods. After a 2-weekend public showing of the art, the building was demolished to make way for green-built apartments that included space for public art.
  4. A Home for the Homeless ... on the Street Surprised by how many homeless people were not sleeping in shelters, Hollywood movie producer Peter Samuelson launched three successful charities and raised money to create a contraption he calls the EDAR (Everyone Deserves A Roof). Designed by Eric Lindeman and Jason Zasa, the EDAR is shaped like a shopping cart. Made of wire and piping and wrapped with military-grade canvas, it can be filled with baggage and pushed around for day use. Then the wheels can be locked and collapsed into an EDAR in about a minute, transforming it into a raised tent to sleep in.
  5. Inventing Equality for Blind People George Kersher has a sweeping vision, even though he's blind: He wants to make all printed information "accessible." Everything in print should be readily available in audio, he believes, so that the millions with impaired eyesight can "read" by using their ears. He has invented technologies and computer programs and encouraged advancements in policies that involve dozens of countries.
  6. Rural Empowerment Land owners around Wheatland, Wyoming, are pooling their land and evaluating its wind resources, then putting together a marketing package to present a unified voice in bargaining with companies for a fair price. Because all the members experience construction and visual impacts, everyone gets a share in the proceeds, even those who don't end up with turbines on their land. It's a model that could avert some of the animosity around wind farms. And proponents think it can revitalize rural communities and keep farmers and ranchers on their land despite rising costs.
Click here to read the entire article in the Boise Weekly.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Running up the corporate ladder

Can the very act of running, in fact, turn you from a little chihuahua into a fierce labrador retriever and make you a big dawg in the corporate world?

Read one runner-executive's viewpoint at Runners Write - My Life As Shaped By Running.

Monday, June 01, 2009

5/20 ForwardFast teleseminar replay available – listen to learn “How to Accelerate Your Brand”

Thanks to everyone who participated in our teleseminar on Wednesday, May 20. We had clients and friends from across the country register to listen. Colleagues from Stinson Brand offices in Chicago and Boise, as well as our partner agency in Istanbul, joined the call.

To get maximum value from this training, we’ve posted a replay of “How to Accelerate Your Brand” so you can listen again. Click here to listen to the replay.

The teleseminar covered these topics:
  • 6 key brand attributes in the ForwardFast® model
  • 5 things to consider when evaluating a logo
  • 4 part checklist for creating your brand’s quality offering
  • 4 key characteristics that define brand associations
  • 10 personality characteristics you can apply to your brand
  • 7 milestones to consider when developing a creative brief for a brand experience program
  • 6 ways to evaluate interactive and digital branding (using the new Pepsi website as an example)
You can also share this link with a colleague who may be interested in the presentation. Again, click here to go to the replay page.