Monday, August 31, 2009

4 parts to a Change Agent story – How you manage and respond to change is the difference between success and disruption

This book review of Our Iceberg is Melting by John Kotter was submitted by our account executive Brandy Gonsoulin.

John Kotter’s acclaimed change agent book uses an easy-to-read fable to illustrate the timely and sensitive topic. Using a penguin colony faced with news that their iceberg is melting, he demonstrates the team struggle and creates scenarios similar to the ones we non-penguins encounter daily in our quest or resistance to change – and shows how a collective, driven and organized process can bring results. How individuals manage and respond to change is the difference between success and disruption.

Most literature on change deals with a logical process. In Kotter’s case, there are four parts:
  1. setting the stage
  2. deciding what to do
  3. making it happen, and
  4. making it stick.
Read by itself, the effect on the reader is minimal. Read through the lens of a heroic story makes it easy for the educated mind to drop its analytical reasoning and put change in the context of the human element.

Whether or not you have a melting iceberg, the roadblocks the colony faces and triumph of innovative thinking creates a story that we all want to be a part of as we navigate our organizational changes. If penguins can be successful in change, why can’t we?

Read more book reviews and other news about our company in the latest issue of Accelerate.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

7 Professional Inputs on "Selling Health Care Reform to Voters"

Today’s blog was submitted by Kendal Brown, a Visual CHEMist and rising design star in our firm

I currently follow the Daily Heller newsletter of Print Magazine written by Steven Heller, who has been in the creative industry long enough to have a valued opinion. Every morning Steven brings me interesting insights or creative discoveries from past, present, and future players in the creative world.

Being that we are in the consulting world for Health, Science, and Technology branding, it was particularly exciting for me to receive the newsletter regarding his involvement in a New York Times opinion article on selling the Healthcare Reform. At the end of his newsletter Steven asks, “how would you sell health care (or not) given your design acumen?”

Looking closer, the NY Times article (in the Opinion: Room for Debate section) published expert opinions on this topic (Steven Heller's included). Listed below are the 7 experts and some of their key suggestions for President Obama to consider:
  1. Robert Shrum, presidential campaign strategist - Don't abandon, don't delay. President Obama needs to hold his ground. It won't be easy.
  2. Julian E. Zelizer, professor of history and public affairs - "Sell a vision for health care where government plays a larger role" Work on the message.
  3. Mark Penn, former adviser to Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton - Appeal to both/all sides, people need to know it won't how it will affect them and that the impact won't be negative for them, even if it helps other people.
  4. Mike Murphy, Republican Party consultant - Remain truly bipartisan. "Talk to people like grown-ups."
  5. Harold Pollack, professor, University of Chicago - Tell the stories, share why this is all so important. (Case Studies)
  6. Robert Blendon, professor of health policy and political analysis - Stay specific and make it easy to understand.
  7. Steven Heller, art director and design critic - "Whatever the words and image, be sure to make a convincing promise and prove it can be kept"
Here at Stinson Brand Innovation, we might approach the idea of selling Healthcare Reform much like we approach any one of our client's campaigns. We could use a tool like CHEM to ask the questions of our own messaging:

C - Does it Connect with the desired audience in a meaningful way? In this case, does it connect as a bipartisan message, that is relevant to both audiences? Do people understand how it will affect them as an individual?

H - Is the message Honest? Are the promises realistic, is there evidence or are there case studies to back it up?

E - Is it Easy? Is the message easy to understand and specific yet simple enough?

M - Does it Motivate the audience into taking action? Reform is absolutely necessary, but few can predict the outcome or see the light at the end of the tunnel. People need to understand that it might get worse before it gets better yet still be able to believe in a positive outcome. Do they want to share the message with others?

Below are the links to the mentioned Newsletter and Article in case you want to read more:
"Sick of the Health Care Debate?"
"Selling Health Care Reform to Voters"

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

2 leaders in blood collection and transfusion technologies -- Fenwal and Golden Meditech -- form joint venture in China

Fenwal, Inc. of Lake Zurich, Illinois and Golden Meditech of Hong Kong have agreed to form a joint venture in China to focus on blood collection and transfusion products for the fast-growing Chinese medical market.

Medical professionals in China are expected to benefit from the combination of:
  • Fenwal's technological leadership in blood collection, separation, preservation and transfusion, and
  • Golden Meditech's expertise in China's blood-related medical device and blood-banking fields.
The joint venture will operate from Beijing and serve customers throughout China.

Initially, the joint venture will focus on sales and distribution of a range of Fenwal and Golden Meditech products – including the Fenwal AMICUS® cell-separation system used to collect platelets; and the Golden Meditech 3000H Plasma Exchange system designed to remove toxins from patients' blood.

"Fenwal is a pioneer and leader in advanced blood technologies," said Mr. Kam Yuen, Golden Meditech chairman and chief executive officer. "We're looking to bring together the leadership, knowledge and capabilities of both companies to expand and customize our offerings for blood collection and transfusion medicine in China."

"Golden Meditech is a respected medical leader with extensive knowledge of the China market," said Ron Labrum, Fenwal president and chief executive officer. "Its people, technologies and infrastructure will complement Fenwal's current offerings in China. Together, we expect to create new opportunities to expand the market for advanced blood technologies that will benefit patients throughout China."

For more information, visit the companies’ websites at and

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

4 Characteristics of a Diverse Brand Team

Blog entry submitted by Nancy Stearns Burgess, one of our creative CHEMists and a card-carrying “ESTJ”

Something I learned early in my career was the importance of diversity on a team. Not just cultural and ethnic diversity — though they have their own rewards. Instead, I believe a blend of personality types can make work teams more effective—as long as mutual understanding reigns. This insight can also give branded communications a more targeted edge.

“Personalities” are some of the most rewarding, fascinating—yet also frustrating—aspects of work, family, and social experiences. Tools, such as “Personality Quadrants,” can be helpful models. Perhaps you’ve heard of Quadrant I, Quadrant 2, etc. Similarly, some businesses ascribe to the model of Directors, Socializers, Relaters, and Analyzers to help bring focus and meaning to interactions.

Granted these tools have their merits. But they’re also overly simplistic—segmenting people into just 4 categories. Years ago, when I managed a multidisciplinary team in the hospital, I learned about the Myers-Briggs characterizations of personalities from psychologists on our team.

Myers and Briggs based their ideas on the work of Carl Jung. I’ve found these characterizations to be helpful at work and at home. According to Myers and Briggs, people’s traits fall on continuums of 4 characteristics:
  • Extravert (E) ------ Introvert (I)
  • Sensate (S) ------ Intuitive (N)
  • Thinker (T) ------ Feeler (F)
  • Judger (J) ------ Perceiver (P)
That means there are 16 possible combinations, such as INFP, ESTJ, etc. People can be at one end of the continuum or closer to the middle. What is perhaps most interesting is that people with specific characteristics tend to gravitate toward professions that match their personalities. For example, many nurses and teachers are ESFJs. Most dietitians are ESTJs. INFPs are often psychologists, social workers, and clerics.

When drafting targeted communications to these audiences, insight into their perspectives and how they like to receive and process information, can be invaluable. Likewise, better cooperation in the workplace can take place when you know how to speak the language of those who are opposite yourself on the spectrum.

Once you know your natural inclination, you can use that awareness to both understand (and work effectively with) those with a different perspective and to develop within yourself the opposite pole of the continuum. Check out the online tools to help you recognize which of the 16 combinations best describe you.

Click here to learn more at the Myers and Briggs Foundation.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

2nd consecutive “Best of Chicago” Award for STINSON

Stinson Brand Innovation has been selected for the 2009 Best of Chicago Award for the second consecutive year. We were recognized in the Marketing Consultants category by the U.S. Local Business Association (USLBA).

Each year, the USLBA identifies companies that they believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small businesses through service to their customers and community.

Read more news about our company in the latest issue of our Accelerate newsletter.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

#1 out of 122 medical device companies: Covidien recognized as “Top Innovator” with strongest patent portfolio in the industry

One of our client companies, Covidien, has been ranked the top innovator in the medical devices and services industry by The Patent Board™, the official patent ratings partner of The Wall Street Journal.

The Patent Board Scorecard ranked 122 companies in the industry by patent portfolio strength. The Scorecard is a tool to recognize that patent portfolios are measurable financial assets that can be market-value drivers.

In 2009, Covidien moved up to take the #1 spot in rankings for the first time, driven by:
  • a 50% increase in Technology Strength™ (an overall assessment of a company’s intellectual property quality and quantity); and
  • a 27% increase in Industry Impact™ (the extent to which others are building on Covidien’s portfolio of US patents)
Covidien first appeared on the Patent Scorecard in 2007, when it became an independent company, ranking #4 that year.

Joe Almeida, president of Covidien Medical Devices, said, “Covidien’s continued dedication to the innovation process is reflected in our achieving this prestigious number one ranking. It underscores the depth of our intellectual capital and our collaborative approach to intellectual property development.”

We at Stinson Brand Innovation agree that Covidien has a strong science-linked patent presence in all four of its segments – Medical Devices, Imaging Solutions, Pharmaceutical Products and Medical Supplies.

I believe the company will continue to strengthen its technology development efforts, because Covidien’s businesses work together to turn its technology advances into patents and other valuable IP assets.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Co-creation in health brands?

There is certainly a macro trend-shift from Experience Economy (here is the experience we're creating for you) to Participation Economy (here is the space in which you can participate to create your experience.)

It's happening everywhere on the web, and it's also creeping into actual customer experiences (i.e. Linux, Lego Factory, Apple retail stores, self-service hotels). Yet there's an interesting challenge when it comes to health, science, and technology brands.

I was inspired by a post on and have been thinking about the concept of co-creation as it relates to our categories.

I'd be interested in your ideas on how to bring co-creation to life within a medical, pharma, biotech, or diagnostic brand setting.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

400th anniversary of Galileo’s astronomical observations

The stars often align for Stinson Brand Innovation with clients in Philadelphia. And now to celebrate the astronomical observations of Galileo, the Franklin Institute has an exhibit of his star-gazing.

“Galileo, the Medici and the Age of Astronomy” commemorates the 400th anniversary of his work – and the role of Medicis as science patrons.

So let’s set our GPS to Philly, and make our way to see the display of Galileo telescopes (through September 7).

Click here to read more about the exhibit.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

4 core elements of our Ethos of Learning

Learning and sharing experiences are at the heart of everything we do at Stinson Brand Innovation.

In our company’s first 5 years, I’ve learned about the importance of a culture based on the core elements of a:
  • Learning atmosphere: with mutual respect, diversity of ideas, and practical guidance
  • Learning channels: interconnecting media of information and development tools
  • Learning responsibility: personal strategic plans to raise expectations, knowledge, and performance
  • Learning partnerships: cooperating with clients, partners, vendors, and medical consultants.
Together, these elements make learning more stimulating, vibrant, motivating, fun, challenging, and rewarding. That’s why we feel so strongly in this Ethos – because it helps us support each other in the exploration and creation of new ideas. Having a positive, productive attitude to learning is crucial to success both as a company and as creative individuals. Recognizing we face challenging times, we strive to help our team members to be proactive and innovative about learning.

That’s the essence of our company’s Ethos.

To read more about our company’s creative reflection, click here to read the latest issue of our company newsletter.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Applying design to tackle tough problems of the developing world

The International Development Design Summit (IDDS) is a month-long collaboration that brings together people from around the globe to build technologies for communities in the developing world. It’s being held at Kwame Nkrumah University Of Science And Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi, Ghana.

The program is the brainchild of MIT Senior Lecturer and D-Lab founder Amy Smith, a past winner of the MacArthur “genius” grant.

It is a conference about innovation, and we believe that innovation thrives in the intersections of disciplines that come from bringing together such an eclectic group. Its draws inspiration from several current models of innovation, design and community empowerment: co-creation, cross-disciplinary collaborations and crowd sourcing.

IDDS is not strictly an academic conference, with papers and proceedings. Instead it emphasizes development of prototypes. It is part of the revolution in design that aims to create equity in the distribution of research and development resources by focusing on the needs of the world’s poor.

The final presentations, along with demonstrations of the prototypes, are today, August 10, at the KNUST Museum.

Click here to follow the International Development Design Summit blog.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

2 Chicago-based patient organizations awarded CSL Behring LEAD Grants for grassroots advocacy

CSL Behring, a global leader in the plasma-protein biotherapies industry, has awarded six advocacy grants totaling $100,000 to patient organizations in the United States through the Local Empowerment for Advocacy Development (LEAD) program. LEAD grants support grassroots advocacy efforts by organizations that are committed to helping people who use plasma-derived and recombinant therapies to manage their health conditions.

Since the LEAD program’s inception in 2008, CSL Behring has awarded more than $250,000 in three semi-annual grant cycles.

"CSL Behring is dedicated to advocacy and is honored to be able to collaborate with patient advocacy organizations to improve access to life-saving plasma-derived and recombinant therapies," said Dennis Jackman, CSL Behring Senior Vice President, Public Affairs. "CSL Behring is committed to helping organizations expand their advocacy initiatives and capabilities on both the state and federal levels."

In this most recent round of awards two Chicago-based patient organizations were selected to receive grants, from among the 19 submissions received. LEAD grants were awarded to:
  1. The Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago, which promotes healthy lungs and fights lung disease through research, advocacy, and education, will use its funding for advocacy and education. It will advocate for legislation mandating that the Illinois Department of Health assign a staff member exclusively to COPD/Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency. It will also advocate for the creation of a $250,000 line item in the Illinois state budget to develop a statewide education, awareness and surveillance plan for COPD/Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency.
  2. The Hemophilia Foundation of Illinois, a state chapter of the National Hemophilia Foundation (NHF) dedicated to the treatment of all bleeding and clotting disorders, will use its grant to fund advocacy efforts depleted by a $700,000 reduction in the state hemophilia program. The Foundation also plans to create a public health program guide for Illinois residents with bleeding disorders.
LEAD grants are awarded semi-annually. The fourth round of grants will occur in October 2009. Applications, specific criteria for applying and more information about the LEAD program are available on the CSL Behring Web site at

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Quote on "Innovation"

Yesterday, I wrote about how Dr. Brian J. Druker persuaded Novartis to take a chance on Gleevec – based on good science, not just the economics. That led me to a great quote from another scientist/executive, Trevor Mundel, head of Novartis' Global Drug Development Division.

He said, “Arguing about commercial value is precisely what paralyzes the industry and leads to the destruction of innovation.”

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

8-year perspective on Gleevec -- the “selling” of a drug innovation

Since its approval in 2001, Gleevec has turned a rare form of leukemia from a death sentence into a manageable disease. But with only an estimated 10,000 patients worldwide afflicted with chronic myelogenous leukemia, Novartis initially had little interest in the drug.

Dr. Brian J. Druker at Oregon Health & Science University's Knight Cancer Institute, whose lab did the basic work on Gleevec, persuaded Novartis to take a chance on it.

In a 2003 Science Watch interview, Druker explains how he made the case.
Science Watch correspondent Gary Taubes asked Dr. Druker, “How did you convince a major pharmaceutical company to develop a drug for a disease that strikes a comparatively small group of roughly 5,000 Americans a year?”

Here is his reply:

“That was certainly the hard part, and a lot of things had to fall into place. We faced three major hurdles. One was that it was a drug for a small market. Second, there was some liver toxicity in early animal tests. For a variety of reasons, Ciba-Geigy was adverse to taking a risk with a potentially toxic drug. But for me, I was dealing with cancer patients who were dying, and I was accustomed to giving drugs with significant toxicity. Thus, I was much less concerned about potential risks. Here was a compound that might help patients, and I absolutely wanted it to be given a fair trial in people. If it proved to be toxic in people, then of course it wouldn’t move forward. But if it worked with a therapeutic window, that would be worth developing.

“The last hurdle was that Ciba Geigy had just merged with Sandoz to create Novartis. That led to down-sizing and re-evaluations of all the programs. STI571 wasn’t even on anybody’s radar screen. In addition, Nick Lydon, who was the lead investigator of the tyrosine kinase inhibitor program at Ciba Geigy and the main internal proponent for the development of STI571, had left the company.

“Ultimately, I was able to convince a few key people at Novartis to move this compound forward to clinical trials. One of the factors that helped was that this compound also inhibited the platelet-derived growth factor receptor (PDGF-R) tyrosine kinase. The PDGF-R is expressed in most cancers, including most of the common ones, such as breast and prostate cancers. Whether its activity is required for the growth and survival of these cancers is unknown, but if STI571 worked in these diseases, this would be the market size that would interest a large pharmeuctical company. So the view was that if it worked in CML, Novartis had an easy way to the market. It could then be tested broadly and might have a very large market potential.”

You can read the full interview on the journal’s website archive.