Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Difference Between a “KOL” vs. a “KPI”

Let me begin by defining a “KOL” for this purpose.  From our work to date, we have seen that the need for innovation is usually well established in the literature and the demand for improved treatment exists among leading authorities. Therefore, the focus of the N-of-8 advisory board should be on accelerating change in protocols, gaining formulary status, and achieving coverage by payers.

So we can envision using traditional KOLs to promote the science, but then establish a new kind of advisor who can create actionable change in current protocols – a Key Practice Influencer. You’ll see me refer to a “KPI” in a major chapter in my upcoming book, N-of-8.

We are often asked to develop a qualified list of US KOLs for disease management reviews and new product assessment.  Let’s take a look at a possible set of criteria one might to use for KPIs, for example in the intervention of uncontrolled bleeding emergency or surgical settings.

  • Current KPIs and “rising stars” in the field drawn from a number of disciplines –
  • Blood bank directors
  • Hematologists
  • Emergency medicine physicians
  • Anesthesiologists
  • Surgeons
  • Hospital pharmacists
In addition, Influencers with expertise in one or more of the following areas is
  • Bleeding during surgery
  • Uncontrolled bleeding
  • Congenital fibrinogen deficiency
  • Rapid warfarin reversal
  • Use of Novo-7 or other PCCs (including Profilnine and Feiba VH)
  • National list of 30 – 50 KPIs
  • Representation from each of the disciplines
  • Representation across institution spectrum
  • Primary and secondary sources of information
  • Tactical recommendations to engage potential Influencers
  • Creative framework to leverage sponsor’s commitment

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Strategic GPS homework -- market for genetic analysis

I recently facilitated a strategy review for scientists working to commercialize a new method of protein analysis.  In doing our homework, we compared it with the impressive technological advancements in genetic expression.

The field of genetic analysis continues to evolve as the number of different technologies and possible applications expand. As it branches out in new directions, scientists and life science suppliers must adapt to changing experimental requirements, says Tamara Zemlo, Ph.D., who is vice president for advisory services at BioInformatics.

In response to these dynamics, BioInformatics has quantified and characterized the market for genetic analysis including products used for genome-wide association studies (GWAS), copy-number variation (CNV) analysis, genotyping, and techniques such as microarrays, sequencing, and real-time PCR.

The firm is offering a report entitled, “Genomic Technologies: Market Insights for Life Science Suppliers” based upon a worldwide survey of over 450 scientists.

One of the problems that scientists encounter is that of data storage. Sequencing and microarrays create vast amounts of data that demand considerable storage space, in addition to the need for keeping data safe from a crashing hard-drive or other computer malfunction.

While many survey respondents (40%) feel that their lab is best suited to store and maintain their own data, the majority (60%) believes that another party is better qualified to store and maintain their data.

This need is an opportunity for life science suppliers, core facilities, and other service providers to better meet the expectations of their customers in terms of workflow. Scientists will likely view suppliers that provide integrated solutions to the challenges of data storage more favorably.
For information on obtaining the full report, click here

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Be selective: surround yourself with the best N-of-8 people

Make a list of the top 8 people you spend most of your time with:  colleagues, friends, family members, and members of your religious group etc.

Place a (+) sign next to those that  are always positive and energizing; optimistic and uplifting.

Put a (-) sign next to those who are toxic, cynical and judgmental; always blaming life or others for their circumstances.

This exercise might lead to shocking discoveries, especially when you see a minus sign next to someone close to you. Mike Muddock, a renowned speaker and author says, “Pay any price to stay in the presence of extraordinary people.”

Flip the statement around and it will be “pay any price to avoid losers, people going nowhere.” Find a way of breaking close ties with toxic people and surround yourself with successful, like minded people, going your way.

There are two types of people: anchors and motors. You want to lose the anchors and get with the motors because the motors are going somewhere…the anchors will drag you down.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Octreotide hydrogel implant safe, effective in acromegaly

Patients with acromegaly who received a 52-mg octreotide hydrogel implant for 6 months achieved consistent biochemical control and reduced tumor size, according to results of a study presented in early April at the Endo Society conference in San Diego.

The phase 2, open-label, randomized study evaluated the safety and efficacy of a subcutaneous 52-mg octreotide hydrogel implant (Endo Pharmaceuticals) for the treatment of acromegaly. Octreotide is contained in the middle of a cartridge made of hydrogel, the same material found in soft contact lenses, which is implanted subcutaneously in the upper forearm.

The small study included 11 patients (mean age, 47 years) at a single center in Brazil who were randomly assigned to receive one (n=5) or two (n=6) 52-mg implants. The implants were inserted on day 1 of the study and removed at month 6. Patients were then followed for the 6 months and for 1 month after the implants were removed.

“This is the first study to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of octreotide hydrogel implant,” Theodore Danoff, MD, PhD, vice president of clinical development, endocrinology/urology, Endo Pharmaceuticals, said during a late-breaking session.

According to the results, the octreotide hydrogel implant suppressed mean insulin-like growth factor I levels during the 6 months; however, levels increased after the implants were removed. One patient in the one-implant group achieved normalization of IGF-I for the entirety of the study, as did two patients in the two-implant group. Those who did not achieve IGF-I normalization had a mean 40% reduction in IGF-I levels.

Tumor size was reduced by 23% among patients who received one implant and by 38% in patients who received two implants.

The researchers also measured quality of life, using a series of questions that examined efficacy, satisfaction with treatment, discomfort and other factors. Danoff said patient ratings of efficacy and satisfaction were high and patient ratings of discomfort, pain and disruption of daily activities was low.
“Patients were highly satisfied and felt it was effective for their treatment,” Danoff said.

Click here to read the full article.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

8 Ways to Find a Mentor

For my upcoming book, N-of-8, I have been collecting a wide variety of “top 8” lists you can use for inspiration.  You might find seeds of ideas that can apply to a wide array of challenges.

Here is a list of 8 ideas to connect with a mentor.
  1. Approach a colleague with specific goals. Your workplace or school is a natural way to find a mentor because it’s part of your daily life. When you approach a potential mentor, be clear about your plans. The more clarity you have about your goals for the mentoring relationship, the more successful it (and you) will be.
  2. Look at your family. You may have a natural mentor in your uncle, sister, mom or godfather – and you may not even know it. A mentor is someone who helps you plan your personal or professional goals, guides you toward smart decisions objectively, and helps you strategize for the future. 
  3. Be open to mentors of the opposite sex. Don’t get hung up on finding a same-sex mentor. Surveys have found the gender of the mentor didn’t matter. 
  4. Consider a long distance mentoring relationship. Emailing every few weeks could be just as helpful as meeting in person. Your mentor can live overseas or a different state or province, and still be effective in helping you set professional goals that are realistic and achievable. 
  5. Talk to strangers. If you meet someone interesting at a conference or business lunch, ask for her card. Most people are flattered at this type of request, and realize the value of helping others succeed.   
  6. Consider an “impersonal” mentoring relationship. You don’t necessarily have to know someone to be inspired by them. Simply following their careers or reading their books is an impersonal mentoring relationship that can help you achieve your goals.  
  7. Spread the word. Tell colleagues, friends, and family that you’re hoping to find a mentoring or coaching relationship. The more people you tell, the higher your chances are of succeeding. 
  8. Visit sites like Peer Resources Find a Mentor. This offers a list resources, and tips on finding a mentor.
If you also have lists, quotes, or articles, I invite you to share them in the comment section below.

Innovation that come from the words and thoughts of others often come through a new route in the imagination:  free association. This can lead you to explore links that would not be ordinarily brought to bear. It increases your probability of looking at the challenge in a new way.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

N-of-8 Brand Story Development

I’ve been in so many meetings where someone declares, “This is such a no-brainer that all we have to do is get the word out, and it will sell itself.”

And of course nothing could be further from the truth.  No brand is a no-brainer.  And I’ve never seen even the biggest big idea sell itself.  And the “word” you get out there is the central challenge that can be addressed by N-of-8 Brand Story Development.

What is branding really, but a story attached to a product or service?

When you have a product that's similar to another, there are a number of ways to compete. The smart way is to change the value of the product by telling a story about it.

Traditional marketing often bypasses the use of “stories” and goes straight to conveying sales and promotional messages.  Too much focus is on rational, economic appeals to customers in terms of reasons to believe, attributes and benefits.  But to stand out in an ever-competitive marketplace, it will be important for brand marketers to differentiate their offerings by making a persuasive case for their superior innovation, benefits and attributes. Creating emotional relationships with customers is one such differentiation and stories, above all, embody and evoke emotion and a higher connection with the brand.

In chapter 7 of my upcoming book, N-of-8, I’ll define story development, offer some major objectives that can be accomplished with it, and detail the process.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

N-of-8 vision workshops: benchmarking business cases of other visionary companies

I’ve had many opportunities to facilitate the medical brand vision workshops.  In one I particularly enjoyed, our objective was to create viable 3-year “vision scenarios” for a portfolio of products. The focus was on a successful brand launch as a key short-term goal, while simultaneously managing the lifecycle of an older brand, accelerating a bread-and-butter brand’s growth, and preparing for a successful follow-on product launch.

The cross-functional team was first given an overview of the improved market conditions and expanded manufacturing capacity. This allowed us to engage everyone to imagine a “different world” and create excitement in thinking about a brand-driven market.

Then, we introduced several historical examples of vision that changed perceptions.  These included the Manhattan Project, Black Mountain College arts school, the Apollo space mission, and Disney’s animation studio and Epcot Center.

The main element of the meeting was benchmarking business cases of visionary companies to demonstrate how to imagine a different world.  The cases were divided into three groups:

1.  New World Shapers         
     - eBay
     - Medtronic
     - iPod/iPhone

2.  Lifestyle/Experience Creators
     - Harley-Davidson
     - Starbucks

3.  Category Killers
     - Best Buy
     - Home Depot

Using these cases as a start, three breakout groups applied similar vision to our portfolio. We asked, “What if...we pursuing a strategy like….(brand)?”  What new ideas would that generate in the areas of:  new processes or steps, sales & marketing programs, market research insights, customer relationships, expert practice leadership, and contingency plans.

We also applied a rough SWOT analysis to the vision scenarios to assess our ability to win (and why), the size of opportunity (volume and/or $), growth potential, and stronger overall brand positioning.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Reporting the outcomes of N-of-8 story development

At the conclusion of the N-of-8 process, there is a refined and final brand story, along with both a written report and presentation, based on the key research findings and results, along with copies of participant interview recordings.

To illustrate the reporting technique of our N-of-8 story development tool, our client Active Community Wellness agreed to have its findings published.  In this section, I’ll present a template of “Key Learnings, Implications, and Actions.”

Active Community Wellness, Inc. is a nonprofit with a core team of adult athletes supported by proven coaching for people in need of better wellness.

ACW was established to not only be a leader in individuals’ health and fitness, but also make an impact on the community at large.

As it was preparing to communicate its vision of leadership in personal wellness, group supported-training, and educational programs, ACW engaged us to conduct N-of-8 story development.

With a loyal target audience, a unique strategy, clearly defined goals, and a consistent brand core, we learned that there was a market opportunity to take the lead through extraordinary training experiences. In total, four N-of-8 groups were facilitated: one with the ACW board, two with potential members in Boise, ID (the first target market), and one with health-minded business people in Chicago.  The story created featured Active Community Wellness and its “personalized connection” and “authenticity” as reaching a broad group of individuals willing to expand their participation in health programs.

As a follow-up to the two-month N-of-8 story development process, here are the key overall themes we identified:
  • People are interested in making positive lifestyle changes
  • Losing weight is a major concern of people looking to make these changes
  • Both individual and group support is essential to a successful program 
  • The one-size-fits-all model is not appealing
  • People want trained, certified trainers and medical professionals
  • Program variety is important
  • Programs for all skill levels – from beginner to advanced – are critical to the success of the organization
  • People want an easy way to get started