Feeds:
Posts
Comments

JiboLet me begin by saying that I find Jibo (a little household robot/servant) to be cute, creepy, and provocative.

We’ve been fantasizing about robots for decades, and the connected internet of things joined to intelligent software make these little digital companions a future certainty. This type of device/platform isn’t a fanstasy. It’s inevitable.

The privacy issues make me cringe; though, in reality, this is only an evolutionary step from our existing world of smartphones and other connected devices.

So, what does this Wall*E-like platform do? Watch this video, and then let’s discuss one application that could be pretty significant – patient compliance with taking medications:

Now, imagine an older person – perhaps living alone – that needs to take one or more meds in sequence during the day. If Jibo is there, with a prescription schedule(s) programmed in, then it’s much easier to deliver friendly reminders.

Create digital bridges to wearables (such as Apple’s iWatch and other body-monitoring devices), and some really interesting possibilities open up. Tie this into glucose monitoring devices for diabetes, for instance, or into an on-board blood pressure monitoring device. Pharmacies could interface Jibo to one of those fancy digital pill-bottle caps that can send a signal when it’s time for another pill.

Now you have a (multi-functional and kinda friendly) companion that can talk to you and provide reminders.

Of course, there is the expanded possiblility of video medical consultation, since a device of this sort could both store and upload digitally-gathered body systems data. Jibo becomes the in-house medical information conduit.

Patient–Jibo–Cloud–Doctor. Connected.

The fact is, all of this is coming – we have the various tools and toys already in place for it. Something like a servant-robot could easily tie it all together from an interface point of view.

What do you think? Is Jibo potentially one of the new faces of medicine?

RobotMy newsfeeds last week were unusually rich with glimpses of the future. I thought I’d share some cool items with you here:

> IBM Developing a Brain-like Chip – 5.4 billion transistors!

> How about a virtual shrink? Meet Ellie

> Siri’s inventors go for much greater intelligence.

> Humans Need Not Apply – here come the robots (after your job, maybe??)

> The robot “swarm” that learns together (I think Michael Crichton wrote a book about this…)

> And, finally, RoboThespian. We’re doomed…

So…are we the latest endangered species? ;>)

 

How many of your training managers actually have some kind of background in operations – or, have been trained in how to manage vendors and projects?

If your department is like that of most life science companies, the answer probably lies between few and none. Why? Well, trainers are typically assigned out of Sales, not Operations.

But managing projects requires a new skill set, and without it, expensive failures regularly occur during a training rotation (and beyond).

Being shoved into the deep end of the pool is one way to learn to swim. But a one-day workshop is all that’s needed to impart the core principles and basic practices leading to successful project management.

In one minute, here’s an explanation of the key value of this workshop:

Impactiviti and LTEN sponsor these workshops for life sciences member companies. All the details are right here. Sign your trainers up now while there is still room!

new drugI imagine we’ve all been closely following the Ebola outbreak in Africa. Although we’re a long way from the finish line, how encouraging is it that a very experimental biotech drug may be saving the lives of a couple of infected healthcare workers.

Moving toward the integrated  display of a glucose monitoring system, and insulin pump system for diabetes (Dexcom and Insulet).

Will animal testing eventually go the way of the dodo bird in drug development? Maybe – now that scientists are developing “human body on a chip” technology. Fascinating stuff.

Big investment money going after CARTs (leading-edge cancer treatment based on re-engineering the patient’s own white blood cells).

Alliance between BMS and Allied Minds to speed R&D developments in university research insititutions (data-, expertise-, and resource-sharing).

Novartis on the threshold of a new chronic heart failure treatment.

BONUS: will there soon be a blood test to detect ANY type of cancer?

According to the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator, I’d be classified as an INTJ. Or maybe ISTJ. Could depend on the day.

The Myers-Briggs classification format is widely used in our industry (and many others), but is it really worthwhile? According to this article with a rather provocative title (Why the Myers-Briggs Test is Totally Meaningless), the entire scheme is questionable. I’d encourage you to read the entire article.

INTJ

Today, I want to focus on one question: is the Myers-Briggs test a good tool for predicting career success – or, for that matter, helping shape career choices?

I am actually a big fan of profiling – mapping out one’s makeup and tendencies and abilities (I often use the terms personal/professional DNA, or internal wiring) to try to see where a person can ideally “fit” career-wise.

But I think a personality test – whether or not it’s resting on a valid foundation – has limits. Because a truer indicator of success is a performance test.

What are you actually good at doing? What does your track record of work indicate is your professional “sweet spot“?

Some of our traits are hard-wired (I, for instance, am an introvert) but can be managed and behaviorally-modified over time (I am an outgoing networker). Looking strictly at my Myers-Briggs personality type, I’m a very unlikely entrepreneur – but there’s more to us than 4 letters and 16 boxes.

We each have unique gifts. We have special (and cultivated) abilities. We act in ways that succeed or fail. We perform, sometimes well beyond what one might expect out of an arrangement of our profile descriptions.

I’ve talked to an amazing array of successful sales people, some of whom are analytical introverts, others of whom are outgoing relationship-sparking wizards. They’ve succeeded by using their abilities, and as they’ve moved into new roles, it becomes evident (sometimes painfully so) where their best competencies truly are.

Performance joined to personality tells the story.

What are your feelings about Myers-Briggs and other such approaches? Helpful? Bogus? Share your insights in the comments!

It was over a year in the making. The re-branding/re-naming of SPBT (the Society of Pharmaceutical and Biotech Trainers) has finally come to pass!

Though the decision was made on the new identity 6 months ago, the annual conference in Dallas last week was the format for “the big reveal.”

Welcome LTEN – the Life Sciences Trainers and Educators Network. A more inclusive name for the more diverse population of learning professionals (including pharma, biotech, medical devices, and diagnostics) that now make up the organization.

As a branding guy, I like it. The name has flexibility. The acronym is simple. The new look is modern. This was a major win (kudos to the LTEN staff and board for the successful re-launch)!

LTEN

LTEN sjovallAnd, it was only slightly disconcerting to have LTEN President John Sjovall march out on stage in a Roman gladiator get-up…!

Over 18 years, I have seen the organization evolve, from its roots as NSPST (National Society of Pharmaceutical Sales Trainers), to the present day as LTEN. And every year, the annual gathering is a highlight of my spring schedule.

The conference this year was held at the Gaylord Texan, a mega-hotel/destination in Grapevine, TX. The vast Gaylord properties can be a little overwhelming, but the facility and the LTEN staff did an excellent job with signage and traffic flow. It was a good choice of venue – especially because there was BBQ (more on that later). Next year’s event will be in the Phoenix area – the first time there in recent memory.

LTEN Gaylord

There was an interesting mix of keynotes. Amy Cuddy opened up the conference with a talk on, for lack of a better term, “power posing” – how the way we carry ourselves physically impacts, not only how others perceive ourselves, but how we feel internally. This was an OK session, though I didn’t feel the theme was uniquely targeted to our particular audience (there was a lot of power-posing going on during the week, however!) On the other hand, double-amputee model and athlete Aimee Mullins had a pretty inspirational story about not viewing disabilities as disabilities at all. Many seemed moved by her message and example. She’s a good public speaker, though with room for improvement on liveliness.

LTEN power

(feeling the Power!)

When Dr. David Rock got up to speak, about Neuroleadership (aspects of brain science on how we learn and lead), one of the people at my table confessed that she was a David Rock groupie after hearing him previously (confession: I tend to snort at becoming groupies of anyone or anything). I then proceeded to become a David Rock groupie after an hour of mind-expanding neuro-psych-analysis. I’ll bet some others were less enamored, but as a college psych major and highly analytical thinker, I was totally energized! The conference keynotes closed with my friend Dr. Karl Kapp (a professor of Instructional Technology) not only talking about gamification, but delivering a thoroughly gamified session – really well done. Karl’s a smart guy.

One interesting twist this year was a series of 3 EdTalks – 18-minute sessions on more limited topics. Other innovations included a much more robust conference app (including a photo game called Play Click), learning stations in the exhibit hall, Dine Arounds (and other networking activities), and early morning fitness opportunties. The fresh thinking that Executive Director Kevin Kruse and his talented staff have been putting into the conference over the past few years really bore fruit in 2014 – I had the sense that we have finally attained a major re-boot in the conference and the organization.

I had the pleasure of co-leading a workshop on Career Choices with the engaging and deeply-experienced Jerry Clor – there is always plenty of professional introspection occuring about staying within pharma, or going out to the “dark side” (vendor community) – we tried to provide some advice and pros/cons about the various options. There were many good workshops – quality is always variable – with occasional photobombers present (thanks, Sue!).

LTEN photobomb

The feedback I was getting from exhibitors was actually quite positive this year, especially regarding the quality of interactions with attendees. The ongoing tweaks to workshop scheduling has led to some very nice, extended times in the exhibit hall. I was disappointed to see that the size and number of booths continues to shrink somewhat, and LTEN has some work ahead to convince past, present, and new exhibitors that setting up a booth at this annual conference is a good return on investment.

One of my favorite aspects of the conference, not surprisingly, is the networking – over meals, after sessions, in the exhibit hall, and during evening events. Getting caught up with folks I’ve known for many years – and always meeting new people -is the chief reason I attend. Many attendees who knew that my family is about to move from NJ to Nashville expressed incredible support and gladness for us – maybe even a bit of jealousy – and this really lifted my heart. My Impactiviti services (consulting and workshop facilitation and client-vendor matchmaking and clarity therapy) won’t change at all; but now, when you make trips to Nashville for business or pleasure, you’ll have someone you can turn to for coffee, or advice. Or BBQ.

Which brings me to the last point. BBQ. Specifically, Bill Lycett‘s suggestion that we try out Hard Eight barbecue pit a few miles away. Bob Holliday, Bill, and I waddled out of there stuffed to the gills with some top-shelf Texas BBQ. I wanted to bottle the aromatic smoky air and take it home with me as a souvenir of a very enjoyable LTEN conference experience (let’s hope Phoenix has something comparable…)!

LTEN BBQ

All in all, a very enjoyable week. The LTEN staff and volunteers were a pleasure to interact with, as always. Looking forward to years of steady progress ahead with this re-energized organization!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 29 other followers