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I sometimes marvel at the number and diversity of training programs that commercial life sciences professionals are exposed to.

Waterfall OprylandSituational Leadership. DISC. Crucial Conversations. Coaching Skills. Selling this. Influence without Authority that. The list, the acronyms, go on and on – as do all the outlined steps and principles contained in each program.

Can anybody really remember all that stuff – let alone apply it in the moment of need?

Or are we overloaded with training program flavor-of-the-month?

As someone who makes recommendations of training programs to my life sciences clients, I seriously do wonder about this. And I wonder how you – people in the life sciences training community (trainers and vendors) – feel about this as well.

Are we so overloaded with information that we become constipated at the point of interaction?

Please share your experience in the comments. How do you, and your colleagues, deal with remembering, and synthesizing, and applying all these programs? Are there strategies you have found to help with the overload?

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!

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