Where the Buffalo Roam

Where the Buffalo Roam

I am a big fan of the blog WebWorkerDaily and besides being amazed by his ability to parse and provide very useful utilities and information, but his whole edict his around being a free agent and working independently. An interesting notion that I think will increase over time.

And then there is this post by Steve Rubel over at Micro Persuasion that discusses digital nomads. I agree that there is likely a rise in the free agent nation and Web 2.0 technology does enable this, but the trend is not new. Fast Company magazine had a feature on the growing Free Agent Nation back in 1997--11 years ago.

In it is a quote from Kinko's founder, Paul Orfalea, that read in retrospect is interesting to juxtapose against Timothy Ferriss' book The Four Hour Workweek

"People think I'm busier than I am," he jokes. "Basically, I've got this job down to about six hours a week. The rest of the time, I'm wandering."
The point being, the trend is not new and it will continue to grow. I've discussed the flexibility aspects here in the past. However, I'd like to see that accelerate a bit...
Life Lessons: Tom Crean IU Basketball Coach

Life Lessons: Tom Crean IU Basketball Coach

I want to say that Tom Crean is everything you've heard and probably more. That guy is dynamic and has charisma. Definately the right guy for the job at IU.

 He has 4 simple rules for his basketball teams, which on the surface are as baseline and simple as it gets. It applies to being a good person, a good parent or a coach.

1) Make eye contact

2) Be on time

3) Say please and thank you

4) Never let your teammates (or those around you) fail.

He wrapped this up in some analogies to get the kids to understand, but in a nutshell he gave those kids a basket full of life lessons in 20 minutes. Be respectful and be a leader--speak up and don't let those around you fail. He talked about hard work and what it takes to be great, which is mastering the fundamentals.

Good lessons at any age.

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Tear Down Structures to Grow

Tear Down Structures to Grow

I am not promoting this book, but this excerpt really resonated with me. I think we'll look back on this period of time from a political, economic and technology shift and wonder how we got through it. I firmly believe we're in the middle of a shift. You can look back over the decades and pinpoint culture changes that I'm sure during the time seemed organic but looked on years later are apparent culture shifts. It seems that these always occur later in a decade from the late 60s hippies, late 70s energy crisis, the 80s were about the rise of capitalism and Wall Street, the late 90s were marked by the Internet age and now deep into the first decade of the 2000s it seems were into another shift that combines the cultural, political and technology shifts of the previous decades into a massive upheaval.

I could be wrong, but that's how big I think this change is. It is also a reminder that to stay ahead you have to be able to shed old attachments and be flexible to change.

Here is the excerpt and link.

Tear apart structure

An excerpt from EXPLOITING CHAOS

Most animals behave instinctively. Fish know how to swim. Birds know how to build a nest. But for primates, including humans, behavior is learned within a social structure. We follow organizational patterns and rules unless those rules are dramatically changed.

Stanford neuroscientist Robert Sapolsky studies the social structure of baboons. More than 20 years ago, Sapolsky observed a baboon troop with multiple layers of structural rank. Socially senior baboons would beat on middle-ranking baboons who would in turn beat on lower-ranking baboons. Those bastards.

But then something happened. The senior ranked males started fighting a neighboring troop over tourist garbage. Eating trash exposed the aggressive males to tuberculosis-tainted meat. Instant karma.

Over the next three years, the elders died off, leaving the troop absent of structure. Instead of recreating multiple levels of aggressive hierarchy, the young baboons created a culture of pacifism. Acts of friendship replaced aggression.

Instead of struggling, the community flourished. Hormone samples indicated lower stress and the same culture remains 20 years later.

Organizational structure guides the way we grow and the way we think. To spark a revolution, structure needs to be broken down.

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The Future of Healthcare IS Online

The Future of Healthcare IS Online

There is a good article in the New Scientist about the Continua Health Alliance innovation in health care. The headline reads Innovation: Is the future of healthcare online?

I believe it's no longer a question of if, but when. As loyal readers know this is the crux of my position that it is a very long, slog to get there, but we're on the way. As I read the news (online, of course) and see the debate rage with a recess of Congress imminent, I wonder if the approach being taken is too top-down and that is why it is getting bogged down. I have been thinking a alot lately about crowdsourcing, social media and Health 2.0. I don't have all of my thoughts together yet, but I am fairly certain that a big piece of this puzzle is missing and that is the end-user.

Anyway, more to come on that, but check out the article. Continua is a doing some great work with over 200 of the leading companies in the world.

While we don't yet have holographic physicians to consult, healthcare is moving online, encouraged by an international coalition of medical and technology companies. Medical devices from weighing scales to asthma inhalers could soon carry the technology to connect directly to the web, shuttling data between doctors and their patients.
For practical reasons, health workers are often unable to talk to home-based patients with chronic conditions on a daily basis – but they could keep an eye on an online medical record that is automatically updated whenever the patient measures their own blood pressure, checks their weight, or takes their medication. Such technology could help medical workers ensure remote patients are healthy, and detect any problems at an early stage before they become serious.
The move beyond traditional telehealth – remote contact with a patient through phone calls or video conferencing – is being encouraged by the Continua Health Alliance, a non-profit open industry group. The alliance boasts some powerful players in both the technology and medical arenas, including IBM, Intel, Google, Kaiser Permanente and the UK's National Health Service.
Check out the full article.

Image credit: This was created by Scott Shreeve, MD] and licensed under the Creative Commons Non-Commercial Attribution 2.5 License.

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Why You Need to Create a Digital Crisis: A Quick Reference Guide

Why You Need to Create a Digital Crisis: A Quick Reference Guide

Marketing in Rx/Dx companies have a problem. 
There currently is far too little focus on digital marketing and social media. The shift from traditional to digital has been very gradual and the customer is becoming harder to reach.  

There are entire consulting practices focused on change management alone.
Change management is a structured approach to transitioning individuals, teams, and organizations from a current state to a desired future state. It is an organizational process aimed at empowering employees to accept and embrace changes in their current business environment.[1]. In project management, change management refers to a project management process where changes to a project are formally introduced and approved.
In order to understand why change is so hard in organizations you have to understand that everyone is essentially resistant to change in some way and are motivated to change for only two reasons:
1. Consequence.
If I do this, something good/bad will happen. 
2. To Identify  
With a group and find commonality in some way; essentially to not be different.

Knowing this little bit of sociology, you have to create a situation that shows some consequence action (good or bad) and/or will make the person identify with your proposal.
So how do you create a crisis? 
1. Know Your Customer
You need to know your customer and understand in what quantity they spend their time online in digital environments and in social networks. Hopefully your customer is there in quantity and is spending a measurable amount of time using online media (20%+) If so, proceed to Step 2. 
2.  The Status Quo Must be Scary
You have to make the status quo more dangerous than the change you are proposing. Doing nothing is never a strategy. This is the greatest change to marketing is a generation, do we want to be on the sidelines? Proceed to Step 3. 
3.  Hope is Not a Strategy
You have to articulate that hope is not a strategy, as in "I hope social media goes away." Doing nothing will put your company/brand/product, etc. at a competitive disadvantage and a struggle to survive. It has to pretty dire to get attention. Make it realistic but don't pull punches. 
4.  The Trend is Your Friend
You have to show market research and trends that demonstrate that your customers are online and will continue to go online in droves for the foreseeable future. Compare and contrast your customer media time in offline channels versus online channels. Use examples that are easy to understand such as, instead of a print ad in Health magazine with a circulation of 100,000* that perhaps 1,000 act on I can guarantee you that 25,000 people will see my digital ad, I only have to pay for the people that click on it and I can do it for less money and provide direct measurement of what we get for it. Compelling, no? 
5.  Hit Home With a Customer Story (can be allegorical)
Make it real by telling a customer story and draw comparisons to those who are doing it well. Using a listening platform (hopefully you have a listening platform by now) find customers, find customers tweets, posts, etc. and share examples. Indicate that there is a conversation taking place online and that conversation will take place whether we like or not. Do we want to be involved or like an ostrich do we want to put our head in the sand? Your punch line will be, if we put our head in the sand we will get kicked in the butt. 
5a.  Look to the Leaders
Reference what leading companies are doing. I typically refer to leading CPG companies such as Proctor & Gamble and Unilever since they often are out front in driving change. That provides a comfort level because if the leading companies are doing it, then that must be where things are going…But also be prepared to answer how Unilever applies to your business. This is where you'll want to have a stat handy such as, Age 55+ is the fastest growing demographic on Facebook to allay any immediate objections that may come up about the difference between laundry detergent buyers and Rx/Dx customers. 
5b.  You Would Rather Ride the Wave Than Be Under It.
Make sure that it is well understood that this is the first wave and that the bigger waves are coming right behind it, because they are….so action is required now or the risk is getting further behind.

6. Beat the Drum. Frequently.
Hit the message as often as possible. We train sales people that you have to hit the same message 8 times before it sticks. Same applies here. 
Creating a crisis is a skill that every two year old masters in an attempt to get their way. In many cases when competing for time, resources and attention within an organization you have to elevate the issue to a crisis in order to get attention. IMHO, digital and social media falls into that category if you find yourself struggling to get organizational focus on digital marketing. Because today digital and social is the rule and you want to be Winston Wolf of your organization and be the person to solve problems. 

*Numbers are illustrative

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Why Rx/Dx Social Media Needs Like Minds

Why Rx/Dx Social Media Needs Like Minds

I've been thinking about Twitter and particularly the people that make the health care and social media space. I'm a very active observer and a not so active contributor. I know I've gotten more than I have received, but what I find the most interesting is that within Twitter that everyone seems to find the same things interesting, tweets about similar topics and all share the same passion of health care and digital and social media. It's a cocktail party that I personally never grow tired of joining. 

The saying goes that like minded people tend to gravitate to each other. Once they do gravitate that force can be used to either create or divide. Twitter is definitely like that, but I have also realized that anything remarkable starts with a small group of like minded people that decide to challenge the tried and true and take a risk. Apply that theory to Rx/Dx organizations and in order to make social media successful you have to find the like minded individuals within your organization in order to be successful. They serve as a sounding board, a gut check, or a partner in crime, 

Unlike Alan in The Hangover, there really are no wolf packs of one that can be successful in an organization and drive the type of change that is required to be successful.

So my question for you is have you identified the like minded individuals in your organization who will come together and make social media successful? All it takes is a few but mighty and there are strength in numbers.

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Do the BiG Blue Test, on World Diabetes Day

Do the BiG Blue Test, on World Diabetes Day

I have been vocal about my belief that social media is a great way to build advocacy and have blogged about it many times. I have also been adamant that effective social media for Rx/Dx companies must be about the person and there has to be something of value. This is a prime example.

In honor of World Diabetes Day coming up on November, 14. Please watch this video and get active. Visit the site bigbluetest.org Kudos to the many people involved and Manny Hernandez from the Diabetes Hands Foundation. He, like many others, ARE making a difference. It's inspiring.

Disclaimer: I was involved in this through my work at Roche.

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5 Reasons Why Connected Health Care is Not a Sprint, but an Ultra Marathon

5 Reasons Why Connected Health Care is Not a Sprint, but an Ultra Marathon

I've talked quite a bit in the past about connected health care being a marathon and not a sprint; and that full adoption will take time. At this juncture, I continue to see far too much evidence to support perhaps an  ultra mile marathon and that full adoption may be further off than anybody expects.

What's the Issue? 
 The crux of connected health care is that an end-to-end solution that enables better collection, analysis and analyzing data. Presumably, more and better data will yield better insights resulting in better care and better outcomes. On the surface, I fully agree. There are many converging forces such as Continua Health Alliance, Google, Microsoft and many more companies who are leading product development and enabling this transfer of data between devices, to data aggregation (ex. Google Health) and ultimately to the physician and/or patient for review, interpretation and action. However, connectivity brings with it reams of data. That data needs to be managed, stored, reviewed, interpreted and analyzed—everyday.
Can you smell a problem? I do. The reasons for the slow uptake of connected health solutions are simple:
1. Lack of reimbursement for Doctor's, which means that the front line currently has little incentive to change. We know that any behavior change requires an incentive. In this case, it is financial. 
2. Lack of expertise to collect, analyze or act on the data in the Doctor's office. The training required is not trivial to segment your patient population, understand who could benefit, find the tool for that patient, etc. Will a doctor hire headcount, train, etc without reimbursement?
3. Proprietary and open products and systems are fighting to be the primary provider. Honestly, there needs to be a significant culling of companies, tools products and standards. 
4. Complexity and training issues. I see a significant amount of over-engineering. In most business and product development circumstances, simplicity wins.  You don't show how smart you are by making or showing how difficult something is; you show how smart you are by how easily and many you can teach. That means keeping things simple. See: Apple.
5. Lack of a patient perspective. Health 2.0 is predicated on the patient and all of the solutions are B2B. If I have learned anything it’s that social media is not about companies or brands it’s about the empowerment of people. Ultimately, their input into the process is just beginning and I think it will be shape shifting to the market.
In essence, there are many issues preventing adoption of connected health on a broad scale that will remain for some time to come. There is no money trail for the doctor, which is the last mile for true adoption of connected care. Will doctors invest time and resources to interpret data and turn that into knowledge, action and better outcomes? Will patients adopt without direct input?
I think real connected care will happen but it will take time and there has to be a financial incentive / reform / insurance / patient input to make that shift happen on the front lines, which is the doctor's office and  with the patient driving change.  
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