Can Cross-Functional Leaders Competently Embrace Digital Innovation? HBA event featured in PM360

The Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA) hosted an evening event to address how cross-functional team leaders can foster a trusting and collaborative mindset. This article has been published about the event in the February 2018 edition of PM360, a longstanding HBA media partner.

The event was moderated by 2014 HBA STAR Ilyssa Levins, president and founder of the Center for Communication Compliance. Panelists included two HBA members:

  • Lori Goldberg, CEO, Silverlight Digital, described how to develop transparency among all constituents throughout the copy review process.
  • Debra Loggia, VP, client strategy at FFW Agency, described a maturity continuum for digital innovation which, when studied, can be instructional to the smallest and largest of companies in life sciences.
  • Sunitha Ramamurthy, executive director, Office of Ethics and Compliance, Boehringer Ingelheim (BI) Pharmaceuticals, Inc., shared a business case for the launch of a first-of-its-kind commercial partnership.  
  • Dr. Françoise Simon, professor Emerita, Columbia University, and senior faculty member at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, discussed trends and business cases from her new book Managing Biotechnology: From Science to Market in the Digital Age (Wiley).

HBA New York President Kristy Aro, associate director business development, Arbor Scientia, and HBA Fairfield County President Alexis Stroud, director, ethics and compliance, Purdue Pharma, were also instrumental in the event’s success. The following are excerpts from the PM360 article. In addition, the HBA asked Ilyssa to share additional insights on the topic.

Whether you are developing novel digital products, co-marketing with healthtech companies or designing digital tactics, collaboration is essential. Cohesive teams that trust one another are more efficient and effective. To develop products that are truly patient centric, digital innovation must be networked (co-created). That’s why return on collaboration (ROC) should become a new metric for digital success. When human assets are effectively utilized, companies accelerate speed to market and speed to innovation.

That’s why we launched the Leadership Project focused on cross-functional business partnering. This HBA initiative arms professionals in life sciences with strategies and tools to foster and lead more collaborative teams (which have been proven to achieve higher business results). To date, volunteers on the project have created a robust toolkit housed on the HBA website, which includes white papers, benchmark surveys, business acumen tools and best practice podcasts. Volunteers are currently developing competency programs to increase collaboration around digital innovation. If you are interested in volunteering, feel free to send me a note.

Early and ongoing engagement and input from many stakeholders within an organization are necessary when developing digital products and materials. For example, medical affairs (MA) should be collaborating in the pre-clinical phase with the company’s discovery lead. The reason: MA understands how to integrate the voice of the patient for development of patient-relevant products. The same applies if a company is hiring a chief patient officer. That function should be seeking out MA on day one.

When medical and compliance functions partner to address and limit legal and compliance risks around the release of cutting-edge data, companies enhance their scientific exhange about a product. Copy review of digital materials is another area where early collaboration between commercial and reviewers (medical, regulatory and legal) speeds up the approval of digital materials and initiatives, saving time and money, while managing risk.

Ilyssa is speaking on the topic of networked collaboration for digital innovation at a meeting sponsored by the French-American Chamber of Commerce New England (FACCNE) on 15 March 2018 with two HBA corporate partners, Novartis and Sanofi Genzyme.  She recently presented a workshop on business partnering at the Medical Affairs Professionals Society (MAPS).