Archive for April, 2014

Software Meets Healthcare

April 28, 2014

FountainBlue’s August 8 Life Science Entrepreneurs’ Forum, on the topic of Software Meets Healthcare, featuring:
Facilitator Dipankar Ganguly, CEO, BioTelligent
Panelist Ted Driscoll, Technology Partner, Claremont Creek, Member, Life Science Angels and Founding Director, Sand Hill Angels
Panelist John Sotir, Senior Manager, Medical & Test Group, Altera
Presenting Entrepreneur Rohan Coelho, CEO, Rexanto
Presenting Entrepreneur Parvati Dev, PhD, FACMI, President, Innovation in Learning Inc., Distinguished Visiting Scholar, Media-X, Stanford University, Former Director, SUMMIT Lab, Stanford University School of Medicine
Presenting Entrepreneur Marco Smit, President, Health 2.0 Advisors

Please join us in thanking our sponsors at KPMG for sponsoring this event and this series. Thank you also to our speakers for taking the time to share their advice and thoughts. Below are notes from the conversation.
Our panelists shared many different ways of implementing software meets healthcare solutions: from pharmacy prescription management to simulations and training, from development tools to mobile monitors and sensors. Regardless of the application, the focus is on serving the customer, by improving efficiency through software automation, by training and learning new behaviors in a safe environment, by reducing development time, by better monitoring behaviors and symptoms, or by providing more accurate, personalized and timely products and services.
Software meets healthcare offers huge opportunities, but there are also many barriers to entry. Solutions must serve a market and customer need, and meet policy, reimbursement and regulatory requirements which are ever-changing. Some of the advances in the technology world, including business analytics, cloud computing and mobile applications, are being leveraged in the software-meets-healthcare space, in the areas of sensors and monitoring, personal genomics, electronic medical records, and other areas. Indeed, we are moving to a world of intelligent agents, which would assume a more active monitoring role than a typical nurse or doctor, in a much more cost-effective, automated and efficient way. This becomes so much more important as demand increases for a variety of reasons, including the aging of the population in general, the increasing health care costs, and the ever-increasing demand for real-time, inexpensive solutions from patients, hospitals, care-givers, providers and insurers alike.
Below are some examples of upcoming opportunities in the software-meets-healthcare space:
– Intelligent agents will help monitor, track, report on and inform others regarding basic indicators from glucose to heart rate to ocular pressure. There is an opportunity for automating hardware and software agents and generating actionable reports to people who would pay for it, and making it easy to spread the word through social media.
– Training and education which would help people make positive lifestyle changes and creating tightly-knit, easily-expandable communities can not only help raise the overall health and quality of life for all in the community, but also create revenues for those managing and creating those communities.
– Adopting software and database solutions into the healthcare spaces offers opportunities in electronic medical records, diagnostics, genomics, and many other areas which require rapid processing of huge amounts of data, and generating reports that inform, educate, and facilitate decision-making.
– There is a drive from the patient side and the provider side for patients to assume more responsibility for their care, and training and education, automation and monitoring solutions which are easy to manage and easy to use for laypeople will be in high demand.
– Solutions which inform the patient and their select network will empower and inform, and ultimately help patients live more independently for longer period of time, which is less expensive and more satisfying for all.
– Mobile devices and solutions will be in high demand, if they are readily available and easy to use. But to ensure ready adoption, make it easy for customers to leverage social media to spread the word and IT departments to approve and support them.
Below is advice or entrepreneurs innovating in this space:
– Develop a solution which your target customer can easily navigate and utilize with minimal training. Take into account, for example, the dexterity, visual acuity, flexibility, etc. of your customers, particularly if they may be limited by physical ailments/diseases, aging, etc.
– Consider the security and data integrity standards for the industry overall.
– Protect patient-sensitive information as people are as sensitive and protective of that as they are of their personal financial information, where there are high standardized requirements for security.
– Serve an existing and passionate market, dont just create a technology looking for a problem.
– For many reasons, the adoption rate is much slower in the software-meet-healthcare space. Invest time in building relationships with hospitals, insurers, providers, etc.
– Build your credibility by having a great solution for a ready, proven market, having an experienced team, developing a scalable solution, and delivering based on milestones.
– Consider who will ultimately pay for the solution, which may not be the end patient, and build a business case on why it is in the best interest of the payor to do so.

The bottom line is that there are huge opportunities for those who are persistent, work with all the key stakeholders and deliver solutions to an eager customer base willing to pay for it.

Building and Reinforcing Your Executive Brand

April 12, 2014

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April11Volunteers

FountainBlue’s April 11 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event was on the topic of Building and Reinforcing Your Executive Brand. Below are notes from the conversation.

Whether they came from technical or marketing backgrounds, or took the college path after they started their career; whether they have worked at the same company throughout their career or switched industries and roles across companies, our inspiring and talented panelists thought carefully about how they came across to others, and how to message what they do for whom, making the message appropriate for their goals and their audience.

Whether they were coaching execs and team and others to help them present who they are in the appropriate context and language for the audience, or whether they were positioning and shifting their own brand as they evolved their career, they each recognized the importance that branding has on the trajectory of their career. Below is some advice they shared about building and reinforcing your executive brand.

Be Self-Aware and Authentic

  • Know who you are, what you stand for, what your strengths are before you communicate it. Always act in alignment with same.
  • Authentic, genuine communications will take you a long way in building relationships and resolving conflict.
  • Don’t covet the educational and technical pedigree or titles and salary of others. Build success on your own strengths and terms.

Be Strategic

  • Know with whom you’re communicating and the purpose of same prior to connecting with them.
  • Be other-centric. Listen more than you speak.
  • Know where you’re going and why, and be strategic, folding in the right support, mentorship, education, and results to help get you there.

Build Relationships

  • You can’t make friends during a crisis, and it’s hard to plan the timing for a crisis, so make a network of friends and contacts prior to any crisis.
  • Collaborate with responsible parties to focus on the fixes, not complain about the problems.
  • Know the political landscape without playing politics. Don’t be threatening to people, but do tell it straight, without an agenda. Know with whom to connect when to make those fixes happen.
  • Make those around you successful and look good, as that’s good for everyone.

Make a Stand

  • Promote for yourself in a way you feel comfortable about. Being too self-deprecating and unassuming may leave you out of the running, as someone who may not be interested enough or skilled enough or passionate enough to reach higher.
  • Have the integrity and vision and fortitude to do the dirty work, be the leader, even when it’s difficult. Make a stand, without attacking anyone and be authentic to who you are.
  • Have an educated opinion, based on your experience and outlook and background. But be willing to change your stance and opinion if necessary. Speak and tweet on points that may support your stance.
  • When you stick your neck out and have an opinion, sometimes you stand out and are a target. This can’t always be comfortable. So get support, resources, network and grounding to increase your likelihood of success.

Manage Yourself

  • Manage the emotional side of you so that you come across as rational, gracious and team focused, even when things don’t quite go your way. Sometimes it’s just a test to see how you would handle a difficult situation or decision.
  • Invest in yourself and your success, while supporting that of others in your group.

The bottom line is that your executive brand is the perception others have of who you are, and needs to be actively managed. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but the way you handle the brand messaging mis-haps will be also a part of your brand. So be bigger, stronger, and better with every mis-step, and connect with those who will support you in that journey.

See also Katja Gehrt’s blog about the event at http://sv.iabc.com/building-your-own-brand/.

Thanks also to our hosts at eBay, who have posted a video of the event.

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Please join us in thanking our panelists for FountainBlue’s April 11 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event, on the topic of Building and Reinforcing Your Executive Brand:

Facilitator Jerri Barrett, VP of Outreach, SENS Research Foundation

Panelist Shaya Fathali, Senior Manager, Technical Communications, Altera

Panelist Katja Gagen Gehrt, VP Marketing, General Catalyst Partners, former Senior Executive Communications Manager for Cisco’s President, Development & Sales

Panelist Tamara Lucero, Director of Inside Sales, Cypress

Panelist Emily Ward, Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, eBay

Thank you also to our gracious hosts at eBay.

IoE = Integration of Sensors + Big Data + Supply Chain

April 8, 2014

InternetOfEverything

In an age of personalization, the internet of everything, with elements of sensors for data collection, big data analytics, sophisticated mobile and web applications, integrated with operational elements of customized delivery services will reign supreme. Yack, yack, yack . . . so what does this really mean for the business opportunities ahead? Here are our projections.

Sensors: Sensor technology and adoption have evolved to the point of having too many sensors, not enough standardization. Sensors range from throw-away, single-use models to MEMs and RFID solutions. They can be apps on mobile phones to gadgets that are wearable or not to sensors attached to and even inside our bodies. So what needs to be done to ensure that the sensor technology remains relevant?

  1. Integrate the sensor hardware and reports so that it is integrated with applications and analytics.
  2. Create sensors that collect only the relevant data for specific purposes, short-term and long-term.
  3. Manage the sensor development project so that each individual sensor solution is cost effective and also customized to the needs of the user.

Big Data Applications: Yes, it’s about the data, we have oodles and oodles of it, coming out of our ears, detailing everything from our web search habits to buying and texting patterns, from time spent in a room to preferred heating temperatures, from average speed on freeways to average expenditure for each trip to preferred stores, in preferred months, at preferred times of day. And sensors of every style and flavor will continue to add more and more data to be managed, overseen, and acted upon. The future must include this data though, so here are some thoughts on what you need to do with the data you have, when delivering personalized solutions for your customers:

  1. Filter out relevant data – know what data is relevant, when and why. Create customized reports on that relevant data, so that various stakeholders can monitor and act on it.
  2. Integrate all data sources into a common structure so that you can create inter-relations between the data.
  3. Recommend actions based on data profiles. Allow stakeholders to update and manage which data profiles should elicit which actions.
  4. Let the data tell the story about your customers and where they are trending.

Supply Chain Optimization: Thank you Dell for revolutionizing the supply chain process, making it on-demand. Thank you Google and Amazon for raising the bar beyond that, and aggregating the delivery of products to the door so efficiently and conveniently. The challenge and opportunity in delivering personalized products to the door is that the services must be customized to the needs of the user – not just combinations of off-the-shelf items! So how do you deliver this in a cost-effective way?

  1. Integrate sensor, application/big data information into the manufacturing and delivery process.
  2. Partner with stakeholders across the value chain, making each partner accountable for the customization before the delivery.
  3. Target highest need classes of customers first, for although each will get customizations, it would be easier to deliver customized solutions if you had higher volumes of need for specific types of customizations.

The bottom line is that sensors, big data applications and supply chain solutions will be essential elements of successful personalized solutions, but integrating each element cost-effectively while wowing the customers is the ultimate challenge and reward.

E-mail us at info@fountainblue.biz with your thoughts.

Underground Motivations

April 8, 2014

Stakeholders

Our gut will tell us that something is not right, that someone is saying or doing something, yet meaning something else. But for many technically-trained people, where logic makes sense and one-plus-one-makes-two, it’s a mystery when something someone says isn’t what they really meant. Below are some questions which may help you think through *why* your instincts are on alert, what they are already telling you: that someone is communicating beyond what their words are saying.

Body Language

  1. Does the body language conflict with the words that they are saying? Do their eyes or hands or face or body tell you ‘no’ when they are saying ‘yes’ or vice versa?
  2. Is the energy they are projecting with their body and voice and actions in alignment with the words that they are expressing?

History

  1. Who do you know who knows the person you’re interacting with? Which groups and people have interacted with him/her? What is the history here, both good and bad?
  2. Having ‘history’ doesn’t mean that she/he will repeat past actions, but the past is an indicator of the future.

Organizational Structure

  1. Why might this person say what they are saying to you, and how might this be associated with the current organizational structure? What might they see is in it for them? What might they want from you? How can you collaborate with her/him to create a win-win? What can you do to help build trust with them so that you can both communicate transparently?
  2. What might be a recent occurrence or something in the near or far horizon which may cause the kind of behavior that you’re seeing?

Communication

  1. How is this person communicating with others following your conversation? Is it in alignment with your understanding about next steps?
  2. Who is she/he communicating with, and what could that mean about their intentions?

Network and Growth

  1. Could this person be asked by someone else to adopt a task which he/she doesn’t have the passion or knowledge to do?
  2. Could this person be asked by someone else to expand their network, and she/he is connecting with you to do so, and fears like doing a task he/she may not savor is fundamental to building that network, whether it is or not?

We hope that you find these questions useful the next time your gut tells you that something’s not quite right, someone isn’t who he/she appears to be. Next month, we will talk about strategies on how to build trust and transparency when this happens.