Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Conscious Commercialization and Agile Biobanking: Part II

Conscious Commercialization and Agile Biobanking

A Three Part Series in Biobank Business Planning: Part II
By Lisa B Miranda, President and Chief Executive Officer, Biobusiness Consulting Incorporated


Start with Part I.

One of my key recommendations around strategic business planning for biobanks is to take time to develop tools for success. This includes a putting together a financial roadmap, plan, process and mechanism for recovering costs. Though many biobanks were created with monies from publicly available grants and internal stakeholder funding, the days of “wine and honey” are long gone. With grant applications converting to contract mechanisms, funding in limited supply and requirements for return on stakeholder investment increasing, monetization of existing bioresources through cost recovery is now essential. Willing acceptance of this reality in tandem with timely cultural change about ways to garner revenue makes all the difference in the outcome.

So, let’s return to the topic of conscious commercialization and how this fits in:
What do you mean by the term “conscious commercialization”?

Conscious commercialization begins with thinking about how business rules can meet the needs of the entire stakeholder community and still fulfill one’s bottom line. It incorporates a well-defined and thoughtful process about how to monetize an entity - i.e. biospecimen core facility. Groups that focus on finding creative, mixed and/or alternative mechanisms to generate revenue are essentially commercializing a percentage of their operations.

The term, “conscious commercialization” emanated from an idea in the business world disseminated by Whole Foods Market co-founder John Mackey and Raj Sisoda, PhD. The strategy centers on the belief that both business and capitalism are inherently good and that one can build on the foundations of capitalism, (e.g. voluntary exchange, entrepreneurship, competition, freedom to trade and the rule of law.) According to the theory, for a company to really be healthy it must incorporate elements of relationship building i.e. trust, compassion, collaboration and value creation.

Mackey and Sisoda’s philosophy is built on four pillars: higher purpose, stakeholder orientation, conscious leadership and conscious culture. These pillars (seen below in Figures 1 & 2) also intuitively apply to business conside
rations in the biobanking world, what we refer to as “biobusiness”:
Mackey and Sisoda' phylosophy behind biobanking and biobusiness

The four pillars adapted for biobank business planning (“biobusiness”):

    Higher Purpose (a.k.a. Mission): Recognizing that every biobank has some mission that defines its creation and higher purpose. While its purpose may not necessarily be to generate profit, it does bring in dependable sources of funds and/or revenue. This revenue can drive the mission forward. By sustainability focusing on its mission, the biobank can inspire, engage and energize its stakeholders.

    Stakeholder Orientation: Recognizing that the capability to achieve innovation in medicine, life science, and biobanking is interdependent and reliant on the human foundations of business. A biobank needs to create tangible value with and for its various stakeholders (e.g. funders, customers, employees, vendors, investors, scientific and medical communities, etc.). Real time recognition of this fact leads to a healthy business system.

    Conscious Leadership: Biobanks are created and guided by leaders – people who see a path and inspire others to travel along the path. Conscious Leaders understand and embrace the Higher Purpose (mission) of business and focus on creating value for and harmonizing the interests of the business stakeholders. They recognize the integral role of culture and purposefully cultivate Conscious Culture.

    Conscious Culture: The core values, principles and practices – underlying the social fabric of the biobank’s business infrastructure and key activities, which connects the stakeholders to each other integrating the purpose, people and processes that comprise the value of the organization.

      Figures and text adapted from the book “Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business” by John Mackey and Raj Sisoda, PhD and website reference: www.consciouscapitalism.org

      The take home for me, at least from reading about their idea, is that commercialization to some degree while not for everyone can be a positive activity. It can be leveraged successfully to meet your business goals while still serving your biobank’s organizational mission. One can inherently create more value by applying validated business strategies that clearly define the goals of your organization (e.g. biobank) while working cooperatively with your stakeholders to help drive economic viability. We can utilize the free market economy as an opportunity to drive progress forward. Biobanks and their stakeholders (including industry) play synergistic roles in innovation. We all need each other to thrive.

      Tune in on July 7th for part three of the series when I present observations from peer case studies demonstrating how conscious commercialization and agile biobanking strategies can drive success in biobank utilization.

      About the Author:
      Lisa Miranda is President & Chief Executive Officer of Biobusiness Consulting Incorporated, a biobanking and biotechnology commercialization advisory with global reach based in the Greater Boston Area. She has 25 years of experience, complimented with 14 years of higher education including nine years of graduate study at the University of Pennsylvania (UPENN). She began her career in clinical care and community based research in local hospitals and then moved to clinical and epidemiology research. She spent over 14 years in research at UPENN conducting clinical and investigator initiated trials to bring new drugs and clinical therapies to market, testing and helping develop emerging medical/surgical technologies, diagnostic devices and evaluating novel biotechniques. In 2005 she launched and directed her first core facility a biospecimen resource for UPENN called TTAB. Recruited for her first consulting job in 2007 as a contractor for the United States National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute’s Biorepositories and Biospecimens Research Branch (BBRB), she expanded her consulting practice full time in 2008. Known worldwide as a biobanking and clinical research subject matter expert, much of her work focuses on: biobank business planning, strategic development of biospecimen research applications and biotechnology commercialization. Prior biobanking and biotechnology commercialization Executive positions have included: Vice President, Strategy and Business Development for MEMS based Biotechnology Company Bluechiip, Vice President, Strategic Alliances and International Biobank Relations, Trans-Hit Biomarkers, and Technical Director, Tumor Tissue and Biospecimen Bank Core Facility, UPENN. For more information email Lisa: lisabmiranda@biobusinessconsulting.com or download her 2014 podcast on the future of biobanking.


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