Strategic planning is a “way of knowing intended to help leaders and managers discern what to do, how, and why”[i]. A strategic plan is a roadmap on how an organization can move towards the future. As such it helps an organization to focus and prioritize
BioSci Consulting is a boutique consulting firm that is focused on bringing multiple-disciplines and multiple stakeholders together to drive health innovation. Our approach to strategic planning is centered on the facilitation of structured conversations, or dialogues amongst groups of different types of stakeholders. The result is a high level of creativity that emerges from the consideration and integration of diverse perspectives. We achieve this by:
- facilitating interaction as a neutral moderator to unobtrusively navigate stakeholders through a dialogue by asking questions, and helping them seek answers to problems
- delivering frameworks, models, outlines, and drafts of plans that help accelerate the communication between stakeholders
- applying wide ranging, cross boundary knowledge of different fields of translational research as well as supporting disciplines such as data science, proposal writing, dialogue facilitation, and stakeholder engagement
- using the output of dialogue sessions to identify strategic imperatives and define strategic initiatives.
Our approach aligns internal and external stakeholders and adds the value of being able to make use of the collective intelligence of your stakeholders. The result is an increased level of stakeholder enthusiasm and engagement.
The Founder and CEO of BioSci Consulting, Scott Wagers, began his career as a practicing pulmonary and critical care specialist and researcher at the University of Vermont. Since, moving to Europe he has focused on the strategic design and guidance of consortium projects. In that context he has facilitated over 11,000 hours of online and face to face meetings that involved multiple disciplines and stakeholders in the life sciences. The philosophy of BioSci Consulting is to have our experts themselves work with directly with clients to deliver services.
Below two case studies are described where the emphasis of our work was on the facilitation of workshops with the aim of integrated diverse and sometimes contentious perspectives of different stakeholders.
Aligning a disease community
Challenge: Systemic Lupus Erythematosis (SLE) is a disease where the development of new therapies is difficult. SLE is very heterogenous in terms of its presentation and severity. In order to make progress in the field it is clear that there needs to be new ways of conducting clinical studies and new definitions of disease outcomes. For these types of changes to have an impact, regulators need to recognize and even endorse new approaches. Regulatory agencies, however, often assess the alignment around new approaches in a particular disease domain community to judge whether a new approach should be accepted. The SLE community at the time was fragmented and there needed to be an effort to gain more alignment across the community.
Solution: A workshop was organized that was aimed at aligning stakeholders perspectives and building a concrete plan. This involved a novel role playing approach that began with small online meetings and culminated in a two day workshop with the range of stakeholders in the field. BioSci Consulting organized the process and facilitated the workshop
Result: Prior to the workshop many warned that it would likely not work because of well known differences in perspective between some of the participants. The dialogue and interaction during the workshop was surprisingly interactive and productive.
Aligning stakeholders to foster adoption of therapies
Challenge: Biosimilars are therapies that are produced as a sort of generic for biologic therapies. Biosimilars are widely accepted in Europe, but in the US there are only a handful in clinical practice. There was a need to bring stakeholders together and align them on the value of biosimilars.
Solution: BioSci Consulting facilitated a series of workshops with different stakeholders.
Result: The stakeholders with the most divergent perspectives were the payers, or pharmacy benefit managers. In previous meetings they hardly ever made their point of view known. During the first facilitated face to face workshops a robust dialogue developed in which one of the payer stakeholders made the point that their perspective was to control access as a means of controlling costs to enable healthcare systems to be sustainable.
The payer stakeholder later said that he typically would not speak up in these types of meetings, but after the 1:1 call he began to think maybe he should.
This interaction increased the trust between the different stakeholders as those advocating for increased access to medicines had previously envisioned the payers as just trying to make a financial gain. The end result was a more robust dialogue and a series of follow on meetings with payers and the other stakeholders.
Renewal of a strategic plan
Challenge: The Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation needed to renew their strategic plan and wanted to engage their stakeholders in the process
Solution: BioSci Consulting conducted a series of workshops with individual stakeholder groups to gain insights on their perspectives on the types of problems the organization could solve and an overview of the organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. This was done independent of internal stakeholders. The input of the various stakeholder groups was consolidated presented to the internal stakeholders. A list of possible strategic initiatives was developed and a subsequent round of workshops was conducted with some of the internal stakeholders present. This was then used to consolidate the ideas further and develop a set of recommended strategic areas of focus and strategic initiatives.
Result: External stakeholder enthusiasm for the organization increased. They were impressed that the organization was taking the time to listen and learn from them. Some unbiased valuable insights were gained and a number of innovative and efficient strategic initiatives were developed.
If you want to improve your ability to focus on the right strategies while at the same time building up the enthusiasm of your stakeholders get in touch.
[i] Strategic Planning for Public and Nonprofit Organizations, John M. Bryson