Podcast Episode
Building an Integrated Engagement Roadmap

00:41:49

Medical Affairs Unscripted logo

About this Podcast Episode

Zipher’s Medical Affairs unscripted features Randi Goeckeler, an industry expert with over 25 years of experience and most recently the Executive Director of Global Stakeholder Relations at Allergan, who discusses how to build an integrated, strategic stakeholder relations program to accelerate availability of treatments for patients and ultimately help them have better outcomes.

Host Peg Crowley-Nowick, Ph.D., MBA, Founder & President of Zipher Medical Affairs invites Randi to share her insights on the challenges that organizations are facing regarding stakeholder relations and how to ensure that engagements are innovative, intentional, interconnected, and impactful. As presented in her Stakeholder Relations Strategic Engagement Roadmap, Randi addresses the differences between transactional versus strategic engagements, and she also describes the required elements for designing a strategic framework for stakeholder relations, while maintaining compliance. Additionally, Dr. Crowley-Nowick asks Randi to share her experiences on how to fuse the focus of regional and global teams. The podcast closes with novel ways that Medical Affairs organizations can use digital media during the current COVID-19 disruption to accomplish objectives that were once carried out at face-to-face venues.

“Ask yourself, what do you want to continue? What do you want to accelerate? And what do you want to initiate and if you can? Begin to figure those three things out, and you’ve got a plan.”
Randi Goeckeler, Executive Director of
Global Stakeholder Relations at Allergan

Guest Speaker

Randi Goeckeler

Executive Director of Global
Stakeholder Relations at Allergan

Podcast Transcript

Peg Crowley-Nowick 0:23

Welcome to the first season of medical affairs unscripted. I’m your host, Peg Crowley-Nowick, president and founder of Zipher Medical Affairs, a full-service consulting firm. During this podcast, we’ll explore a range of topics related to the strategic role of medical affairs from the perspective of industry experts. Through these conversations with our guests, we will share firsthand experience to provide the listener with insights and knowledge about the evolving role of medical affairs. Please stay tuned at the end of the podcast to learn more about Zipher.

Peg Crowley-Nowick 1:09

So, welcome to medical affairs unscripted. A couple of weeks ago, we had the opportunity to talk to Dan Hennessy, and he spoke about Stakeholder Relations. Some of that was about field medical and how they’re adjusting at this time of pandemic and the importance of Stakeholder Relations. Today I have with me a good friend, Randi Goeckeler, who was executive director of Global Stakeholder Relations at Allergan previously, she’s here to talk to us about what it means to have an Integrated Stakeholder Relations program, which is much more than just thinking about how you’re engaging with thought leaders. It’s about a program that takes on the entire organization across medical, commercial, and R&D and builds a program that really adds value to your organization. So, Randi, I’m excited to have you with me, we’ve had the opportunity to talk many times about Stakeholder Relations. And I think it’s such an important aspect of medical affairs, but also for an organization to really succeed in today’s market, I think it’s necessary to have a more integrated plan. I’d like to start though, before we dig into your specialty, I’d like to start by asking you a question about that “a-ha” moment, that time when you really learned something in your role, a time when you have been engaged in meeting with people or putting together a program, a point where you realized that Stakeholder Relations was so important — your own experience with it. Can you give me an example?

Randi Goeckeler 2:46

Sure, Peggy, I’ve got actually two that you might be interested in. The first one was a while back when I was working on a cardiovascular drug. And we had, as a team, some issues associated with the trust and confidence of the product. And what we needed to do was to build an executive leadership from an expert perspective coalition. And we assembled the most brilliant minds in cardiovascular disease and put together a coalition, and the impact that the coalition had became very obvious as we tried to build the trust and confidence within both the patient and the physician communities. The coalition came to the place where we built a set of shared decision-making tools that absolutely impacted how patients would make their determination about drugs and treatments and what was best for them. And that’s a really positive and happy example, the other example is a little different. That was when Stakeholder Relations served in the role of crisis, and there was a crisis that took place within an organization. And we had to assemble not only the most important external experts, but we also had to assemble our most senior executives within the organization. And that required a very quick turnaround and hands on approach. We were actually out of the country at the time. And what we had to do was to create a set of messages — a strategy, working with our corporate communications team, to ensure that we reached the most important physicians to share with them some very critical decisions and data as new work was unfolded, and new data was revealed against the endpoints of a clinical trial.

Peg Crowley-Nowick 4:36

So, a couple of interesting points there — One: if you’re in a moment of crisis, that’s not the time to start building relationships, the trust, the trust in those relationships already have to be there. And if you have an established foundation with a large number of individuals, then it’s easier to spread that message even further and faster, I would imagine, or to gain the kind of feedback that you need to help you make those decisions. At the time you were involved in that situation, did you already have the relationships in place?

Randi Goeckeler 5:06

Yes. And you know, when there’s another piece that I think really will feed nicely into the rest of this conversation this morning. That’s the fact that not only did we know who they were, but we had a plan. And because we had an integrated plan, there was an element to the plan that had a sort of a crisis lever. And so should something happen, we had an idea about who would be our go to folks to contact, and in what manner and fashion we would do that. Well, it wasn’t exactly scripted because no crisis ever is, we did have a roadmap that helped us to identify how and where we were gonna go first. And what complicated in this particular situation was, we were out of the country. And so, we were working across multiple time zones.

Peg Crowley-Nowick 5:48

I think that’s a great story. I, of course, love to hear the positive story. But on the other side, we always talk about scenario planning. And as a medical affairs professional, I find that most people like to think that everything will always go the way we plan, it’s all positive. But when something happens, it’s such a different story when you already have the roadmap laid out, you work the scenario, you already have everything in place, so it’s about execution. And as difficult as it is to get people to think about a crisis, it’s better to have that planned out in advance. So those are those are great examples of why Stakeholder Relations are so important. Before we continue with our conversation, could you just give me a little bit about your career path and how you came to this role?

Randi Goeckeler 6:34

Sure, you know, that’s an interesting question because it’s probably a bit nontraditional. Most of my work has been in medical affairs, but I don’t have a terminal degree. But what I do have is an extensive amount of stakeholder experience. And it really goes back by academic training, I have a master’s in social work. And so, my work has always been about people and networking, and the voice of that external stakeholder, be the voice of the patient, be it the voice of the physician, etc. And so, I’ve worked across patient advocacy as an executive director of a nonprofit, I did patient advocacy on the pharmaceutical side, I did patient and physician education at a med con agency, all again focused on that external stakeholder. And then the last sort of two pieces of my career have been on working directly in a therapeutic category in Stakeholder Relations. And then in the last 10 to 12 years building teams for Stakeholder Relations. And so, I’ve taken some very basic key learnings as a social worker, and really applied them across multiple opportunities in the pharmaceutical industry, but always keeping the voice of the patient and the voice of the external stakeholder most particularly in the last few years of position at the fore of what we do and how we make our decisions.

Peg Crowley-Nowick 7:59

Great story about your career path, because one of the things that I’m finding is that no one has a direct path to medical affairs, in part because most people don’t even know what medical affairs are. But what I do find is that there’s a personality and a drive that brings people to medical affairs. And that’s part of the reason that I’m enjoying having these conversations, because so many people have such a real focus on the patient and the outcomes of the effort that’s going into their work. And I can see how you could take the training that you had and bring it into medical affairs. So, thank you for sharing that with us. Let’s now turn and talk a little bit about what you think are some of the challenges faced by the pharmaceutical industry with regard to their programs on Stakeholder Relations.

Randi Goeckeler 8:50

So, I think that at the fore is the issue, and Dan touched upon it a little bit in his podcast earlier, the difference between transactional and strategic engagement. And that’s really where it starts. So, I think what happens in the pharmaceutical industry, they have a problem and they’re not even really sure how to handle it with stakeholders. They know that they’ve got the field working, they know that they’ve got people in headquarters that are doing bits and pieces of things. But I think what’s often missing in my observations, is a centralized focus on that with either a dedicated individual or dedicated team, depending on the size of the organization and the size of the organization’s portfolio. So, without that dedicated focus, what happens is the work becomes fragmented and then the relationship management becomes fragmented. And then from there, because it’s fragmented, it doesn’t have a 360 strategic approach. It has isolated interactions with physicians, as the example that are not only well-integrated, but they’re not thoughtfully integrated across the entire organization. And I think that’s really where the first stumbling block takes place.

Peg Crowley-Nowick 10:10

So, I can see where that’s, that’s a challenge. But having worked closely with field medical, you see that they build relationships, but more personally build those relationships. So, as they move from company to company, those relationships don’t necessarily stay with the organization, if they haven’t been built across all the aspects of your company, they actually move along with the MSL, who’s out in the field. That’s not what we’re talking about, what we’re talking about is really building long term engagement plan that keeps people working with your company and approaches them from multiple directions. And that’s what makes it integrated. That’s how you bring all the pieces together. One of the challenges with doing that Randi, though, is how do you bring the different functions of the organization together — commercial, medical, R&D, to really think about it from a holistic approach?

Randi Goeckeler 11:09

You know, that, that is part of that concept of the Holy Grail. And so, two things really have to happen, and they’re sort of related, you need to have really strong leadership at the very top, your CMO or your Chief Commercial Officer, you need to have that vision and that shared vision of what you’re going to accomplish. Because the second challenge is the cultural change. And so, the cultural change will come from the motions and behaviors that are set by senior leadership and executive leadership. So, the first step is to really have support and buy in from the highest levels within the organization. And then that’s followed by a group of individuals at the next level, that have a commitment to be change agents, and a commitment to work together towards cultural change. When you’ve accomplished those two things, and those are in parallel, they’re certainly not sequential. All of this is happening at once, you then need to start to identify those individuals on the medical and or commercial side, that can really begin to be those change agents and champions, and then work closely together as a cross-functional team, to begin to address what your medical plans are, what your commercial plans are, who are the individuals that are going to be in us as external experts that are going to be sort of those shared physicians, because not every physician, as an example, fits both a commercial and medical plan. They could have expertise as physicians or interests as physicians that are more commercially oriented or medically oriented. Not all of them fit on both sides of the equation. But when you identify that group of physicians that have that sort of shared interests from both a commercial and medical perspective, then you begin to tease out what that plan should look like working together cross-functionally, and very basic. As really strong bidirectional communication, communication cannot go one way from a headquarters perspective and vis a vis the relationship with the field, both medical and commercial, you’ve got to have your hands on both pulses at the same time, so that there’s constant transparency. But there’s lots of tools out there that can help us with that. There’s viva, there’s other CRM related tools, but they don’t always get to the core of everything that needs to be shared. And so, a lot of it just comes down to really good solid cross-functional team meetings and good communication.

Peg Crowley-Nowick 13:50

So, I don’t want this to become a discussion about compliance. But I know that there’s other people who will be listening to this will say, oh, how does that fit from a compliance perspective and thinking about that interface between commercial and medical, both medical affairs and R&D? How do you see that happening in an alignment perspective, and making it compliant?

Randi Goeckeler 14:12

Sure. That’s, you know, when I built in my prior company before joining Allergan, one of the things that was really important was to set that foundation very early on in the organization. And, again, it comes back to senior leadership and inclusive of compliance sitting in a room and hashing it out. One of the things that I’ve made it sort of my guardrails is that we focus on the expert. We don’t focus on the commercial data and the revenue and sales from a particular physician. I would never allow that data to be seen by my team, and my team does not directly work on the suggestion of physicians and nominations of physician’s for a clinical trial. They might provide a list of names for consideration, but they do not select them. And so, if I had to sum it up in one sentence, selection and payment are never mixed in the same sentence, we don’t pick physicians for advisory boards, we make nominations, we do commercial or medical, we don’t see, as I said before, revenue, and sales data. And we really try to keep a very specific focus on the work we do and the experts that we’re focused on. Now, in different organizations, my team has sat in different places, I’ve sat in a very sort of neutral place in a sort of communications and advocacy space that was neither medicine or commercial, I’ve sat in commercial, and I’ve sat in medicine, and so in each one of the times that my team or me as an individual contributor, as sat within a department and functioned within the organization, there had to be a clear understanding from compliance, that we had that hall pass, that virtual hall pass to allow us to go between medicine and commercial. And we wrote very strict and very specific, you know, SOPs to ensure that we maintained that, and we had very solid training. But it absolutely can be done if you keep that focus on the expert. And you keep that focus on who you’re trying to engage and less about what you’re trying to engage in and leave that to the other team members. And if you keep that very specific hyperfocus, you should be okay.

Peg Crowley-Nowick 16:41

Yeah, I would agree with you.

Randi Goeckeler 16:41

The only thing I would add is that you really have to work very closely with your compliance partner. We, at times, would call our compliance partner multiple times in a week, just to ensure that we were doing the right thing. So, it’s really important to keep your compliance partner as an active member of that cross-functional team to ensure that you’re always doing the right thing. But it absolutely can be done.

Peg Crowley-Nowick 17:05

So, Randi, I think it’s so nice that you mentioned that because sometimes compliance is considered off on the side, and not part of the team. And they really should be part of the team, they should understand the why, they should understand what you’re trying to accomplish, and then work together to do this in a compliant way. So, I’d like to shift the direction just a little bit. Because I know it’s so important for you to give a little bit more information about the strategic framework that you’re using to build these programs.

Randi Goeckeler 17:35

Sure. So, there’s four basic pieces to the strategic framework. We talked briefly about what types of problems you can encounter, and whether they’re communication problems, whether they’re sort of fragmented and disconnected strategies, if it’s sort of in that silo approach, if you’re overusing a set of physicians, and so you really need to understand what are sort of your key business drivers, and what are your key business problems. Once you’ve sort of mapped that part out, you can then really start to focus back on that framework. And we started to talk about it a little bit, there’s sort of, as I said, four elements, you need to have really strong cross-functional alignment. And that cross-functional alignment does not mean just the people in the building. If you’re working in a global role, you need to ensure that you’ve got good cross-functional alignment with every country Medical Director, that that product or the work that you’re focused in on is represented both not only from an insight perspective in terms of what those country needs are, but also in terms of who they identified to be their top global KOLs that they would like to have as consideration for part of that global pool. So, the transparency is not just within the folks in the building, but we really have to think in a borderless mentality. The second piece is this is a competitive business. And it’s moving very quickly. There has to be innovation that drives the engagements and innovation that drives the strategy, both of which are important. Everybody wants to jump to the cool, innovative engagement idea, but innovation in how you create that dynamic and how you create that mutually beneficial partnership. More of the nuts and bolts is also equally important and oftentimes overlooked. I think the fourth element to the plan would be sort of strategic engagement efficiencies. We talked about that earlier in that siloed approach. And oftentimes, without a strategic framework. Each individual team within the organization develops their own engagement. And the thing that really is frustrating is if you have a stakeholder relations person, or an engagement lead in, say, cardiovascular disease and you also, it’s a big organization, and then you have one in respiratory, they might not even know that the two of them even exist. And so, then you’re duplicating efforts in how to create engagements. And these are in large organizations. And you’re not very efficient because you have two individuals trying to figure out how to do this work, they’re identifying their own criteria for mapping, they’re identifying their own criteria for selection, they’re identifying their own elements to the plan. And maybe that wouldn’t be so bad, but the part that concerns me is that we’re not as an organization than having a consistent customer experience, because different physicians are having different experiences based upon the siloed approach to their engagement strategy. So, the ability for you whether or not you have a Stakeholder Relations team or not, it’s really important that folks work together that have this type of function and or responsibilities within their role to ensure that that customer experience is consistent. And then the last sort of piece is the relationship management. And that is obvious on the external side. But it’s also very important internally, particularly when you’re building a new team, and trying to be that agent of change. Internal relationship management is as important in the very beginning and building a new team as external relationship management. So, if you can remember those four elements, efficiencies, innovation, good cross-functional alignment, and relationship management, if you can do those four things, or get those elements embedded into your framework, you’ll be off to a really good start.

Peg Crowley-Nowick 21:44

So, there’s a couple of pieces that I’d like to follow up on with, with regard first to the piece that you mentioned around a global team and bringing in the regional and country level thoughts into the stakeholder engagement. I think it’s a piece that gets lost in many times it’s done regionally, or it’s done globally. And we separate those two pieces and don’t interact. And yet, in order to be successful, that’s absolutely critical. How do you we’re looking at a huge world, how do you manage a team that can bring in the regional perspectives or the country perspectives, and integrate that into your planning? How does something like that happen?

Randi Goeckeler 22:27

Sure, so I can give you the most recent example what we did at Allergan, when I began to speak to the executive on the executive level, and really understand what the global needs were, I think one of the things that I think is important, take a pause and just go back and tell you how I figured that out, I started building the team by structuring a vision workshop with all the executives worldwide, that we identified, my manager, my manager, and our CMO sat down and we came up with a list of internal stakeholders. Once we figured out that list of internal stakeholders, we were then able to invite them to the vision workshop and inviting them to the vision workshop. Since we were building this new function, we were then able to get their insights. And the insights that I got were that they felt excluded that they didn’t feel that they were part of the voice. So it wasn’t that I just intuitively knew it. I intuitively knew that I needed to get their insights, and then assess how well it was working or not working. And it wasn’t working as well as they had hoped. I was not surprised by that finding. But it was important to know because then I knew that I had the investment of those leaders because they just told me what they wanted to accomplish. And then it was easy to identify through them who within their countries and the organization, they would identify as individuals that we could work with. When I began to sort of frame that out. I was then able to see geographically where the key priorities were across the globe. And from there, I looked at my four team members that I had it as example at Allergan. And I said, Alright, we’re going to divide this world up into four chunks. And within each of those, we decided how we were going to organize that. And they themselves in addition to having therapeutic area responsibility, also had sort of Pan regional and when I say regional, I mean globally regional. So, there was somebody that was on point for Latin America, somebody that was on point for North America, somebody that was on point for bits and pieces of Europe, and somebody that was on point for we had divided Europe was quite a large geography. So, we divided it into two and then somebody that was on point for the Asia Pacific region. So, in addition to the daily conversations that they had with their therapeutic area, leads and team members, they also had daily conversations with each of the regions. And so that one of the things and this is so simple, but it was astonishing to me that we missed it in the early, early weeks of the building the team, we had folks that were coming in from another country, from Latin from the Latin America region that were joining us at a conference, back in the days when we could actually meet live and have conferences. And what we found was that there was a few executives from that country’s country, medical director and other few medical advisors that were there, as well as the experts. And we didn’t even know that they were there. And they didn’t even know from their perspective that global headquarters was there. And so, it became obvious to us that very early on, we needed to communicate the ties and literally the tactical execution of a global calendar. And so, each one of my team members circulated very basic stuff here, circulated a global calendar and said, which of you are, these are the conferences that we will be attending our executive leadership will be attending? Which ones will you be attending and who will be coming from the expert’s perspective, to let us know, and then we can begin to align the experts that are coming from the various countries with the executives that will be there. Now, that’s not, you know, getting into real details here. But that’s not the match. The last thing and this goes back to the plan, the last thing that I ever want to see happen is the executive internal executive, the Chief Commercial Officer, the Chief Medical Officer, is available at 2pm. Oh, Dr. X from Brazil is available at 2pm, let’s match them up. That is not the way to make strategic engagement, you need to understand what the objectives of the conference are, what the objectives of the team are, what the physician’s needs are. And oftentimes we forget about that, they would just say, Oh, well, they’re available. So, let’s, you know, pop them into the calendar, that is not the way it has to be done, there has to be a strategic need. And that goes back to the plan. What in your plan was the reason that you were having this physician meet with this set of executives, everyone’s time is really important. And so, you have to be spot on. But before you can get to being spot on, you actually need to know who’s going to be there. So, we started some very basic work, we didn’t have anything fancy, we had a spreadsheet, and we had the spreadsheet, and it was circulated, it was in a shared room. And we gathered that data to ensure that we had a good understanding of who was going to be where at any one point in time. So, is that a good example of how you can do it very basically, without a lot of bells and whistles?

Peg Crowley-Nowick 27:48

Absolutely at two different levels. One is when is the bringing them on understanding what they need at a regional level. And then the second piece is how to execute at a regional level. And it seems so simple the calendar piece, but it’s amazing how many organizations don’t have a global calendar, we spend a lot of time working on that with some of our clients. And it makes a huge difference when all of a sudden everybody knows what’s happening throughout the whole year and can see that ahead of time. But I don’t want to get caught up too much in the technical aspects of how to do it. The other piece that you mentioned, though, that I thought was really important is if you think about care teams today, and we work heavily in the oncology field, a care team, to me is not a physician, who’s a medical oncologist, their nursing staff, and pharmacists. It’s actually much broader than that. So, when you bring in cardiology, when you think about the comorbidities of these people, what the long term follow up is, the care team can cut across many therapeutic areas. So, your point about having a centralized stakeholder management or stakeholder engagement program had really hit me because I think that that’s one of the things that we’re missing is we’re not realizing that the patient doesn’t just stay with the one physician. It’s much broader than that. And you’re missing opportunities if you’re not thinking about it across your organization and portfolio.

Randi Goeckeler 29:11

And it goes back to the strategic plan, Peggy because it’s not just the physician, you might feel that one of your drivers has to do with the payer space and or advancing your work with C suite executives at Aetna, Humana or at a Optum RX. And so, it’s really important that when you develop that plan, and you understand and you have that cross-functional team and you have all that input, that is if there is a payer component that is critically important that you find those opportunities to engage with them. It could be at a congress because that’s where a bolus of folks are but it may mean something else, your team your whole cross-functional team, your care team, as an example going out to meet the executive Did that C suite executive or that C suite executive coming into headquarters to meet with a whole host of folks that would find it valuable. And so, the strategic engagement plan really serves as that roadmap for determining what those business needs are, who are those people that you want to engage with, and how and when. And when back to what we said in the beginning, when everybody is doing it in bits and pieces. It’s all just fragmented transactional engagements, they are strategic within their own perhaps silo, but that they are not organizationally strategic across sort of the matrix, an enterprise-wide organization they are with, they’re really very focused on good and important work. But this should be sort of another layer with which you’re looking at all of the activities to really leverage that relationship to its maximum.

Peg Crowley-Nowick 30:55

So, Randi, I’ve really appreciated the information that you’ve given me on this program, and how we can start to think about Stakeholder Relations in a different way in a much bigger way. There are a couple of things I’d like to touch on. I know we’ve been talking for a while, but I’d like to hit on a couple of other points. One is, I’d like to understand what you’re thinking about from innovation, and what that looks like. And then the next I’d like to talk a little bit about what it means in this time where we have COVID. And there’s clearly a disruption in the industry. So, if you could give me some of your thoughts on those points, it’d be really interesting, I think, for our audience.

Randi Goeckeler 31:35

Sure. So, I think innovation is a fantastic buzzword, and I used it myself and one of my earlier responses, but innovation for the sake of innovating is not innovative. Innovation needs to be focused as part of the strategic plan. And so, what’s critically important in my mind is that the innovation be used for purpose and not just for the sake of a cool idea. And so, places that I would suggest people and suggest to my team, you look at innovation is not only in the way that you innovate your strategy, in ways that you might innovate your engagement, in ways that you might innovate your identification of stakeholders. And all of those are really important to sort of the overall gestalt of how you approach stakeholder engagement. We all love the innovative engagements and the really cool way that we might be able to do something. But there’s probably some other pieces that are equally important. And one of the things that I think is very interesting right now is work that we started to do at Allergan on the digital opinion leader and looking at the influencers and the digital opinion leaders, and there is a bit of a difference. We’re looking for those digital opinion leaders that have physician credentials, and not just sort of a celebrity influencer. So, it’s very important and the work is very early. But it’s critically important to really understand how to identify some digital opinion leaders to really round out. So now, when does that become innovative in your strategic plan, so when my team looks across all the attributes of all the physicians, and we take the time to take a long list of attributes and start to map them out against all of the physician what often happens, and I’ve done this in other countries, when I trained other countries on how to do stakeholder engagement, I always tell the team halfway through the workshop, start to look at where you have gaps, you have a lot of columns and areas that are filled in, tell me where you have gaps. And the social media gap is almost 90% of the time, an area for opportunity, that that there’s not the experts that we have are not as digitally, or maybe social media savvy as we can be given where everything is evolving. And so, taking a look from an innovation perspective at the opportunities for digital opinion leaders is a good place to start. Now, I’m going to sort of tie that into your next question, which was about COVID. And what to do, because the world as we know it, in terms of stakeholder engagement, has been predominantly focused on congress engagement as the strategy. We all go to the conference we meet; we have series of multiple series of meeting after meeting after meeting, we garner all these great insights. I could talk to you another time about what to do with the insights that are garnered at a conference but let’s just assume that you’ve done all that work. And so, what I started to think about from a COVID perspective was that there was sort of five key themes that often took place during conferences. And those were sort of disease and landscape. Overview, we talked about clinical and treatment paradigms, trial updates and ideation, what new trial ideas, physicians had publication updates and sort of a pulse check on the partnership. So, in the absence of having to do that, if we had a stronger pool of digital opinion leaders, we can begin to start those dialogues and conversations in a virtual space, and not so much as we did at a congress. So, what I started to think about is, you’ve got these key elements that you have at a conference, how are you going to leverage them in a nonconference environment. And the digital opinion leader was one way that that could be achieved. I think — look, this whole COVID experience is challenging us in new ways. And some of it has been wonderful. And some of it has been quite difficult in terms of our managing our time and our work life integration. But I think that what’s important is to ask yourself three questions. What new things do you want to continue to do, things that you’ve done that you want to continue? What things do you want to accelerate that you’ve been thinking about whether they’re innovative, or sort of more block and tackle stuff, but things that you started to do that you want to continue to do? And then the third bucket would be to initiate what are the things that you haven’t done, that you really think whether innovative, or ideas that have just been percolating, that you want to build that you’ve never had the opportunity to do, because of this new environment? So, sort of, when I look at how to manage innovation, and COVID, and all that, I would sort of just sort of recap to say, ask yourself, what do you want to continue? What do you want to accelerate? And what do you want to initiate and if you can, begin to figure those three things out, and you’ve got a plan, then you’ll be able to see how the plan can be adapted to address what you’re going to accelerate, initiate or continue — without the plan, you’re not going to know that. These relationships have been so transactional, that now that we don’t have that opportunity, or go to default mode is to have a Zoom, or team meeting. And then we’re…

Peg Crowley-Nowick 37:29

…and a Zoom meeting is nothing more than a teleconference with video, right, not something that’s innovative, it’s just a different way of communicating with each other, which we’ve been doing all along, I really want to thank you for the time that you’ve given us in the thoughts that you’ve shared. For me, I have to go back to the business objective of medical affairs, which is part of the reason that we’re holding this podcast. And that’s really to accelerate access to new medicine for patients to improve their outcomes — How the companies are doing that. One of the most important aspects of that is going to be the stakeholder engagement and making sure that the company has a holistic approach to stakeholder engagement. And if you really want to succeed in this COVID environment, I think, really taking the time to take the step back and build that strategic framework, put an organization together, and really think about how you are engaging is going to make a significant difference in the lives of patients. And I always want to take it back to that point, because it’s not about just meeting with somebody, it really is about helping patients. There’s one last thing that I wanted to talk to you about, you’ve created a graphic recording of stakeholder relationships and how to build a program. Could you just give me just a brief hint of that, I know, we’ll be putting that out for everybody to see. But I’d like to get some, some idea of what you’ve created.

Randi Goeckeler 38:57

Sure. So, you know, all this, all this conversation is fantastic. But in the end, it goes back to a “seeing is believing” role. And until you can really see those cross-functional alignments work and see the outputs of the meetings and see how it delivers to enhance the quality of patient care and drive the science forward. It all sounds good, but people don’t really quite get it. And so, what I set out to do over the last month or so is to work with an artist and create a visual picture of what a strategic roadmap would look like. And so, I’ve got it defined by how you address key issues and challenges. What are the elements of the strategic framework, much of which we were just talking about? And then what is sort of the integrated plan and the output of those plans, and what is sort of the business impact? And so, my little characters in this graphic recording go through the road and they address the challenges, they build the strategic, you know, framework with those key elements and then sort of come out the other side of the other end of the road with some actual outputs and business impact. And so, I’m happy to share that and with you and in the folks that are listening today, and they could take a look at that, if that helps them to understand better how to do this work and or explain it to other people that are working in this space that want to learn more.

Peg Crowley-Nowick 40:26

That’s excellent. Thank you very much, Randi, for joining us today. It’s been a great conversation. I think there’s a lot of information that you’ve shared that will be of tremendous value to the people who are listening. I hope you have a great day and I’ll look forward to speaking with you again soon.

Randi Goeckeler 40:40

Thanks. Thanks, Peggy. Thank you so much.

Peg Crowley-Nowick 40:51

Zipher Medical Affairs is a full service consulting firm dedicated to providing strategic services to medical affairs organizations. Programs designed by Zipher can help you recognize the most critical insights from your in-house and field teams and then capitalize on that data to develop strategic Medical Affairs plans, strengthen your engagement with thought leaders and build cutting edge data generation programs. Success in these areas allows the medical team to provide leadership and demonstrate maximum value to your brand and organization. Zipher Medical Affairs is here to help you. You can reach Zipher at info@ziphermed.com. That’s Ziphermed.com or phone us directly at 508-748-3007.

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