Jan. 29, 2013 9:18 am
One way of increasing development speed is to shift R&D development tasks into parallel. This allows us to minimize cycle time. However, in Parallelism in R&D we observed that shifting tasks into parallel increases R&D costs and paradoxically reduces R&D productivity. Once we shift tasks into parallel we lose the option value - the value of retaining the option to terminate development and...  Read More
Jan. 27, 2013 2:59 am
Nothing fails like success. Gerald Nachman Selling change to "successful" organizations can be hard work. To bring about change people usually need to accept that there is a need for change. And that can be a hard sell when the organization appears to be doing well. The Wimbledon Effect describes a successful organization that resists the need to change until it is too late...  Read More
Jan. 21, 2013 1:32 pm
New Scientist have published a neat, interactive graphic allowing you to map changes in the Earth's surface temperature where you live.  Read More
Jan. 18, 2013 11:29 am
One of my all-time favourite Norman Einstein quotes is his corollary to Cipolla's First Law of Stupidity . This states: 1. Always and inevitably everyone underestimates the number of stupid individuals in circulation. In the War on Stupidity, the stupid have a massively unfair numerical advantage. Norman Einstein, CEO Scientific Radicals Some have misinterpreted...  Read More
Jan. 16, 2013 10:15 am
The trouble with smart people is they overestimate the importance of intelligence and underestimate the power of stupidity. Norman Einstein, CEO Scientific Radicals I was reminded of this again when I stumbled on Carlo Cipolla 's Five Fundamental Laws of Stupidity . Always and inevitably everyone underestimates the number of stupid individuals in circulation. The...  Read More
Jan. 12, 2013 9:01 am
Pardoxically, obese individuals with chronic health conditions often have better life-expectancies than individuals with a "healthier" weight. This is known as the BMI Paradox or the Obesity Paradox One reason for this is that those with high BMI may be able to compensate for deteriorating health status through increased healthcare spending. And BMI is a good predictor of healthcare...  Read More
Jan. 6, 2013 5:22 am
Festina lente. Make haste, slowly. In the late 80's and early 90's most pharmaceutical companies embraced the idea of "development speed". The idea was quite appealing. By minimizing time to market we were able to extend the patent-protected lifespan of a product generating significant additional revenues. The industry took a close look at their existing processes and found...  Read More
Dec. 30, 2012 2:16 pm
Wisdom begins in wonder. Socrates Some stunning images of 2012 from the scientific journal Nature . He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed. Albert Einstein  Read More
Dec. 25, 2012 9:01 am
Eighteen years old, enrolled at my first university, I decided it was about time that I knew my intelligence quotient (IQ). I borrowed a book from the sixth form library called Know Your Own IQ and completed the first test. I had an IQ of 86. Now, I'll be honest, I was slightly disappointed by this result. While I might not be a genius, 86 seemed a bit on the low side. I decided to test...  Read More
Dec. 21, 2012 12:22 pm
“I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.” Thomas A Edison Fast-Fail is a strategy that seeks to clear the development pipeline of failing products as quickly as possible in order that resources be directed at more successful products. Implementation expert Iain Grant once asked me why I had to call it Fast-Fail . Good question. Of course, Fast-Fail...  Read More
Dec. 15, 2012 2:14 pm
Looking for a needle in a haystack? Torch the haystack. Richard Peck, Eli Lilly By quickly clearing the development pipeline of failing or marginal products, fast-fail strategies release resources to focus on more promising molecules. This week the first in a series of papers on the Quick-Kill model of drug development was published [1] . This model demonstrates that...  Read More
Dec. 13, 2012 3:19 pm
The Cochrane Library today published their latest review of the evidence . Bottom line? Industry sponsored studies are more likely to show results favouring the sponsor's product. Reference Industry sponsorship and research outcome Andreas Lundh, Sergio Sismondo, Joel Lexchin, Octavian A Busuioc, Lisa Bero Editorial Group: Cochrane Methodology Review Group Published Online: 12 DEC...  Read More
Dec. 11, 2012 3:48 pm
How do we capture the cycle time of a product development process when there is massive attrition at each stage? Attrition which means that most products never make it to market? One option is the funnel diagram. The funnel diagram is is a two dimensional graphic with time on the one axis and the number of molecules tested on the other axis. In this figure we see that as time progresses,...  Read More
Dec. 7, 2012 7:08 am
Parallelism is the process by which research and development activities are placed in parallel with each other in order to minimize the expected time to market for successful products. And when every month saved represents another month of patent-protected sales, the savings that arise from placing tasks in parallel are an alluring prospect. Unfortunately, for high risk processes - such as...  Read More
Nov. 27, 2012 3:52 pm
Goldacre, B. 2012 Bad Pharma Fourth Estate, London Everyone in the pharmaceutical industry should read this book. (If for no better reason than that everyone outside of the industry is reading this book.) The take home message for those outside the industry is that “drugs are tested by the people who manufacture them, in poorly designed trials, on hopelessly small numbers of weird,...  Read More
Nov. 21, 2012 1:33 pm
There are people who, instead of listening to what is being said to them, are already listening to what they are going to say themselves. Albert Guinon The opposite of talking isn't listening. The opposite of talking is waiting. Fran Lebowitz Bore, n.: A person who talks when you wish him to listen. Ambrose Bierce The title is an...  Read More
Nov. 9, 2012 12:55 pm
Accuracy is wildly over-rated: I don't care if it's inaccurate as long as it works. Norman Einstein, CEO Scientific Radicals In The Accuracy Paradox we learned that accuracy is not always helpful. And we learned that models can be very accurate without being especially useful. Similarly, screening tests can be very accurate without being especially useful. Here's an example. ...  Read More
Nov. 4, 2012 6:06 am
All models are wrong, but some are more useful than others. George Box In the Accuracy Paradox we observed that inaccurate models can be more useful than accurate models. Bonini's Paradox takes this one step further and states: "As a model of a complex system becomes more complete, it becomes less understandable. Alternatively, as a model grows more realistic, it also...  Read More
Nov. 2, 2012 7:25 am
There is a negative association between obesity (as measured by high body mass index (BMI)) and various health conditions. Overweight people are often in bad shape. So, we might expect BMI to be a useful predictor of life-expectancy. But, paradoxically, BMI is poorly related to life-expectancy. In fact, obese individuals with chronic health conditions often have long life-expectancy. This...  Read More
Oct. 27, 2012 2:36 pm
Pharmaceutical R&D in the 1990s was dominated by development speed initiatives seeking to minimize the time taken to take a successful product to the market place. The problem with this approach is that most molecules do not make it to the market place. By maximizing development speed we optimize a process that occurs less than 10% of the time. In contrast, Fast-Fail strategies seek to...  Read More
Oct. 16, 2012 1:18 pm
"A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow" - General George Patton "Good plans shape good decisions." - Lester Robert Bittel "It's not the plan that's important, it's the planning." - Dr. Gramme Edwards "The plan is toast as soon as the project starts. It's the planning that's important." - John "Jack" Fisher "Things going wrong are signs that the project is...  Read More
Oct. 14, 2012 8:43 am
All models are wrong. But some are more useful than others. George Box I was brought up with a simplistic model of the world. A world of right and wrong. A world of correct and incorrect. A world where accuracy was king. And then I stumbled upon mathematical modelling. This opened up a far more useful world. Instead of right and wrong I learned of useful and less useful. Of...  Read More
Oct. 11, 2012 5:58 am
At least half the mystery novels published violate the law that the solution, once revealed, must seem to be inevitable. Raymond Chandler This reminded me of the First Fundamental Law of Science . That a scientific truth, once revealed, must seem to be obvious. Norman Einstein, The Fundamental Laws of Science  Read More
Oct. 4, 2012 2:27 pm
The first rule of management is delegation. Don't try and do everything yourself because you can't. Anthea Turner Problems with delegation arise when people don’t understand what tasks have been delegated. And when they don’t understand the limits of the authority they have been delegated. This list is based on Tim Brighouse ’s Levels of Delegation. 1. Look into this problem....  Read More
Sep. 29, 2012 3:40 pm
I don't do subtext. If I think you are a waste of space, I will tell you that you are a waste of space. It's not always pleasant, but I'm not paid to be pleasant. Norman Einstein, CEO Scientific Radicals I've always been fascinated by the hidden language of subtext. Subtext refers to the undertone in a conversation - the unspoken thoughts and motives of people - what they really...  Read More
Sep. 27, 2012 11:06 am
What We Say and What We Mean The executive committee is looking at structures… The executive committee is hoping for a miracle That matter will be carefully considered Stop asking about that matter There will be further consultation needed… We need to talk to the usual heads first ...  Read More
Sep. 24, 2012 2:09 pm
Funny piece from Norman Einstein, CEO Scientific Radicals What your consultant says What your consultant means Sure, we can do that. I'm sure we can wing it. Sure, we do that. How hard can it be? Sure, we did that with another client only last month. We've done that once before. Sure, we do that all the time. ...  Read More
Sep. 20, 2012 2:39 pm
The Plain English Campaign has introduced a new tool for aspiring writers of simple, straightforward English. This organization has been fighting for crystal-clear communication since 1979. Their free Drivel Defence software allows users to analyze their writing. To look at ways of reducing complexity in their writing. Increasing simplicity. Seeking clarity. I tested it on some of my...  Read More
Sep. 18, 2012 2:23 pm
Language can be used both to facilitate and to block communication. The Code-Talker Paradox describes how human beings can create references that are mutually intelligible to each other but completely unintelligible to those unfamiliar with the structure and meaning of the signals. The name code talkers is strongly associated with bilingual Navajo speakers recruited during World War...  Read More
Sep. 13, 2012 1:17 pm
Always plan ahead. It wasn't raining when Noah built the ark. Richard Cushing The trouble is that planning requires cognitive effort. And many people seem to prefer the hard physical graft involved in clearing up a mess to the cognitive effort required to avoid it. A little risk management saves a lot of fan cleaning. Anon  Read More
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