On the move — worldwide

THE POWER OF INFLUENCERS
We are already used to them in social networks, but actively harnessing the power of influencers is still a new phenomenon in companies. Boehringer Ingelheim Japan has taken up the concept and tailored it for a research-driven pharmaceutical company. More than 150 young employees, known as Change Champions, started pushing ahead with the new global principles of working together, rolled out in 2017: agility, accountability and intrapreneurship — AAI. The AAI Change Champions are connected with each other in informal networks and work as facilitators, influencers, storytellers and front-runners. Without any instructions from above, they develop goals, own initiatives and seek dialogue with their colleagues. This practical approach has developed a very favourable dynamic that has inspired all sides. So it is no surprise that the second generation of AAI Change Champions is already in the starting blocks.

 

THE POWER OF INFLUENCERS
We are already used to them in social networks, but actively harnessing the power of influencers is still a new phenomenon in companies. Boehringer Ingelheim Japan has taken up the concept and tailored it for a research-driven pharmaceutical company. More than 150 young employees, known as Change Champions, started pushing ahead with the new global principles of working together, rolled out in 2017: agility, accountability and intrapreneurship — AAI. The AAI Change Champions are connected with each other in informal networks and work as facilitators, influencers, storytellers and front-runners. Without any instructions from above, they develop goals, own initiatives and seek dialogue with their colleagues. This practical approach has developed a very favourable dynamic that has inspired all sides. So it is no surprise that the second generation of AAI Change Champions is already in the starting blocks.

 

In the past year, Boehringer Ingelheim has driven various projects covering the most varied topics. However, there is something they all have in common: open-minded employees with a sense of responsibility, who have consistently and inventively sought answers to change — and found them.

AFRIKA KOMMT!

The “Afrika kommt!” (Africa is coming) initiative allows specialists from Africa to exchange views with managers from major German corporations and to effect change together. As one of the founding members, the research-driven pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim has since 2008 supported this initiative to foster diversity. The pharmacist Simon Manyara from Kenya participated in the programme at Boehringer Ingelheim’s site in Ingelheim, Germany, for eight months. Since his fellowship, Simon has continued to support various projects within Corporate Strategy and Development at Boehringer Ingelheim.

LEARNING TO UNDERSTAND PATIENTS BETTER

What is important to the patient? What are the unfulfilled needs and how can research be tangibly applied to help address those needs? In order to get to the bottom of such questions, Boehringer Ingelheim launched the Scorecard Project in the USA in March 2017. Eight cross-disciplinary teams now look far beyond the therapeutic areas of a traditional research-driven pharmaceutical company – and they work in very close cooperation with the patients themselves to improve clinical trials and gain a better understanding of patients’ needs. This is done by employing questionnaires and one-on-one patient interviews, as well as moderated online discussions on a digital consultation platform.

VIRTUAL PIGS

Pigs are romping about Boehringer Ingelheim’s corporate site in Ingelheim, Germany. But the animals can only be seen by people wearing special goggles. A Microsoft Hololens allows interactive 3-D images to be projected onto the immediate environment. Hand movements can herd the pigs and, when touching them, you can even hear a gentle grunt. A tool like this could in future help farmers administer medicines to their animals. However, this is still a long way off. The aim of Boehringer Ingelheim and the Fraunhofer Institute for Software and System Technology (ISST) was to test in a three-month pilot project the opportunities this new technology can offer. An employee from the IT department had requested further research into this innovative, dynamic digital approach via the company’s special “Accelerate” internal platform. Boehringer Ingelheim agreed to the request and supported the development of the pilot project with 50,000 euros.

TOGETHER FOSTERING SOCIAL INNOVATION

During two days in October 2017, 267 participants from a variety of countries gathered at the Boehringer Ingelheim Campus in Ingelheim, Germany. Their joint objective was to drive the future success of the Making More Health (MMH) initiative. Founded in 2010 by Boehringer Ingelheim and Ashoka, MMH fosters social innovation around the world, explores unconventional partnerships and business models, and encourages Boehringer Ingelheim employees. The MMH Convention gave the participants the opportunity to network, inform themselves about innovative local and international MMH projects, and unleash new cooperations. Three pillars provided the framework: co-creation as a bond between social responsibility and business; social innovation of 85 social entrepreneurs in the MMH network; and the fostering of entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial thinking. This changemaker programme is an innovative way to develop leadership skills. The convention delivered an exhibition, different workshops, success stories, panel discussions and interviews.

ACCELERATING THE DEVELOPMENT OF IMMUNO–ONCOLOGY THERAPIES

The combination of immuno-oncology therapy concepts is an essential part of Boehringer Ingelheim’s cancer research. The strategy focuses on turning tumours that are hidden to the immune system visible and therefore enable the body’s immune system to recognize and attack these tumours — an approach that can be commonly described as “turning cold tumours into hot tumours”. The researchers are focusing on novel approaches that might result in breakthrough treatments for patients with difficult-to-treat conditions such as lung cancer or gastrointestinal cancers. Despite recent treatment advances, lung cancer still is the number one cancer killer. Gastrointestinal tumours have been of increasing importance over the last years and are among the most frequent cancers in Asia. To bring the results of oncology research to patients quickly, Boehringer Ingelheim is collaborating with Sarah Cannon Cancer Research Institute, US, to conduct clinical trials. The expertise of this partner supports the research-driven pharmaceutical company in identifying the right patients and in optimally supporting them in clinical trials so that meaningful results of high quality may be achieved in a timely manner. Boehringer Ingelheim’s goal remains always to accelerate the development of innovative cancer treatments for patients with high therapeutic need.

RIDGEFIELD EMBODIES DIVERSITY

An open, unbiased way of thinking requires a corresponding (working) environment. That is why Boehringer Ingelheim has reshaped its Ridgefield site in the USA. The Inclusive Campus has now been completely redesigned with diversity and inclusion in mind — from its workstations and parking places to its bathroom facilities. Another example is a re-designed auditorium, with wheelchair access and technology to support employees with hearing impairments. The project was instigated and implemented by the Ridgefield workforce. This is a clear example of the changes that teams are able to bring about when everyone pulls together.

DISCOVER IPF IN A 3-D ENVIRONMENT

It is often difficult to correctly interpret the symptoms of the rare disease idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). However, a fast diagnosis is decisive. In Denmark, a virtual reality game is helping doctors to hone their awareness – for example, by interpreting various lung noises in the virtual world, or by investigating healthy lung tissue or that of an IPF sufferer. Boehringer Ingelheim’s brand and communication team in Denmark developed the game in record time last year so that it could be employed for the first time at the annual conference for Danish lung specialists.

TWELVE CITIES IN TWELVE MONTHS

Today’s modern workers desire flexibility and a healthy work-life balance. Innovative companies, like Boehringer Ingelheim, identify this transformation and turn to programmes such as Remote Year for support and inspiration. Remote Year is an organised development programme that brings together a mix of international professionals, freelancers and entrepreneurs to live and work as a community in twelve global cities over a whole year. Remote Year promises to provide personal and professional growth, giving participants the opportunity to learn from one another and immerse themselves in different local cultures and business ecosystems. Anne-Madeleine Kleinwächter, Global Senior Manager Leadership Development at Boehringer Ingelheim, is the first Boehringer Ingelheim employee to take part in this programme. Anne-Madeleine’s itinerary covers both emerging and mature markets and consists of cities as e.g.: Prague, Lisbon, Kyoto, Kuala Lumpur, Chiang Mai, Buenos Aires and Mexico City. Picture: Anne-Madeleine with colleagues at work in Kyoto, Japan.

AMBITIOUS CONSTRUCTION PROJECT

Speed is the name of the game. Boehringer Ingelheim’s new manufacturing facility for the RESPIMAT® pocket inhaler in Sant Cugat, Spain, is to go into production by September 2019. The ground-breaking ceremony took place in June 2017. The path to this point involved several hurdles, but the project and engineering teams were ultimately able to stay on schedule and to obtain planning permission from the local authorities. In the future, Boehringer Ingelheim will manufacture up to 20—25 million cartridges for the RESPIMAT® inhaler every year and also package the finished product in Sant Cugat.

INITIATIVE FOR STROKE PATIENTS

It all began in October 2014 in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. After the first stroke center was set up there, with the support of Boehringer Ingelheim, the “META Stroke Initiative” quickly expanded to the rest of the META region, consisting of Middle East, Turkey and the Africa region. Because every second counts in the treatment of stroke patients’ lives, the initiative aims at creating stroke centers of excellence all over the region, spreading knowledge and experience locally. As a result of the initiative, the thrombolysis rate was increased from 0.001 per cent when the initiative was established to 3 per cent in 2017. The initiative focuses on more than 19 countries, with its board including 14 specialists from eight of those countries. Together with Boehringer Ingelheim and the health authorities, its objective is to heighten public awareness about stroke. The initiative meanwhile succeeded in increasing the number of treated stroke patients from around 1,400 in 2015 to more than 10,000 in 2017. The incidence of stroke is on the rise around the world. The “META Stroke Initiative” is part of the Boehringer Ingelheim-initiated “Angels Initiative” that cooperates with leading stroke organisations and experts. The goal is to improve acute stroke care for patients worldwide.

WHEN TWO BECOME ONE

2017 was a year of change for Boehringer Ingelheim’s animal health business. Two former competitors became one. Previous strangers became colleagues and supervisors. In order to make the transition as seamless as possible, the staff of Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health in the Philippines organised the “Camp ONE” project, a team-building activity not only calling for mental agility. Everybody understood that the merger would mean that everyone would have to operate outside their comfort zone. The project was a success: the new animal health business in the Philippines already enjoyed a significant increase in sales in the second half of the year.

SHOWING POSITIVE HEALTH IMPACT

Communicating results from highly-scientific registration trials and transforming its complex data in layman’s terms is becoming ever more challenging. In order not to lose sight of the overall picture in big data, Boehringer Ingelheim has set in train the development of the in-house app “Health Impact — Care for Patients” (HI-CAP). It enables the measurement of how many patients worldwide have been helped by the research-driven pharmaceutical company’s products. A committed team of statisticians and data experts have taken on the task. The result is an app that converts the abstract concept of public benefit into accessible visuals. The HI-CAP calculator, which is based on R shiny technology, gives an estimated number of prevented events of interest or life-years gained by those patients who have been taking a Boehringer Ingelheim medication. These calculations with all assumptions are transparent and scientifically sound. Initially, the HI-CAP calculator will be used by Boehringer Ingelheim’s internal specialists from Medical Affairs and Marketing. HI-CAP is far more than simply an innovative gadget. The app translates highly complex technical details based on clinical trial results and drug sales data — broken down by country — into easily understood graphic elements and shows the great contribution from Boehringer Ingelheim to benefiting patients’ health.