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So now we’re at the start line, participants are at the ready… and waiting.

However before we dive straight in I first want to strongly advise those of you who haven’t read part one of this two-part blog to take the time and to find out a bit more about the origins of our Partnership Initiative, Kollider, here.

It was finally here – the long-awaited Partnership Initiative was underway! With participants gathered from Paris, Brussels, Switzerland, Atlanta, and all points across North West England, ready to meet, greet and get cracking, the day started in typical British summer style –in the rain!

But we didn’t let that dampen our spirits. After a bit of drying off and warming up with that quintessential northern “brew” (or for some, a more Parisian-style coffee), participants were finally introduced to their team members and bonded within seconds. No longer an employee of the Belgian biotech or Ashfield Healthcare Communications, individuals quickly became five close knit units – known, for the following 48 hours, as the red, blue, green, yellow and purple teams, with their own base camp into which no other team member could step without invitation! Competitive? Well, maybe just a little!

With all ‘client-agency’ walls down, the teams gathered to hear the “challenge owners” share the ins and outs of the therapy areas that were the focus of their challenge.

“People here are really sharing their knowledge and background of the issue… ensuring we can all work together. From our point of view it’s quite helpful and generous to share such information and to be open to receive some critique and feedback from someone totally different.”
Jérémie Affergan, Senior Purchasing Manager

After much questioning, came the time to let the “problem solving” officially commence. So off to their breakout rooms, where each team got underway with the deep-dive research session and unsurprisingly, project leaders quickly came to the fore bringing clear organisational skills. It was a morning, and for many an afternoon, during which heated, but constructive debates became the norm.

“What really stood out for me was how quickly our group actually became a team and felt like a team; this was with colleagues from across the Ashfield group, who I’ve not worked with before, and obviously our clients– but actually that team dynamic really worked from the beginning.”
Jo Fearnhead-Wymbs, Patient Engagement Director, Ashfield Healthcare Communications

With only hours remaining on day one, brains and stomachs were nearing empty (boy, that lasagne went FAST!), and it became evident that the teams were in a mix of places. Some had already formed the outline of their proposed solutions from the multitude of ideas they had come up with… while others were still immersed in dissecting their challenge. Don’t be fooled though, despite the progress that had been made on day one, all teams worked up until the rather late final hour and when the ”hard finish” was announced, everyone was sent off for some much needed rest and relaxation.

Not so much time to rest!

After that late night was over – too soon for most – the second morning kicked off early and with only 3 hours remaining, teams had to really knuckle down, pick a final solution from their wardrobe full of ideas, and take it forward to the judging panel. In spite of their different approaches and the speed at which they came to their solution, when presentation time arrived, each team delivered their own polished presentation, given in front of all participants and the discerning panel of judges. For this presentation, each team was tasked with rapidly encapsulating and articulating their challenge and solution during a strict 10-minute slot.

With 60 minutes of intense presenting and questioning over, and a final sigh of relief, the teams left the room to allow the judges to commence their tough, but fair, deliberations. In the end, with less than a point between the top teams, a “winner” was announced… but winning was relative. Today, many of the solutions that were presented, and some additional ideas that were discussed throughout the 2-day event, are in various stages of implementation.

So with the initiative now behind us, and to pre-empt a few questions you may ask, we all have to say:

  • Would we do it again? ABSOLUTELY! (once we’ve recovered)
  • What made it so successful? Hard work, honest and open discussion and challenge, collaboration and access to the right experts on both sides
  • Who was the winner? Without sounding cheesy, we were all winners. Amazing outcomes to each of the challenges has meant that not only the official winner will be taken forward, but others too!

Now to the final word. Was this a good use of two days?

Without a shadow of a doubt, we can honestly say on behalf of all those involved from our client and everyone at Ashfield Healthcare Communications… unreservedly YES!

If you’d like to learn more about how Kollider can help you and your business challenges, please contact Candace via email the authors

Candace Shaw, Communications Director, Ashfield Digital & Creative
Candace is Communications Director within Ashfield Digital & Creative, part of Ashfield Healthcare Communications. She manages and coordinates the creation of all communications for Ashfield Digital & Creative, supporting strategic initiatives while ensuring the high standards and ethos of Ashfield Digital & Creative are adhered to. With more than 12 years’ experience in healthcare communications, and an interest in industry trends, Candace also leads a number of innovation initiatives including the Ashfield Healthcare Communications Hackathon – Kollider.

Stephanie Tortell, SVP Group Medical Director, Ashfield Healthcare Communications
Stephanie brings more than 25 years of industry and agency experience to her role at Ashfield, where her current focus is on supporting Ashfield’s Patient Centre of Excellence both enhancing our external leadership and internal collaboration.

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