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Monthly Archives: September 2015

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30 09, 2015

Scenario Planning 101

By |2017-05-23T15:42:00-08:00September 30th, 2015|Blog|0 Comments



The goal of portfolio management is to effect changes that minimize risk and maximize value. But change is hard, and corporate change is harder still. People need motivation. The best way to build that motivation is to lay the consequences of the present course bare and make the status quo completely unpalatable. Like Thelma and Louise, you have to ask, “Where are we headed?” In a portfolio review, that means asking, “What will our current investments in R&D, marketing, and sales get us? How likely are we to meet our strategic goals?”

Scenario planning is the best tool in your toolbox for answering these questions. In scenario planning, you play out the value of the present course of action in the context of a number of alternative futures created by hypothetical changes in the environment and in your strategy and tactics. You can do the same thing for a number of different approaches, mapping different courses and their likely destinations. In the process, hopefully, you’ll also convince the your management to choose a plan and act on it.

14 09, 2015

It’s 2015, why is everyone still using NPV?

By |2017-05-23T15:42:00-08:00September 14th, 2015|Blog|0 Comments

back_to_the_future_deloreanWatching Back To The Future again recently, I was horrified to realize that, at the end of the movie, the professor and Marty use their time machine to travel from 1985 to…wait for it…2015. They traveled 30 years into the future, and I’ve aged 30 years since last seeing the movie.

Robert Zemeckis’s vision for The Future doesn’t exactly match the real 2015. There are no flying cars or hoverboards. But he did get some things right: we do have wall-sized televisions, tablet computers, and video conferencing. All in all, things have changed a lot since 1985.

But one thing hasn’t changed: firms are still using net present value (NPV) as a metric to evaluate the potential of R&D initiatives. NPV was first mentioned in the literature in 1907, according to historians. It’s survived 108 years because it does have its uses—as an indicator of investment potential and a summary of an initiative’s cash flow impact.

But for R&D evaluation, NPV is sometimes misunderstood and frequently misused. Let’s look at the good, the bad, and the ugly:

7 09, 2015

Upcoming Conferences on PPM and Innovation

By |2016-03-09T17:44:30-08:00September 7th, 2015|Blog|0 Comments

Fall and winter is high season for conferences, and we’re excited to be sponsoring five different events across North America and Europe between now and March 2016. We recommend all of these conferences as excellent opportunities to network, learn from your peers, and share your own wisdom on innovation and portfolio management.

Boston, October 6-7: 8th Project and Portfolio Management for Pharma & Biotech Conference at the Hyatt Regency Boston. Organized by American Leaders. We sponsored their spring conference in San Francisco and found the conference not too big, not too small, and full of industry veterans doing great work at small- and mid-sized firms.

Amsterdam, October 12-13: Product Innovation Process 2016. This is our first experience with this cross-industry event, focusing on portfolio management and other methods that create R&D value.

Philadelphia, November 2-3: Cambridge Healthtech’s Strategic Resource and Portfolio Management Conference at the Hilton Philadelphia, Penn’s Landing. This is the biggest life sciences event we attend in North America. Usually there are 150-200 attendees at these back-to-back events, with a majority attending both of them. When you bring the resource planning and portfolio people together at one venue, good conversations ensue.

NYC, January 20-21, 2016: EBCG’s Pharma PPM Toolbox North America, This is EBCG’s first version of this conference in the US, in the middle of Manhattan. We’re excited to be part of the inaugural event.

Basel, March 3-4, 2016: EBCG’s Pharma PPM Toolbox Europe, Our new favorite conference in Europe. Basel is a great venue, and EBCG brings together 150+ delegates from leading life sciences companies all over Europe.

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