If you haven't come across the new magazine "Worthwhile" yet, we highly recommend it. Check it out at http://worthwhilemag.com.
The premiere issue features a story about Victoria Hale, who was a pharmacologist with Genentech when she was struck with a vision about providing affordable drugs around the world. As the article states, "Four years ago, she triggered an industry wake-up call when she created OneWorld Health, the first nonprofit drug company in the United States. This fall, the San Francisco-based team will move closer to its goal of bringing a new drug to market as it completes trials on a treatment for leishmaniasis, an often fatal parasitic illness affecting 500,000 people a year."
We have been exploring simple rules and it turns out that Victoria Hale offers five rules for trailblazers which seem to fit very closely with our rules for innovation. Here are her rules:
** Think like a scientist. Whether you're contemplating starting a venture or simply moving in a new direction, do your homework and research your options. Always question traditional wisdom and ask, "Why not?"
** Avoid bureaucracy at all costs. Hale created OneWorld Health on a corporate model to maximize efficiency. "We're small and nimble," she says. "We make decisions very quickly and effectively. Unfortunately, there are a lot of slow-moving groups working in global health so we try to light a spark under them."
** Incorporate the "c" word. Creativity and science go hand in hand. Demanding incremental changes from engineers, like improving auto performance by 10 percent or reducing the cost of a bridge by 10 percent, doesn't tend to inspire anyone. At OneWorld Health, researchers may be asked to design a diagnostic test for children that will cost 12 cents. now there's an enormous challenge -- a driving force for innovation.
** Plug ahead. Inevitably, every development project hits roadblocks. in order to stay on track, commit 100 percent to the big picture. "The point is that you don't get hung up in the trees," says Hale. "You're working on the forest."
** Don't play the waiting game. There are a million excuses why the timing isn't right. Your company is doing well. You want to be more financially secure. The risks are too high. But ask yourself, "What do I want from the rest of my career?" Paraphrasing the sentiment of one of her favorite authors, Barbara Ehrenreich, she says, "Life is short. So you better take on the big battles first."
Have a trailblazing week!