#PCMA12 Day 1: ReThink Pharma Funding

Being the editor of Medical Meetings and having written what seems like endless articles on the thorny issue of pharma funding, I had to check out this 2.25-hour session that used a system called Wizerize—yay, we got to play with iPads! Boo, we didn't get to keep them after the session!

I'm not sure how others in the room might have felt, but I'm not sure the tool fit the needs of the session. Basically, the Idea Rally was a process that went something like this: Each table brainstormed a challenge, then came up with two or three proposals to meet the challenge. We then had to agree on one proposal, and spend the remaining 12 minutes of the 25 we were given to flesh it out on the iPad.

Then the entire room was given access to each table's challenge and proposed solution, and every individual could then rank each idea on its relevance and value, and add comments to improve or critique the ideas. Then the proposals, now attached to rankings and comments, went back to the tables for further refinement. A final ranking of all the proposals was tallied in the system, and the top three ideas were recognized.

I liked the system and could see it working for some topics, but I think for this particular big hairy problem, it didn't allow us to really dig in and get to more than superficial solutions, or first passes at ideas for solutions that may or may not be possible to carry out. Given the quality of the conversation at my table (and there were only three of us), I think we may have gotten more value out of just talking it out among the group, or some other format that would have let us maybe chunk down the topic to something that could reasonably be attacked during that timeframe, then setting us all to the task of solving it through discussion.

I know there were a few more ReThink sessions using Wizerize, notably one on the role of third party planners and new ways they can bring more value to the table rather than be stuck getting in a fee war in an increasingly commoditized meetings world, that may have been more conducive to the system. If anyone reading this participating in one of the other ReThinks, I'd love to know your thoughts (comment below or here's my e-mail).

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