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Health information commitment

Health is one of the main demands and concerns of citizens.  The best response to this demand is to provide more and better health information to a public audience that is becoming increasingly more informed and educated on these matters.

To communicate to society all that is related to their quality of life and health demands excellence, professionalism, devotion, passion and responsibility as society itself demands accurate, rigorous and accessible information.

Regarding health issues, the media perform two main functions; it can interpret for the public the scientific information and government policies and, at the same time, reflect the concerns of society.

Journalists increasingly demand deep, specialised and precise knowledge of issues that form part of everyday life in terms of health and care, and, to this end, health institutions (companies, healthcare institutions or organisations working in the health sector) must provide the media with this information so that it may be deciphered, disseminated and made accessible to society as a whole.

As an organisation, the added value we bring to communications when we talk about health is significant, because we talk about issues such as science, innovation and the value of medicine.  It is imperative to transmit this value beyond the business level, and help to develop and preserve the image of the sector.  It is necessary to work not only individually but also as a sector and in partnership with the institutions encompassed within this field.

It is along these lines that we must trace a path for health and medicine to not just become integrated into current affairs, but for this to be done with greater specialisation and generation of information.

Particular characteristics of the pharmaceutical industry

Specifically within the environment of the pharmaceutical industry communication is also subject to regulatory and legal framework governing its reporting activity.

On a basic level, there is the Spanish Code of Practice for the Promotion of Pharmaceutical Industry Medicines, a code for self-regulation of the relations of the pharmaceutical companies with healthcare professionals and patient associations, in accordance with which any information or action aimed at raising awareness amongst the general population requires strict controls for approval.  Amongst these regulations, it is not permitted to use drug trademarks in communications addressed to the general population.

On a secondary level, own Internal Deontological Codes, such as the Code of Conduct, in our case, Novartis, a benchmark for appropriate behaviour and set rules to deal with our employees, customers, suppliers, authorities and the general public. To establish attractive working conditions and to protect the assets and interests of Novartis.

Corporate communications in health

In a corporate environment, communication is based on the image, on the identity of the company that defines the essence of what it is and the communication processes established to project that image.  The identity of the company, its culture, relational system and communication are key components of the new management.

In the specific case of the Novartis Group, communication is a medium to convey the objectives of the organisation; it is used to develop and implement the information policy and reporting for internal and external audiences; it coordinates, strengthens and supports the implementation of policies concerning reputation, social responsibility and transparency.

The Communications Department is responsible for the detection and channelling of informational opportunities and maintains relationships with stakeholders, as well as handling management of all activities related to communication, media and information channels.

In order to carry out effective and professional communication within an organisation, it is necessary to provide added value through innovation and trust; to carry out 360° multi-channel communication (without thinking only in terms of the written word); maintain commitment and collaboration with the sources of information (scientific associations, academic organisations, journals of renowned prestige, patient associations, hospital managers and health professionals).  All this with the support of the media, adapting communications to different types of media with differential strategies based on audiences and the needs of each channel.

It was during one of those typical 90s events of the last century when I first experienced the communicative potential of sport applied to business management. As a new sales team leader I had to give a presentation to a large group that included, besides the national sales team, managers from other departments and overseas guests, not least the director of EMEA who did not look favourably upon the “youngster” who had started in Finance and was now dealing with Sales. It occurred to me to combine a traditional presentation with images of judo taken during the Barcelona Olympics, in which I had participated as head of the Competition Secretariat. I found it very easy to convey the message, and most importantly, I managed to surprise and motivate the audience. As a result I was able to dispel the doubts of the European director and my colleagues within the experienced sales team. Today I still remember the presentation that inspired me to develop years later the method of Judo Management.

The event should amaze and inspire. The format is specially created to provide information and the ultimate goal is to create long-term memory. So how did judo help me to achieve these aims?

Judo, which is Japanese for “the way of flexibility”, was founded by Jigoro Kano at the end of the 19th century with eminently training purposes. To combat his physical weaknesses, Kano began practising ju-jitsu, a martial art without weapons developed by and for samurais, discovering through his practice that he was not only become stronger physically but also intellectually and therefore could apply it to his life experiences. That is why judo embodies, as well as the citius altius fortius (faster, higher, stronger) of the Olympic programme, which it has been part of since 1964, an additional intellectual and moral dimension, in the words of Jigoro Kano: “The main goal of Judo is to instil in the soul of man a spirit of respect for the principles of maximum efficiency, and prosperity and mutual aid to be applied to your life.

Judo is not just storytelling, a tale to accompany the principles, tools and tasks of management, it is management in itself. It is learning to use resources effectively and efficiently. Using it as input and associating it with the appropriate input can achieve the desired effect. The key is to correctly associate the verbal message and the visual stimulus. The design of the event with a multi-sensory integration of information contributes to strengthen the message and enhances the learning experience.

Currently the judo management method, in addition to verbal and visual presentation, also combines performing judo exercises for non-judo practitioners, and in this way the participant focuses better and absorbs more content for which the event has been organised.

This is an innovative format that updates and provides training for professionals in a world that is constantly changing and becoming increasingly faster. There is no doubt that it is necessary to find proposals that break with rigid frameworks and events that resemble each other. The goal is that attendees will be inspired and leave with a unique souvenir, just like Nelson Mandela in Barcelona ’92.

Ferran Agúndez

Founder of Judo Management

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