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Pfizer

P

Interviewee

182 Project Leader

Team Advantages

Team Disadvantages

0, 2

Project Outcome

Unsuccessful

Industry

Medical

Location

London

Team Risk Tolerance

Team Dynamics

TeamDynamics_Indecisive

Company

Pfizer


I had a little tiny project where basically, I felt like what the client wanted was not what people wanted, and we basically ended up saying, "We should just stop our work now." It wasn't political. It wasn't a problem with relationships with the client or anything like that. They were interested in a technology for technology's sake, and we basically said, "People don't care about that technology, or about the perceived need that the technology is answering," and so that's a place where we've not finished a project. But I think in the end, that's probably considered successful consultmanship, because we were basically really positive about it. [8478]
A project that doesn't go so well. They're all just so terribly successful. I had a little tiny project where basically, I felt like what the client wanted was not what people wanted, and we basically ended up saying, "We should just stop our work now." It wasn't political. It wasn't a problem with relationships with the client or anything like that. They were interested in a technology for technology's sake, and we basically said, "People don't care about that technology, or about the perceived need that the technology is answering," and so that's a place where we've not finished a project. But I think in the end, that's probably considered successful consultmanship, because we were basically really positive about it. [8472]
They were interested in a technology for technology's sake, [8489]
The project I mentioned with the stakeholder who was passive-aggressive, and not very helpful, that as a project on cholesterol medication, and I think what was less successful about that is this enormous company, Pfizer, they make bazillions of dollars every second of the year, and they invest in so many different strategies and organizations and creative agencies that it's hard to see where ... The piece of work they gave IDEO was probably a pretty generously sized project for us. Not huge, but a decent size project, and for us it was pretty big, and we paid quite a lot of attention it, and had a pretty large team on it, but for them, it was just one of 20 projects like that, and so trying to figure out ... And I guess this comes back to how well you know your client, how much trust they have in you. [8479]
e was satisfied with our work, but he never really connected with us as a strategic partner. He basically had a little extra money and said, "I'll have IDEO look into some of these things," and we delivered nice work that he was pleased with, but he never really opened up to what else is happening for him, [8491],[8490]
He was satisfied with our work, but he never really connected with us as a strategic partner. He basically had a little extra money and said, "I'll have IDEO look into some of these things," and we delivered nice work that he was pleased with, but he never really opened up to what else is happening for him, for his part of the organization, what are their strategic goals? What are all these other little initiatives you're doing? How can we make sure we're supporting those? Of course, we asked all of those questions, but he just didn't tell us, and he didn't ever so much as come out to dinner with us. I think they were pleased, I'm just not sure anything ever happened with the work that we did. There was some interesting stuff that we uncovered, and I think it's mostly because we were treated like one of many agencies and not as a strategic partner. [8469],[8480],[8474]
just never really stopped to share with us the big picture. I guess I just would have pushed back a lot more on that. [8493],[8492]
Well, I think I definitely would have tried to have the conversations about what else is going on. I mean, it's hard, because we invited him out to dinner a hundred times. There are milestones in a project. There's a kickoff meeting, and there's a midway meeting, and a blah blah meeting, and the meetings we would schedule from 2:00 to 4:00 P.M. on Monday. He would show up at 2:01 and leave at 4:00, and that was it. What we tried to do was say, "Hey, why don't we meet before for an hour?" And he'd go, "I'll try to put that on my schedule." Or we'd say, " How about we meet for drinks or coffee or dinner afterwards just so we can talk about how it went?" "Oh, sorry. I'm busy." That kind of thing. There was just never extra time to connect with this guy. If you wanted to make a phone call and talk about things, you could, but he was just such a busy person, running from meeting to meeting to meeting to meeting, to probably all these agencies, that he just never really stopped to share with us the big picture. I guess I just would have pushed back a lot more on that. [8470]
"Let's throw money at five different places and see what comes out." [8496],[8497]
He's the one who had the market research person reporting to him who was quite passive-aggressive, and actually damaging to our project. We had some politically difficult conversations with him to say, " Hey, this woman is not being very helpful, and we could be delivering a lot more for you if you would help her help us. [8483],[8486]
I think he just had this attitude that, "Let's throw money at five different places and see what comes out." It was more competitive. I think it was his whole attitude what we would deliver for him. It also, I think, depends on what the client is looking for, and that's something we've found in the current business climate, that often budgets are shrinking, and sometimes what a client needs is something very small. They just need an idea. What's the next successful idea for Vittel Water, for instance? They don't necessarily want a strategy for Vittel Water. Normally, IDEO defaults to, "Here are a thousand cool little ideas for you, Vittel, but what we really want to tell you about is this new strategy moving forward," you know what I mean? [8484]
Normally, IDEO defaults to, "Here are a thousand cool little ideas for you, Vittel, but what we really want to tell you about is this new strategy moving forward," you know what I mean? PROJECT ID [8495],[8494]
Probably, and he was very confident. He wasn't a non-confident person. He's the one who had the market research person reporting to him who was quite passive-aggressive, and actually damaging to our project. We had some politically difficult conversations with him to say, " Hey, this woman is not being very helpful, and we could be delivering a lot more for you if you would help her help us. If she's leading three of these other things, and we're doing this one, how can we help her look good with these other things? How can we not reinvent the wheel?" I think he just had this attitude that, "Let's throw money at five different places and see what comes out." It was more competitive. I think it was his whole attitude what we would deliver for him. It also, I think, depends on what the client is looking for, and that's something we've found in the current business climate, that often budgets are shrinking, and sometimes what a client needs is something very small. They just need an idea. What's the next successful idea for Vittel Water, for instance? They don't necessarily want a strategy for Vittel Water. Normally, IDEO defaults to, "Here are a thousand cool little ideas for you, Vittel, but what we really want to tell you about is this new strategy moving forward," you know what I mean? [8481]
With him, we had this really great insights, and we had this really nice way that they could strategically think about their drug and their patients in a new way that could be really successful, and really much better for patients, and therefore, better for them, but they just weren't coming to us for that, I think. [8498]
With him, we had this really great insights, and we had this really nice way that they could strategically think about their drug and their patients in a new way that could be really successful, and really much better for patients, and therefore, better for them, but they just weren't coming to us for that, I think. I think they were viewing us as one agency of many who was possibly coming up with little nuanced ideas that, all thrown in a big pot, would add to their business. That was another thing I'm remembering now. It was quite a long time ago, but we would have an idea, and it would be very similar to something they already do, but the nuances were slightly different. It's about the tone of voice or the way that ... With cholesterol, it's a tough illness or condition, because you can't feel it. You don't know if you have high or low cholesterol, and you don't really know if it's going to affect you or not, and the outcome could be that you possibly have a heart attack or a stroke at some time in the future, but you don't know when that might be. [8466]
"We already have that. We already have a way to track cholesterol." We'd say, "We see that, but it's not the same subtle way. See what we've done here. Blah blah blah." They never quite got that, so I don't know how much more you can explain things or ... Anyway. [8501],[8499],[8500]
It's really abstract for people, and also, people feel like they can control their cholesterol. Anyway, so there are all these really interesting insights around cholesterol, and so a lot of the ideas that we had were very subtle about these intangible, nuanced understandings of it. Yeah, so we'd say, " Okay, if you want people to track their cholesterol over time, here are the ways that you could do it in a more subtle way, giving them more control, et cetera," and they'd say, "We already have that. We already have a way to track cholesterol." We'd say, "We see that, but it's not the same subtle way. See what we've done here. Blah blah blah." They never quite got that, so I don't know how much more you can explain things or ... Anyway. [8467],[8475]
I mean, again, I think everything comes down to communication. I always think that if IDEO isn't successful at communicating the nuance behind our ideas, then we may as well not come up with the ideas, and so figuring out how to switch the light bulb on for the client is the main goal of any project, I guess. [8471]
I put that out of my mind. That was the first project I came over to London to work on. She was absolutely convinced that women needed this shoe, and the problem is when you talk to people, you're kind of like, "Yeah, I could see using that," but then if you really talked to people, there's no way they'd ever use something like that. [8468],[8473],[8477],[8487]
No, and she absolutely couldn't get it. The worst part was, she got special funding to come to IDEO, and she was sort of a friend of IDEO. It was miserable in every possible way. [8503],[8502]
No. No, and she absolutely couldn't get it. The worst part was, she got special funding to come to IDEO, and she was sort of a friend of IDEO. It was miserable in every possible way. [8476],[8482],[8488]
people said, "Yeah, I guess it's all out there, but frankly, I cannot be bothered to be worrying about that. There are so many other things in my life that I can worry about, [8504]
I actually handed this out to all their employees, what that would mean. There are often just people who have an idea for the idea's sake, and these guys wanted to capitalize on the fear that was happening. Anyway. [8505]
On the client side, the cholesterol project was the one main guy, but he had his market research lady who passively affected a lot of the decision-making, so maybe one and a half. On our side, we had me as the project manager, and then the support of these two senior people at least, so it was at least three, three decision-makers, maybe. [8485]
Reference Tags
[8478] Lack of real innovation mandate,[8472] Confirmation bias,[8489] Pro-innovation bias,[8479] Lack of real innovation mandate,[8491] Lack of real innovation mandate,[8490] Vague goals,[8469] Communication issues,[8480] Lack of real innovation mandate,[8474] Insufficient Feedback,[8493] Communication issues,[8492] Insufficient Feedback,[8470] Communication issues,[8496] Lack of real innovation mandate,[8497] Vague goals,[8483] Unresolved relationship conflict,[8486] Woman blaming woman,[8484] Vague goals,[8495] Scope creep,[8494] Vague goals,[8481] Lack of real innovation mandate,[8498] Alignment,[8466] Alignment,[8501] Alignment,[8499] Communication issues,[8500] Status quo bias,[8467] Anchoring,[8475] Insufficient Feedback,[8471] Communication issues,[8468] Anchoring,[8473] False consensus effect,[8477] Forceful conflict about ideas,[8487] Woman blaming woman,[8503] Alignment,[8502] Lack of real innovation mandate,[8476] Insufficient Feedback,[8482] Lack of organizational encouragement,[8488] Woman blaming woman,[8504] Empathetic disposition,[8505] Pro-innovation bias,[8485] Vague roles

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MADISON BARNETT
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