Friday, September 23, 2011

Volume vs. Value in Healthcare: the Dilemma, the Challenges and the Opportunities

Yesterday's healthcare program focused on the shift from volume to value for care delivery. It was a fascinating discussion with Craig Sammit, CEO of Dean Health Systems in Madison, WI and Alex Baker, COO of Partners Community Healthcare (PCHI).

Alex Baker kicked off our program and shared network characteristics needed to succeed in population management and the care re-design themes in which PCHI is considering. From business intelligence and data warehousing to decision support, patient portals and referring physician tools. Check out Alex's presentation here.

Dean is one of the largest integrated health systems in the mid-west and a nationally recognized leader in accountable care. Craig discussed how their shift occurred originally out of necessity but quickly became the right thing to do to offer "value". He shared the tools and technologies they are currently using, how they have optimized the use of these technologies and the emerging technologies in which they are pursuing. Learn more from Craig's presentation here.

Thanks to Alex and Craig for their time and insights and our moderator, Dan Feinberg, Director of Health Informatics Graduate Program at Northeastern U. Also a special thanks to UKTI for hosting, and Mary Anne North and Barbara Bix for their help in creating another excellent MassTLC healthcare program.

What's Next?

Stay tuned for our next program scheduled to take place in mid-November. The focus will be on the role of technology to push the boundaries of Community-based care. We just started planning the session so if you are interested in learning more and sharing your insights, please email

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Energy Experts gather for panel on Data and Sustainabily Implementation

On Tuesday, September 21st, executives from companies leading the way in Sustainability reporting met at Foley Hoag in Waltham as part of the MassTLC Sustainability Series, Without Data, Sustainability is an Empty Suit. Daniel Aronson, Director and Practice Leader of Sustainability Transformation at Deloitte, moderated a panel that included, Mark Greenlaw, VP Sustainability & Educational Affairs at Cognizant; Chris Davis, Schneider Electric's Building VP Global Strategic Alliances; Peter Gilbert, VP of Strategy for CA Technology's ecoSoftware; and Mark Buckley, VP Environmental Affairs at Staples. The Event Chair was Vanessa Fox, Partners In Productivity.

The take-away themes of the panel reflected:
- The relative newness of this area in business and the opportunities out there for new products.
- Issues around collecting and reporting the right data are difficult, but the panel represented four companies who are out there trying and benefiting from what they are learning.
- Finding a connection between the data and materialization in dollars will get the most impact out of your Sustainability projects.
- People are an important tool in Sustainability. Educating employees and building sustainability into each role of a company is the way to sustainability success.

The first question that Daniel asked was about defining Sustainability data how each of the panelists uses it. Peter Gilbert said that CA Technologies includes everything from building energy usage to employee commute time. Staples has a much larger supply chain to consider and is also very aware that their data has to be translated for different audiences. For example, a CFO will want the raw data presented differently than Facilities Manager. Former Cognizant CIO turned VP Sustainability and Educational Affairs at Cognizant, Mark Greenlaw stated that they try to follow the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) as far as Energy consumption, carbon footprint and water usage. He went on to say that Sustainability goes beyond the environmental impact of a company and is also about the social and economic impact of that company. All panelists agreed that there is no ERP system (beyond buildings) for Sustainability yet.

Two of the biggest challenges in pitching any Sustainability project are budget and return on investment (ROI). Mark Greenlaw of Cognizant said that conservation measures are easy; it is the intangible benefits that are tougher to determine the ROI. Projects that include renewables are harder to justify since they have fluctuating ROI’s due to the political and price instability here and in other countries. At Staples, Mark Buckley looks at projects from a portfolio perspective and tries to find non-traditional funding for projects. One example was a PPA (power purchase agreement) for solar arrays on leased buildings. This allowed Staples to fund 35 MW of power rooftops. Interestingly, 80% of solar arrays in the US are owned by a third party.

During the audience participation a question was asked about employee engagement with regards to Sustainability. Chris Davis gave an example how in a deal with GE, they were very surprised that the employees wanted to be as involved as they did. Folks that had worked there for 40 years became reenergized as they cared about this stuff 'to solve the world's problems'. Chris also talked about how we can embed this thought process in the everyday to change behavior. He gave another example of how Lucid Designs created a dashboard to make energy consumption visible and accountable in college dorms. Staples works to build Sustainability into their corporate DNA and empowers employees to be accountable. Mark Greenlaw noted that much of Sustainability is about the people factor. Cognizant had a full featured buildings system installed, but found out that only half of the features were turned on!
Panelists were asked if there were standards and how they go about collecting data on their supply chain. All felt that standard forms for collecting and reporting are still lagging. Mark Greenlaw said that it is more effort right now to fill out the plethora of forms than to do the actual work of sustainability. Panelists felt there is a need for online tools to enter data one time and then be able to reference it for themselves and their supply chain.

Sustainability is a new field with lots of new opportunities for business to learn and work together. The process of data collection and reporting is evolving and will take unconventional, multi-disciplinary collaborations to start to yield real-world results. There is an economic benefit to more data and taking a long term holistic approach. We applaud these thought leaders who are putting their companies out there as pioneers in Sustainability.

MassTLC will continue the conversation at our next Sustainability Series panel on December 6th entitled, Sustainability: Don't Market to Key Audiences- Motivate Them!, where a panel of executives led by Jim Nail will further discuss how to engage employees and stakeholders in your Sustainability efforts. Click Here to Register!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Robotics Meeting Blog Post - September 19th, 2011

Over twenty robotics executives, academics and enthusiasts convened at Kiva Systems for September's MassTLC Robotics Cluster. Cluster meetings take place every other month at a MassTLC member company. This was the first meeting since June so it was kicked off with introductions and the group talking about highlights in the robotics community over the past several months. Highlights included those found on the MHT robotics page, , as well as, these stories,
Member company Jaybridge teams up with Kinze, Rodney Brooks quoted in NYT article,

The group also talked about upcoming Robotics events in the Boston area including:
1.) Robotics Trends: RoboBusiness Leadership Summit - November 2-3, 2011, Boston Sheraton 2.) MassTLC Future of Robotics Summit - December 2, 2011, Microsoft NERD
3.) ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction - March 5-8, 2012,
4.) Back Bay Hilton Technologies for Practical Robot Applications (TePRA) - April 23-24, 2012 , (Paper submissions due November 15, 2011)

Rich Erb, Robotics Trends, gave the group an update on the RoboBusiness Leadership Summit (see above details) with over 25 sponsors and partners that will be at the event and a delegation from Denmark attending. MassTLC is helping to promote this event to our robotics community, members can use code RBP1 when registering for a $100 discount.

MassTLC had asked Bill Thomasmeyer formerly head of the Pittsburg Robotics Cluster and now working with Helen Grenier on the Robotics Tech Consortium (RTC) to speak and give an update on RTC activities. Bill's talk started with on an overview of the RTC (see attached slides) which helps its members to find and apply for government contracts through their own contractual relationship with the DOD. The RTC also gives Robotics a presence in Washington DC at the Robotics Caucus meetings. Bill also brought up new regulations that are being proposed that would require ITAR approval for all autonomous unmanned vehicles (AUV's) that could possibly be used off-road. These new regulations are not yet defined well which could make approval on new AUV's tough and expensive for robotics companies. MassTLC will work with Bill and the RTC on the appropriate response to these newly proposed regulations. Finally, Bill discussed a new competition that was created by the Innovation Accelerator and the RTC with funding from NSF for early stage Robotics start-ups called, RoboBowl. The first competition will be held on October 13th in Pittsburg at CMU in conjunction with the NSF Innovation Summit at CMU on October 14th. The next competition is slated for February or March of 2012 in Boston at MIT. MassTLC will help organize this event with the help of cluster members.

The meeting ended with a presentation by Benge Ambrogi of Kiva Systems and a tour of their new North Reading Headquarters which houses engineering, manufacturing and a large demo/test floor for the material handling robots. The presentation described how the company started and has grown to be the leader in automated material handling. The presentation included some great videos that can be found at,

The next meeting of the MassTLC Robotics Cluster will be on November 8, 2011 at Myomo in Cambridge, MA.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Entrepreneur Walk of Fame Unveiled in Kendall Square

It was a beautiful day in Kendall Square today as the world's first Entrepreneurial Walk of Fame was established to honor and celebrate entrepreneurial role models from Massachusetts and beyond. The Walk of Fame provides a fantastic opportunity to increase the visibility of entrepreneurship and to help inspire the next generation of innovators. Seven esteemed honorees who "took a risk with an idea" were immortalized with stars embedded in the sidewalk outside the Kendall Square Marriott.

Inaugural honorees include (descriptions from

Thomas Edison (1847-1931), known for founding the companies that preceded General Electric. Edison devised numerous inventions that played a crucial role in modernizing technology from electric power generation being distributed on a mass level to homes and businesses to a stock ticker to recorded music and motion pictures, and there are many others with the same level of importance. Held 1,093 patents and founded 14 companies that combined with competitors in 1890 to form General Electric, currently one of the largest publicly traded companies in the world. And, the only company listed since the beginning of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. His entrepreneurial legacy can be seen in all walks of life, whether it be the utility Commonwealth Edison, the radio station WEEI (AM), or the Edison Medal for outstanding work in the electrical world. Edison quote: "Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration."

Bill Gates, known for Microsoft (2010 revenue: $62.5 billion) and philanthropy. He left Harvard to devote his energies to Microsoft, a company he had begun in 1975 with Paul Allen. Guided by a belief that the computer would be a valuable tool on every office desktop and in every home, the two began developing software for personal computers. Gates' foresight and vision for personal computing have been central to the success of Microsoft and the software industry. Microsoft employed 89,000 people in 2010. In 2000, Gates and his wife Melinda started a foundation to help reduce inequities in the United States and around the world. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation supports philanthropic initiatives in the areas of global health and learning. He attended Harvard, but left before graduating. Gates quote: "Never before in history has innovation offered the promise of so much to so many in so short a time."

Bill Hewlet (1913-2001), known for Hewlett-Packard (Net revenue, 2010: $126 billion). His strength lay in circuit technology. He served in the Army during World War II, during which David Packard ran the company. Hewlett was on the staff of the Army's Chief Signal Officer and then headed the electronics section of the New Development Division of the War Department Special Staff. During this latter tour of duty, he was on a special U.S. team that inspected Japanese industry immediately after the war. In 1947, shortly after he returned to Palo Alto, Hewlett was named vice president of HP. He was elected executive vice president in 1957, president in 1964, and also was named chief executive officer in 1969. After receiving his Bachelor's degree from Stanford University, Hewlet attended and received his Masters of Science from MIT. Hewlet quote: "Men and women want to do a good job, and if they are provided the proper environment, they will do so."

Steve Jobs, known for Apple. Jobs designed, developed, and marketed (along with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak) the Apple II series, which was one of the first commercially successful lines of personal computers. In the early 1980s, Jobs was among the first to see the commercial potential of the mouse-driven graphical user interface, leading to the creation of the Macintosh operating system. In 1986, Jobs acquired Graphics Group for $5 million and changed the name to Pixar (purchased by Disney in 2006 for $7.4 billion). He returned to Apple when its yearly revenue was $1.6 billion, and under his leadership, Apple grew to $15.5. billion in revenue by 2010. Educated at Reed College. Jobs quote: "Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me ... Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful... that’s what matters to me."

Mitch Kapor, known for Lotus (acquired in 1995 for $3.5 billion). A pioneer of the personal computing industry who has been at the forefront of information technology for more than 30 years as an entrepreneur, software designed, and investor. Founded Lotus Development Corporation and designed Lotus 1-2-3, the office application which made the personal computer ubiquitous in the business world in the 1980s. Served as president (later as chairman) and chief executive officer of Lotus from 1982 to 1986, and as a director until 1987. In 1983, Lotus’s first year of operations, the company achieved revenues of $53 million; by 1984, revenues were $156 million. In 1985, Lotus employed 1,300 people. IBM acquired Lotus in 1995 for $3.5 billion. He received his B.A. in Cybernetics from Yale. Kapor quote: "Building a workplace which engages a diversity of employees and brings out their best makes a far greater contribution than financial success alone."

David Packard (1912-1996), known for Hewlett-Packard (Net revenue, 2010: $126 billion). Packard established Hewlett-Packard in 1939 with Bill Hewlett in Packard's garage with capital of $538. His strength lay in manufacturing processes. In 1947, he became president of the company, a post he held until 1964, when he was elected chairman of the board and chief executive officer. He received his BA and Master's in Electrical Engineering from Stanford Univeristy. Packard quote: "I think many people assume, wrongly, that a company exists solely to make money. Money is an important part of a company's existence, if the company is any good. But a result is not a cause. We have to go deeper and find the real reason for our being."

Bob Swanson (1947-1999), known for Genentech (acquired in 2009 for around $46 billion). Swanson co-founded Genentech in 1976 with biochemist Dr. Herbert Boyer. Swanson was a venture capitalist at the time. Served as director and chief executive officer of Genentech until February 1990; then became chairman of the board until he retired in December 1996. Genentech is said to have started the biotechnology industry. As of early 2011, Genentech employed over 11,000 individuals. Swanson also was a founding board member of the MIT Entrepreneurship Center. He received his SB (chemistry) from MIT and SM from MIT Sloan. Swanson quote: "What we tried to do in the early days was to create a culture where anything was possible."

The project started when Leland Chung, Cambridge City Councilor, President and co-founder of the EntWoF, called on a group of leading entrepreneurial thinkers to brainstorm what government could do to encourage and support entrepreneurship in cities across America. "One of my top priorities as City Councilor is to transform government into an institution that helps people and makes our community an even better place to live," Cheung said. "I want to inspire people, especially kids, to pursue entrepreneurship to give back to the community and the world."

Bill Aulet, Managing Director of the MIT Entrepreneurship Center, co-founder and Chair of the selection committee of the EntWoF, hopes the legacy of the seven iconic honorees and their incredible stories will inspire others to answer the call of entrepreneurship. "The Entrepreneur Walk of Fame was created to celebrate the best of the best," Aulet said. "We want the Walk of Fame to serve as inspiration to future generations representing the men and women who have put themselves on the line, taken the risks and left a trail behind them for someone else to follow suit."

The founding sponsors of the EntWoF are the Kauffman Foundation, Ernst & Young, IDEO, the MIT Entrepreneurship Center, Latham and Watkins LLC, and Boston Properties.

Details of the Entrepreneur Walk of Fame can be found at View NECN coverage:

Thursday, September 15, 2011

To Compete or Non-compete

On September 15th, a Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development heard testimony on H.2296, An Act Relative to the prohibition of noncompetition agreements, and S.932, An Act to prohibit restrictive employment covenants. The House bill would make "any contract that serves to restrict an employee or former employee from engaging in a lawful profession, trade, or business of any kind … deemed unlawful." The Senate bill would provide that any "written or oral contract or agreement arising out of an employment relationship that prohibits, impairs, restrains, restricts, or places any condition on, a person's ability to seek, engage in or accept any type of employment or independent contractor work, for any period of time after an employment relationship has ended, shall be void and unenforceable with respect to that restriction."

While there is not uniform consensus from the tech community, many feel that the current rules governing the enforcement of non-compete agreements should be reformed. Secretary of Housing and Economic Development, Greg Bialecki, testified to express the "strong support of the Patrick Administration for substantial reform of the current rules on the enforceability of non-competition agreements in Massachusetts." The following is taken verbatim from his testimony.

A key element of the Patrick Administration's economic development strategy has been to build on the strength of our world-class innovation economy. A key measure of success of our economic development and job creation policies and programs ought to be whether those polices and programs effectively support the innovation and entrepreneurship that has been our critical competitive advantage for so many year.

There is now a growing body of study and analysis reaching the conclusion that the enforcement of non-competition agreements can adversely affect the innovation economy. Economic research by Professor Richard Marx of Harvard and MIT, among others, has shown that the enforcement of non-competition agreements can have a demonstrable negative effect on the mobility of technology workers, especially of those with advanced, specialized skills. This can adversely affect our innovation economy in a variety of ways.

Job creation in the innovation economy often occurs in sudden large bursts. As their moments of greatest growth, Google and Facebook each hires literally thousands of workers in a short periods of time. Providing the talent needed to support such explosive growth may be considerably more difficult if employees are legally unable to move between jobs in the innovation economy. And if Massachusetts is not able to support such growth, then the most effective job creating companies may be pushed to grow to scale elsewhere.

The enforcement of non-competition agreements (often called "non-competes") may also limit the number of individuals who will leave their existing employment to lead new start-up firms of their own, another essential ingredient of a vigorous innovation economy. Alternatively, the rigorous enforcement of non-competes in Massachusetts may cause those individuals to leave the state to begin a new start-up firm or to pursue another new career opportunity, an equally unhappy outcome for the Commonwealth. Retaining our best talent is already a major challenge for the state.

In addition to its adverse effects on the overall economy, the enforcement of non-competition agreements also raises important questions of individual fairness. We have been presented with many examples of non-competes blocking the ability of individuals from taking advantage of job opportunities that would advance their careers or help them to better support their families without any apparent harm to the business prospects of their current employers.

You will certainly hear today from businesses and business groups would prefer to keep the current legal arrangements regarding non-competes intact. It is perfectly understandable why any individual business would prefer to maintain the status quo. The current law makes it considerably harder for employees to leave their current employees, whether due to the actual enforcement of a non-competition agreement, or more frequently, just due to the threat of enforcement. While that may be convenient for employers, it is not at all clear that is it necessary to their business success. Many of our large Massachusetts employers also have significant operations in California, where non-competes may not be legally enforces, and their business units are succeeding and thriving there. Moreover, while non-competes may be helpful to any given individual company, that does not necessarily mean that they are good for the overall health of the Massachusetts economy. And, it is the overall health of the Massachusetts economy that should be the deciding factor in your consideration of this issue.

One of these bills pending before you today calls for changes to our current rules regarding the enforceability of non-competes. The other calls for the end to such enforceability. Over the last several years, the Patrick Administration has suggested that the preferable course of action for Massachusetts might be to find ways to limit the most harmful effects of non-competition agreements without eliminating them outright. We applaud the efforts of many, including Representative Brownsberger and Representative Ehrlich, to find such a middle ground. This topic has been the subject of discussion for several years now, however, and it is no longer clear that any broad consensus can be reached on reform of non-competes. Indeed, it is no longer even clear that those who prefer the status quo are all that interested in reaching such a consensus. But there is in fact a pressing need for serious change. We urge all stakeholders to engage in a serious conversation about the shape and scope of that change. If the relevant stakeholders are not prepared to do so with a sense of urgency, then we ought to consider whether the outright elimination of enforceability altogether is the bes course of action for the Massachusetts economy.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Massachusetts Growth 'STEMs' from Innovation

The number of children pursuing studies in science, technology, engineering and math – recently dubbed “STEM” education – continues to decline globally, but even more in the U.S. According to a 2010 report, baby boomer retirements will reduce the U.S. science and technology workforce by 50 percent by 2020.

Nationally, only 28 percent of high school students taking the SATs indicated an interest in pursuing a STEM career. Here in the Commonwealth, that percentage is 22 percent – shockingly low for a state with our technical reputation.

In 2009, Governor Patrick held a press conference at the MathWorks campus to announce the formation of the STEM Advisory Council, a public/private committee focused on stimulating Massachusetts students’ interest in studies and careers in the STEM disciplines. At the height of the recession, the topic of STEM education took center stage in the Commonwealth for a reason: It spurs the innovation that leads to long-term economic growth.

Click Here to

This entry is written by Jack Little, President & Co-Founder of Mathworks and a Trustee of the MassTLC. This entry is part of a series of articles by members of the Mass Technology Leadership Council, outlining its action plan for fulfilling its “2020 Challenge,” — adding 100,000 new tech jobs by the end of the decade. Mathworks is a Natick-based mathematical computing software company, and makers of MATLAB and Simulink. More than 1,500 of the company's 2,200 staff are located in Massachusetts.