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Friday, February 26, 2016

AIRI 2016 IT Summit: Update #1

The planning process for the AIRI 2016 IT Summit is now complete!

This fourth installment of a meeting specifically engineered to address contemporary issues in information technology for AIRI institutes portends to be a great success.

Ten different sessions are offered over the two-day curriculum.

New to this year’s program will be a presentation by Mr. David Gift, Associate Vice President, Community Engagement, Internet2.  David will be able to spend some time getting to know the AIRI IT group so that he and the leadership of Internet2  can better understand the challenges and opportunities better.  Internet2, throughout its 20-year history, has been about the higher education and research community collaborating to design, build and operate mission-critical services that no one else is motivated to provide, or to provide services and products in the right ways at the time needed.  We are sensing some good opportunities for cross-fertilization of the professionals who lead the IT infrastructures of the higher education and independent research communities; this meeting will provide a an excellent opportunity to fully explore the opportunities for collaboration.

Complementing the array of great speakers will be a host of sponsors whose product offerings are best-in-class.  Our sponsors are:

Huron Consulting

Please register now and make your hotel reservations to join us in Oklahoma City April 3 – 5, 2016.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Boards That Lead

It is with genuine enthusiasm that I share with you a new book from Harvard Business Review Press, “Boards That Lead”, by Ram Charan, Dennis Carey, and Michael Useem.   I just finished reading it from cover to cover and have come away from the experienced informed and energized.

Business leaders, advisers, directors, and teachers, this trio has crafted a thoughtful prescription for Board members and management to know “when to lead, when to partner, and when to stay out of the way”!  They cite a wealth of real-life experiences, complemented with their own in-depth interviews of industry leaders, to support their novel approach.  While the companies cited, international in scope and large in scale, are all for-profit, there is a wealth of wisdom to be found here for non-profit boards and executives, including our own research institutes.

The chapters flow easily and logically, laying the foundations for Board responsibility and obligations, describing recent changes in the legal and regulatory environment, and how those changes call for a fresh view of shared management between the Board and management executives.  They reinforce their new approach with concrete examples of successes, and failures, indicating superior performance or, in the case of failures, opportunities for improvement.

Many of the prescriptive ideas will ring familiar to my AIRI colleagues:

  • Defining Board leadership decisions (and excluding meddling and micro-management);
  • Defining the “Central Idea” (the essence of the organization’s mission);
  • Recruiting Directors who add value;
  • Clarifying the role of, and selecting, the Lead Director;
  • Assessing Board performance and dealing with nonperforming directors;
  • Making succession planning an integral and recurring component of the Board agenda;
  • Partnering with the CEO and assessing his/her performance;
  • Spotting, catching, or exiting a failing CEO;
  • Assessing and managing risk

My favorite aspect of the book is found in its many practical checklists – a guide to “asking all the right questions”!

I highly recommend this book to you as a carefully crafted, thoughtful, useful guide for leadership.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Welcome Seattle Institute for Biomedical and Clinical Research

Since the 2015 AIRI Meeting we have added three new institutes to the AIRI membership.  The most recent one is the Seattle Institute for Biomedical and Clinical Research (SIBCR).  Established in 1989, SIBCR serves our nation’s Veterans through research and education programs at both divisions of the VA Puget Sound Health Care System. (  Their addition strengthens not only AIRI, but the extensive AIRI presence in the Seattle area (The Allen Institute, Benaroya Research Institute, Center for Infectious Disease Research, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Institute for Systems Biology, and Pacific Northwest Diabetes Research Institute).

According to Danielle Belisle, MPA, Executive Director, “Our Mission Statement says it all:
To improve the health and well-being of Veterans through research and education conducted at the VA Puget Sound Health Care System.”

SIBCR’s investigators and staff are dedicated to the improvement of Veterans’ lives and SIBCR is dedicated to supporting their efforts by facilitating research and education projects funded by federal agencies, voluntary health organizations, and for-profit companies. SIBCR also works in conjunction with private donors to support research and education programs.
In their two decades as a nonprofit institute 501 (c)(3) incorporated in Washington State, membership has grown to include both clinical and lab-based researchers in diverse areas such as:
  • Diabetes treatment and prevention
  • Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Geriatric care
  • Rehabilitative medicine and prosthetics
  • Addiction treatment,
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders and psychological health
  • Cancer care