A year ago I was pleased to be given the opportunity to assume the role of CEO at One Nucleus. The Board and I agreed there were some key developments that we wanted to implement in order to enhance the effectiveness and relevance of One Nucleus to our members, the region and the sector as a whole.
A nod to the past….
Perhaps counter-intuitively as we considered our forward looking strategy, it was looking back that enabled us to ascertain where One Nucleus’ future direction should be. Reminding ourselves of the origin and role of regional cluster groups such as Eastern Region Biotech Initiative (ERBI) and London Biotechnology Network (LBN), the predecessors of One Nucleus before the 2010 merger, identified areas of mission drift in the sector landscape we felt needed addressing. Such membership groups were created following reviews led by Lord Sainsbury and others on development of biotechnology clusters to drive success. The resultant, regional biotechnology sector support groups, many Government funded in the first instance had clear aims:
• To enable the biotechnology sector and its associated support professions to network effectively in support of each other
• To promote the strengths and opportunities their region offered to inward investors, entrepreneurs and industry partners
• To coordinate business support initiatives in disciplines such as training and procurement in order to increase the competitiveness of their members • To publicise the needs of their region to policymakers and their influencers such as national trade associations, and advocate these needs be addressed in their lobbying
Where are we now ….
Between the turn of the millennium when many of these groups were established and now much has changed in the landscape. The industry is more global, more diverse in nature and converging with other sectors at an increasing pace. Furthermore, in the UK in recent years there has been a blurring of the regional focus of membership groups for a variety of reasons. A need to be more international in outlook, more diverse in sector definition, less ‘parochial’ and politically engaged was felt by many of the cluster groups. This has sometimes distracted from the core purpose and led to duplication of effort and confusion in the market. There is no doubt that some of these evolutionary pressures and resultant changes have been positive, so we aren’t looking to fast forward to the past, but One Nucleus felt we needed to clarify our purpose and hence future direction. This would require some fine tuning of our current membership services and messaging as well as the development of new initiatives as we returned to the above founding principles.
Our Inclusive Identity ….
One Nucleus is based in the Greater London- Greater Cambridge region. Greater Cambridge in this context being used to include the East of England region not just the City of Cambridge, given there are many strengths across the region that complement Cambridge and its science parks. Far from being exclusive to this geography, One Nucleus is inclusive by nature welcoming engagement from those interested in doing business in, with or through London and Cambridge.
As our members respond to the globalisation of our industry there is no doubt the need for being well-connected to our international peers is important for One Nucleus in supporting our members’ growth. This fits with our mission statement that states we are here ‘To enable our members to be globally competitive’. That doesn’t mean we ourselves need to be an international organisation per se. We continue to collaborate with numerous membership groups around the world to effect opportunity awareness, connectivity and softer landings for our members. This works two-way, of course, to facilitate innovative overseas companies to engage in our region. Our primary focus on meeting our mission statement undertaking is to support our members in being absolutely the best version of themselves here such that they can compete well elsewhere. Developments in this aspect are:
• Our messaging now clearly stating and reinforcing how we define our geographical centricity
• Working with stakeholders in the region to generate consistent and comprehensive data sets on the Life Sciences sector in the region
• Profiling our members and the region at international events such as BIO and BioEurope
• Highlighting the needs of our members and advocating the case for further support to Local Government and policy makers
• Bringing our members’ needs, often in collaboration with others, to the attention of relevant National Trade Associations in order to inform their lobbying. Where that indirect route is not available, direct Government engagement remains an option
Accessing Talent …..
One of the concerns among members that has been brought into sharp focus by Brexit is their need to attract and retain world class employees. The above regional promotion remains an important element of this since proven success and opportunity in a cluster is a major influencer of location decision making. More focused in the talent space is our work in Training, Recruitment and Careers. A strong list of One Nucleus courses and others provided via third parties remains at the core of our offer. It continues to evolve based on member needs. Actions this year have included:
• A member Training Needs Analysis to inform forward provision 2
• The launch of ON Student and ON 3 Post Doc membership categories to enable the next generation of leaders to engage with us
• One Nucleus becoming members of SIP-Cambridge
• Research into E-learning and evaluation of how One Nucleus courses may be delivered in this more flexible format
• Increased promotion of member vacancies advertised on our web site as we enhance our social media presence
Knowledge Sharing ….
Technology is enabling people to connect in an increasingly informed manner, yet face-to-face and directed connections are still key to sharing knowledge, debate and success. Knowledge-sharing should be fundamental to any membership organisation in our field. Creating the space to debate key issues, for peerto-peer learning and relationship building is pivotal to deal flow and business success. Key elements of One Nucleus facilitating such productive connectivity include:
• An events calendar, including Genesis, ON Helix, BioWednesdays and the Life Science Leadership Series throughout the year
• ON Mentors, an initiative that facilitates member employees contacting experts for that early decision tree building discussion in order to increase the probability of getting it right first time
• Business Essentials Breakfast sessions focussed on both key compliance and strategic planning for our senior executives
• Looking at a new Annual Review format for the traditional Membership Directory, implementing a change to a reinvigorated monthly e-News and a growing social media platform on LinkedIn and Twitter allowing members to share insight, news and comment
• Recruitment of key business supply chain expertise into the One Nucleus Corporate Sponsor and Partner programmes in order to tailor their knowledge sharing programmes to optimally inform our members
Interacting With Our Members….
Much focus of this first year behind the scenes has been dedicated to the creation of a new CRM and website package due for launch in just a couple of weeks. As many of our readers will be aware, you should never underestimate the challenge of such an exercise. With significant planning by the team and subsequent hard work, I am delighted that we will be launching our new web site and CRM in mid-September – so watch out for the new look and online engagement experience!
There are some practical measures you will need to be aware of with regards to our launch that you may wish to factor in to your thinking as follows:
• Website unavailable – our plan is for the One Nucleus site to be transitioned from 17.30 on 6 September 2018. Online functions such as event booking, posting news jobs and events, updating information and new member applications will be unavailable. We will of course have manual processes in place for most functions. However with our small staff team needing to concentrate on the essential processes for our new website and CRM to be launched without undue delay, we hope that you will support us by completing all foreseeable tasks well in advance of 6 September
• Genesis Conference – as a result of the above, should you be planning to book your Genesis exhibition space or utilise any time-sensitive discount codes, I would recommend doing that prior to the website being unavailable
• Website accounts – as part of our migration and continuing GDPR compliance, you will be asked to renew your web site user account in due course. We will be adopting a phased approach to contacting you directly to advise you of the steps you personally need to take but will also keep you up to date via LinkedIn, Twitter and appropriate newsletters.
We look forward to working with you all over the next year and beyond.