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Friday, September 14, 2012

Two lessons I learned this week.


I learned two valuable things this week I thought I'd pass on in a Friday afternoon post.  Actually strictly speaking these are likely things I've learned before but needed to re-learn or to be 'reminded' of their importance.

Please pardon a little stroll away from the typically strict focus on cell therapy -- but in a way that's the theme of today's post.

1.  Take time each week to read something from outside your specific profession or job focus.  

I'm not talking here about the importance of escaping in the evening with a fiction novel (also very important) but rather reading something professional but from well outside your area of focus.  Here are my examples.

I always read WIRED magazine.  Aside from GEN it's the only magazine I read.  Just reading something outside of cell therapy or biotech often infuses me with an idea that otherwise would have never occurred to me like the need for a cell therapy X Prize or cellular aggregates as microcarriers or tissue-engineered memory and processing devices or even just the conviction to better represent cell therapy to the broader world out there of scientists, engineers, journalists, policy-makers, or perhaps people with too much money looking to be inspired and wanting to make a difference.

Similarly, on a flight this week I reached into the seat pocket in front of me and discovered a recent copy of the Journal of the American Medical Association.  I read a fascinating article that has me excited about an idea for how we as a cell therapy industry might lead the way in addressing clinical trial and data transparency that would put our sector in a leadership position, lend the industry a much-needed spotlight, and has the potential to facilitate the kind of meta-analysis and data-mining that could only be done through data aggregation.  I believe the concept has the potential to be disproportionately significant for a sector defined by so many small, under-powered trials.

The idea may never see the light of day but the point is the source of the inspiration.  In order to 'think' outside the box one typically has to 'be' outside the box.  Lesson?  Spend some time outside your box.

2. It often takes something very small to make a disproportionately significant impact on someone.  

I was reminded recently through an exchange of simple kindnesses just how little it sometimes takes to make a big difference in someone's life.  For you what might be so easy to give might be of unparalleled value to someone for whom that is so unattainable.  

Lesson?  When the opportunity knocks for you to give something small or simple, take it.  This kind of charity almost always has the potential to be mre impactful than you might ever imagine.

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