How Medigram CEO & CTO/CSO Were Named to Lists of Merit Based Top United States CEOs and CTOs in Several Technology & Healthcare Categories While Being Early Stage
In our work at Medigram, we have been leveraging our team’s decades of experience across medicine, health system administration, together with IT, engineering, security, and life sciences with newer and critical skills albeit recruited from the outside such as culture and project management to identify and build for dimensions of trust. We use not only our own personal, professional award winning careers as guideposts but also data from the annual Edelman Trust Barometer survey to inform our strategies. Because every startup and every technology company in medicine starts in a position of lack of trust. Building trust in this context is an extraordinary scope of work and not for the faint of heart.
We give much credit to and are honored to learn from and hold ourselves accountable to a network of dozens of collaborators, coauthors and reviewers who collectively represent the critical stakeholders, functions and skills required for the future success of healthcare IT and medical technology. We were therefore delighted to be recognized recently on 4 separate top CEO lists for iOS, Big Data, Information Technology, and Healthcare as well as top CTO for IT, Big Data, and Healthcare. Given that Medigram is an early stage company in terms of revenues; it’s natural to ask. How did this happen? I have linked here to the results from one of the most influential data sources used in the rankings, Crunchbase.
But you might also want to know why. In the minds of many prominent institutional investors, their proxy, Institutional Shareholder Services, and other stakeholders; business is dramatically changing. This is well described in Fortune (notably rated high for facts and considered right-center by Mediabiasfactcheck.com) CEO, Alan Murray’s new book “Tomorrow’s Capitalist.” The definition and therefore the signs of a high quality company are also dramatically transforming. Alan shares what inspired his book here.
You should care about this radical change and evolution because whether you are a CXO, board member, investor, employee, or customer; you’d want to ask yourself if any company you consider doing business with has the foundation of trust from which to continue to re-earn the proverbial “license to operate” over time. Meaning will the stakeholders in its market allow for its ongoing success? We have always known as a team of relative medical market insiders, that medical stakeholders do not allow or respond to the way typical consumer startups operate or even Software as a Service, SaaS and the tactics they use for company building; therefore we have not focused on those. We’ve focused instead on building trust.
While the Edelman Trust survey is an outstanding 50K foot view, this BCG report is excellent at illustrating the details of company specific trust.
This report by BCG the consulting company is able to provide company specific insight into trust “using AI and NLP to analyze multiyear datasets for correlation between trust sentiment and patterns — including relationships between trustworthiness and such metrics as total shareholder return (TSR), ESG, digital maturity, employee satisfaction, and innovation.”
It’s critical to note that trusted companies outperformed the rest in total shareholder return. The authors aimed to shine light on the characteristics and practices that build, sustain, or destroy trust.
First we have to answer, what is Trust? In business, stakeholders put a certain level of trust into any company to fulfill promises. Those promises could represent the value that customers obtain through products and services. They also include newer promise elements such as purpose, employee relations, earnings guidance, and other commitments.
The authors recommend measuring purpose by the BrightHouse Living Purpose Index. This method assesses companies by how well they fulfill their commitment to their purpose in relation to five types of stakeholders: shareholders, employees, partners, customers, and society.
Further, the authors note a shift to systemic trust of an ecosystem which is superseding legacy definitions of trust that have in the past been focused on singular organizations. Transparency and resilience are the most important trust builders. There are consistent elements in four categories highlighted below that are essential to trust. If you read through the report, on page 17; you’ll notice that there are also regional trends for trust builders and trust destroyers. Transparency and Resilience are the most critical.
• Transparency — how open and unambiguous the company’s decision making and actions are. For transparency, those companies that are open while mitigating a crisis do better than those that are not. Notably in medicine (therefore medical technology), transparency and trust is demonstrated through the peer review process and precise acknowledgment and communication for medical evidence levels to avoid signs of fraud and hype.
• Resilience — how effectively the company avoids or recovers from challenges and crises. Companies can build trust by the way they respond to crises including for example with COVID, did they rise to the challenge relative to stakeholders and society?
• Competence — “whether the company can effectively accomplish a specific task at hand, or (in other words) whether it can deliver on its promise to stakeholders. For example, stakeholders can trust a company’s competence in delivering its products and services to customers, but do not trust it as a corporate citizen.”
•Fairness — “how equitable and empathetic the company is in delivering on its promises.” Healthcare in particular is impacted by fairness and resilience.
For example, data on competence can include a number of factors including financial strength, innovativeness, or product and service performance.
Show table 11. In this table, the authors outline how ten themes tie to the four areas of trust and whether those themes which are listed from top to bottom fall into the following impact on trust: destroy, establish, or build.
Note that for example, financial position accounts for 1 out of 10 trust evaluation items.
• Trust Destroyers. include scandals and regulatory violations.
• Trust Foundations. These themes include financial position For later stage companies this would mean revenues, margins, and dividend payouts; governance and workforce, culture and workforce sentiment; and product and service performance including customer support.
• Trust Enhancers. The most prominent of these themes are strategic collaborations including ecosystem relationships, innovation measured by R&D activity, patents, research grants, and coverage of innovative products or processes. Other trust enhancers include digital capabilities such as cybersecurity; social responsibility such as social justice, corporate social responsibility, and philanthropy; and environment and sustainability meaning climate impact.
In summary, the most trusted companies deliver consistently on promises to multiple stakeholders, behave equitably, operate openly, and handle challenges and crises well, meaning they are resilient. The most trusted companies in this analysis also enjoyed the greatest total shareholder returns over time.
It’s important to note the lack of consensus along with misalignment on these undeniable trends, in particular in Silicon Valley. First off, the Russell 3000 index has much poorer performance as a whole in key areas of trust than the top companies in the S&P 500. However, make no mistake that as described here, blue chip institutional investors and their reps plan to vote against NomGov chairs and other board leaders that don’t fall into line.
The past tendency in the shareholder primacy era had been to only talk about financial metrics. However, what we see in the modern stakeholder era is that focusing on trust will result in greater total shareholder return rather than what a myopic focus on just only shareholder returns will. The term “license to operate” therefore takes on a more sophisticated and multi dimensional meaning than it did in the past. I believe this is what will determine the future viability and strength of all companies.
By: Sherri Douville CEO & Board Member at Medigram, Inc.and Editor, Mobile Medicine: Overcoming People, Culture, & Governance https://www.linkedin.com/in/sdouville/