{Roche Social Media Summit} What’s Your Solution?

by Leighann on August 9, 2012

Many attendees of the recent Roche Social Media Summit held in August in Indianapolis have written recaps and their thoughts about the summit. I may or may not give a play by play, especially when you can read well formulated ones at Diabetes Mine, written by Mike Hoskins, and Diabetes Daily, written by David Edelman. (And there are many more awesome posts, but I couldn’t possibly mention them all here.)

But I wanted to share an anecdote from the summit and how it has real life application for me.

I will preface this by saying that this take away is not one that was planned by Roche staff, rather it came from an organic conversation.

Since we were in Indianapolis, the headquarters of Roche, we spent an afternoon at their facilities talking with execs, seeing how they product test meters and test strips, and touring the manufacturing line where test strips are made.

I know we all feel like test strips are expensive, especially because many of us go through 6 to 12 strips a day to manage type 1 diabetes in our children, but the intricate manufacturing process certainly shows that there is a lot more involved in slapping together a test strip than one might think. Quality control appeared to be of the utmost importance, every single step of the way. And what was incredibly fascinating was watching a particular machine that etched the gold that is used in the chemical reaction process.

Gold, people! Real gold.

No wonder they are so expensive. (And Roche does offer a patient assistance program. In fact their cash card was a direct result of concerns by attendees of the very first summit four years ago.)

So, back to the story…Somehow we got to talking with our tour guide about problems and solutions. Someone asked if the employees ever bring problems and issues to the attention of management and how they are resolved. Our guide showed us a box mounted to the wall where people could make suggestions.

But here’s where I finally get to the point: He said that an employee can’t just say, “Hey, I see a problem.” Rather, the employee also has to think about and propose a solution.

George Simmons likened it to dinner time at his house. It’s not enough for someone to say they don’t want what’s on the menu; they have to propose an alternative.

Exactly. (And I’m going to remember that. In our house if you don’t want dinner you need to eat something low effort like a PB&J and some yogurt.)

Here’s the thing: How often have you seen a problem and complained but not done anything constructive to find a resolution?

It’s not enough to moan and whine. That doesn’t change things.

You have to actually do something about it. You need to be the force that effects change if you want to see change.

I feel like I do this sometimes, but maybe I could do it more.

For instance, when I traveled 120 miles to a diabetes event and ended up meeting a family who lives a couple of miles away, I realized that there was a need for local support.

I became a JDRF mentor.

I really took it to heart last week when I saw the photo of the Corn Refiners Association booth at the Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) annual meetings.

I could have complained. I could have posted to Facebook and Twitter voicing my concerns. (I did both of those, by the way.) I could have just been angry.

But I remembered that solutions don’t come from merely saying there is a problem. Solutions come by looking at the problem and figuring out some possible courses of action.

HFCS-Free Day 2012I had a tiny block of free time over the weekend when the kids were occupied in the playroom so I sat down at the computer to write. As I wrote I decided the action I was going to take. I combed iStockPhoto for a simple image of an ear of corn and pulled out my debit card. I opened PhotoShop and created a badge. I hit publish and asked others who also agree to join me in saying no to HFCS and the Corn Refiners Association and the corn lobby for one day. One day to read labels, make conscious choices, and open a dialog with your family about what good, healthy food choices are for you.

I couldn’t sit there and do nothing. I couldn’t sit there and be angry or rant. I couldn’t just sit there spinning my wheels.

HFCS-Free Day 2012 stemmed from my immediate reaction, need to finally put my foot down, and is an attempt at a solution to the problem.

It’s me doing something right now. Not thinking about doing something at some point and then not doing it because life is busy and there are fifteen other things on my to-do list. But standing up and doing.

Will highly processed foods containing high fructose corn syrup continue to be marketed to kids? Of course.

Will the Corn Refiners Association continue with their ad campaign which aims to guilt parents who actually want to make healthy choices?  Of course.

But for one day my family, and hopefully yours, will say no. And that day may carry on to the next and the next one after that.

What problem are you going to help solve next?

Further Reading

Diabetes Mine AADE 2012: “Less Talking, More Listening,” Etc.

More posts about the Roche Social Media Summits

More posts about HFCS-Free Day

More posts about high fructose corn syrup

Corn, It’s Only Natural


Campbell’s Mmm Mmm, Not So Good

Taking the Artificial out of Yogurt

Disclosure: Roche paid for my travel, lodging, and meals so that I could participate in the summit. No monetary compensation was given and they did not ask me to write about the company or their products. Opinions are always my own. If I blog, tweet, or Facebook about the summit in the coming weeks, it’s with this disclosure in mind. Read my entire disclosure statement.

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