Monday, January 31, 2011

Forming Partnerships to Fight Obesity

Entering into an arrangement where organizations work together can be a good strategic approach for some organizations. The collaborative arrangement may be informal. Or the arrangement might be a formal partnership or even a merger. Sometimes these collaborative arrangements work and sometimes they don’t. We can recall the high expectations many had when AOL (American Online) and Time Warner merged. The merger was to allow, among other things, both companies to rise with the power of the internet. However, the merger didn't work, and was eventually dissolved.

But coming together to leverage resources and capabilities can be a good strategic move for many organizations in any industry. The highly respected, non-profit Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) forms collaborative arrangements to further its mission. RWJF’s mission is to improve America’s health and health care. Reducing overweight and obesity is an integral part of improving America’s health. And RWJF typically partners with other non-profit organizations in this cause. But for-profit and non-profit organizations can also form working relationships with each other.

“Florida Hospital, Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute (Sanford-Burnham), and Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited, [recently announced] that they have signed a research agreement to form a collaboration to discover and evaluate new therapeutic approaches to obesity.”

Florida Hospital, a non-profit hospital, is located in Orlando, Florida. It was founded over 100 years ago. The non-profit Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute has locations in Florida and California. And Takeda is a pharmaceutical company with headquarters in Japan.

Perhaps, the collaboration between these three organizations will be worthwhile. The partnership might further the advancement of approaches to weight loss and weight management.

It is generally assumed that for-profit and non-profit organizations have different motivations: For-Profit organizations want to make a profit, and Non-Profit organizations tend to have some type of community service as their purpose.

But for-profit organizations can do good things for the community while making a profit. And non-profit organizations can create needed excess revenue (or profit), while serving the community. Ardently addressing the overweight and obesity problem will benefit both for-profits and non-profits.

Therefore, for-profit organizations, such as Takeda, and non-profit organizations, such as Florida Hospital and Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, have good reasons to want to develop effective weight loss products and procedures. Further, the Florida Hospital-Sanford Burnham-Takeda partnership might encourage standalone for-profit medical weight loss clinics to look for ways to partner with non-profit organizations to fight overweight and obesity.

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