Corporate culture and respect for all

Obama fist pumps a White House cleanerYou can tell a lot about an organisation by how its leaders treat their most junior colleagues.

As a newly hired writer on a financial magazine back in the 1990s, I was summoned in my second week for lunch with the senior partner of one of the UK’s leading accountancy firms. As my soup grew cold, he took me to task for my title’s ‘attitude’ to his firm, berating me for the numerous apparent editorial transgressions of colleagues. Continue reading

Health collaboration in Russia helped reduce blood pressure, deaths

Tamara Ivanovna Yachmentseva, a patient in the Yaroslavl hypertension projectTamara Yachmentseva had planned a long, happy retirement with her husband. But it was not to be. Shortly after he stopped working he suffered a devastating stroke and passed away, leaving the former kindergarten teacher widowed and alone. Distraught, Tamara’s health declined until she suffered a major heart attack. Continue reading

How a love of sport led to a science breakthrough

Novartis scientist Jeff Weers, whose love of baseball gave him the idea to transform particle engineeringJeff Weers’ passion inspired a new way of getting inhaled medicine past the body’s natural defenses to reach the lungs. He found inspiration for a medical breakthrough in an unlikely place – a baseball field. His passion for the sport led to a big idea: a new way of getting inhaled medicine past the natural obstacle course of the human mouth and throat to reach the lungs and treat respiratory diseases.

“Scientists know that their best ideas do not always present themselves in the lab,” said Weers. “Many of the things you see around you in your daily life can sometimes present solutions to the most intractable problems in science.” Continue reading

Swiss railways’ peace offering to irate ticket holders

pendolinoThe Swiss Railway System (SBB or CFF, depending on whether you’re a German or French speaker) has reduced fines and, for now, will waive them completely for passengers who inadvertently bought the wrong tickets.

The organisation, famed in Switzerland and indeed worldwide for its efficient service, accepted that too many people seemed to be falling foul of a new ticketing system, introduced at the end of 2011, which requires passengers to buy before they ride. Continue reading