Stuart and I had the chance to join other Icon Group leaders in Palo Alto last week to visit one of our key partners, Varian Medical Systems. Varian manufacture the linear accelerators used across the ROC business, and our partnership with them is an important enabler of the extraordinary growth ROC is achieving across Australia and now into Asia.
The ‘Connect’ value which is universal across Icon Group (and the ‘C’ in Epic) reflects the importance we place on taking a partnership approach to our relationships with key suppliers rather than the more commonly seen customer-supplier style interaction. We’ve always believed that successful long term relationships are created by taking the time to understand the business needs and drivers of our suppliers and commit to delivering on those, in exactly the same way we expect them to do the same of our business. Without this two way commitment it’s really difficult to build the mutually beneficial, long term sustainable partnerships that we believe are crucial in delivering both parties the best chance of success.
We were thrilled to have the chance to meet with senior Varian executives and share the vision Icon Group has for continuing to improve access to radiation therapy for patients across the globe, and hear how well this aligned with their own goal of seeing a world without fear of cancer. We have a real shared vision around the importance of not just increasing access to cancer care in emerging markets, but in making sure that the care delivered is of the highest quality.
The values alignment between our organisations was obvious from both the conversations and from what Stuart and I had observed during our early morning tour of the manufacturing facility before the day’s meetings commenced. We’ve always found that the best way to get a feel for the culture of an organisation is to walk the floor and see how the people at the front line feel about what they do and where they work, and we absolutely loved the vocal commitment to quality cancer care we heard from every team member we encountered.
With technology playing such a vital role in the delivery of healthcare now the conversations quickly turned to the digital tools and enablers that are driving both businesses, and we found a strong alignment there too. I particularly enjoyed hearing about the work Varian are doing with 360 Oncology and could see a lot of synergies with what we are doing with Health Director. Giving patients increased access to their healthcare information is an important part of making sure they feel as informed and in control as is possible during their treatment and beyond, and the digital products we’ve each got underway will greatly assist with this.
Walking around the grounds of Stanford it was fascinating to reflect on the fact that Varian was the first company to lease land from Stanford University back in the 1950’s in what would then become Stanford’s Industrial Park (now Stanford Research Park), and nearly 70 years later is still responsible for advances just as cutting edge as that of it’s newer – and possibly more widely known – neighbours, such as Tesla, Nest and VMware.
Flying from Australia to Palo Alto for a day of meetings and then straight back again might seem like madness (it certainly did to the Virgin Australia flight crew who we shared the trip over and back with!) but it was definitely worthwhile and left us really excited about the great things we are going to achieve together going forward.