Russell Allen announced his resignation recently and we should all thank him for six years of great service to the Florida Life Science community and wish him well in his new position in Georgia.
Whenever anyone with the influence that Russell had leaves his position, there is an opportunity for re-thinking objectives and strategies. BioFlorida should take that opportunity for a thorough reexamination. I’d like to suggest some questions the board might want to ask itself:
BioFlorida has attempted to be all things for all people, but to do that with a small staff and small budget. That combination can not be successful in the long run. Should BioFlorida expand to cover its widest aspirations, or concentrate on what it can do best and leave the other things to other organizations?
In a state as large as Florida, with its Life Science assets scattered among many centers, there is a need to balance state-wide activities like industry representation to the state government with regional activities like networking. How should BioFlorida address that balance, perhaps with greater emphasis on its regional groups?
Taking on a wide range of objectives leads, inevitably, to the need to balance conflicts between those objectives. For example, the objective of cheer leading the industry for outside investors may call for a positive bias when viewing the statistics, while the objective of building a strong local community may require a more cold-blooded approach to those same statistics. What are the specific objectives of the organization and how should they be balanced?
Objectives can be static or forward looking. BioFlorida can focus on the current situation and aim to do things like industry representation to the government, or it can focus on really building the Life Science community in Florida by providing pro-active leadership to address the impediments to growth such as the lack of seed investment capital. What is the best balance?
BioFlorida can strictly aim to represent its membership or is can work more broadly to support and enhance the collaboration of the many other good groups that support Florida’s Life Sciences. Should the organization be exclusive or inclusive?
I don’t know if the BioFlorida Board wants to seize this opportunity or just wants to continue on the same path as in the past. I personally hope they don’t miss the chance to make things better.