Among the many amazing conversations that we had during SxSW this year, the one that Kyle Flaherty and I had with Sanofi’s Michele Polz stands out for a number of reasons.

First, the work that’s been done by her Patient Solutions team in Sanofi’s US Diabetes franchise (WCG Client) is truly remarkable.  More on that in a moment.  The second is that they were able to build a highly visible innovation challenge, in partnership with Todd Park and the Department of Health and Human Services.  In six weeks.

The idea behind the first Data Design Diabetes Challenge, now in its second year, was born at SxSW in 2011.  The program was formally launched in June of that year at the Health Data Initiative Forum.  I’ve known global corporations that couldn’t get a twitter account started in six weeks time – much less an innovation competition that had over 100 entries, and is now supported by its own blog, twitter account and facebook page. AND, if you really want to know more, you can sign up to watch Demo Day live on May 16th.

According to Michele, the main enabler of their success was that there was an incredibly focused cross-functional team behind her, including all of the right players from their legal, regulatory and compliance teams.  The winner of that competition,, is now being considered as a potential partner while other entrants have successfully started their own businesses.  The 2012 competition is now in full swing – you can learn more about it on the Data Design Diabetes web site. Or,

As you know, we always close these LiveFromStubbs conversations with a conversation about music and barbecue.  Michele’s shouldn’t be missed.  TEASER: Michele’s story involves Katy Perry and a law enforcement officer.  But you have to watch the video to fid out the rest. 😉