Mendor Blog

  • Try out profiling - a two-week program that describes the behaviour of your blood glucose!

    We are happy to announce a major update to the Mendor Balance Diabetes Management Platform.


    The updated Mendor Balance service is able to profile your blood glucose behaviour in two weeks! This is how it works:


    - Profiling program is a two-week period during which you should make five pair measurements over each of your three daily
    routines. When successfully completed, the program will produce a report that describes the behaviour of your
    blood glucose. Try out profiling here.

    Furthermore, the update includes few other amazing features that you have been waiting for:

    - A completely new and easy-to-use user interface. Enjoy!

    - Mac upload from Bayer meters (contour, contour xt, contour usb, contour usb next). We know that many of you have 

    been waiting for this a long time! Remember that Mac upload works with Mendor Discreet meters also.


    Let us know what do you think and send your feedback to balance.team(at)mendor.com
    Mendor Balance Team

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  • Mendor through the eyes of a Corporate Grandma

    About three years ago Mendor was looking for an employee with this ad:

    Open position: Corporate Grandma

    Mendor Oy helps people with diabetes, but sometimes we also need help. Now we are looking for a positive and heartfelt elderly person to help us in our office in Keilaniemi. Applications from grandfathers are also welcome.

    An extraordinary position was offered, which didn’t require a traditional CV, but rather life experience, positivity and a great heart. The first task that was mentioned was to strengthen the soul and the warm spirit of the office. In return, Mendor offered an active work environment and nice coworkers.

    The ad was widely noticed, and also the curiosity of many grandmas and a few grandpas was piqued, so was mine. I wanted to find out more about this company and to be the one who would help in everyday activities in the office and bring warmth, life experience and the perspective of an elderly person.

    Surprisingly, my wish came true. I had spent leisurely retirement days for a few years, when I got the opportunity to get to know this active working community, and the nice people. I was immediately impressed by the enthusiastic and bright atmosphere of the company.

    I go to the office a couple times a week for a few hours at a time. I make coffee, I keep the kitchen in order and make sure that there are fruits and a variety of snacks available. Sometimes I bake a pie or do something else to cheer people up. If needed, I also help to organize meetings, recreational events and small celebrations in the everyday life.  Often when I am helping around the kitchen, people stop by to have spontaneous conversations and chats while having a little break from the work. Usually we talk about something other than work-related matters.  However, social awareness is required to sense if somebody is too busy, then a smile, a kind word or a hug is sufficient.

    We can improve our daily lives by doing little things that bring you smile. Sometimes, doing good is simply courtesy and consideration of others. Even the smallest things count. I believe that with these everyday small actions I have managed to strengthen the warm spirit of the community even more.

    Mendor improves the quality of life of people with diabetes and helps them feel better. Work is done with a big heart and from person to person. The management relies on its employees and gives them freedom and space to operate, and also thanks them for a job well done. Enthusiastic people encourage each other, positive thinking changes into action and gives strength to cope also in difficult times.

    You can expect something great and remarkable from this company. The conquest of the world is already well underway. Thank you that I was able to join you on this journey.

    Corporate Grandma's guideline for life: Let's help each other and not leave anyone alone.

    With love,

    Airi-Kaija

     

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  • Positive Leadership

    POSITIVE LEADERSHIP

    I've personally been a fairly positive chap since I was a kid. At least that's what I keep on hearing from my parents even today.
    Therefore it has been easy for me to get really excited about positive psychology and recently its applications in leadership and management practice. I've seen many potential interfaces and areas working with Mendor, but also due to my studies at Aalto University. Especially Professor & Philosopher Esa Saarinen has been a great influence.

    I wanted to write this blog post to tell you about positive psychology in general and to contemplate how it could benefit leadership and management practice.

    LET'S START WITH POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY
    Positive psychology is a relatively new branch of psychology mainly by thought leaders such as M.Seligman, M.Csikszentmihalyi & B. Fredrickson (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Positive_psychology). It aims to find and nurture genius and talent and to make normal life more fulfilling.
    There are several studies showing that positive thinking and behavior increase happiness and propel even more positivity in several ways.

    To mention a few great pieces to start off with:
    - Seligman's TED talk - http://www.ted.com/talks/martin_seligman_on_the_state_of_psychology.html
    - Fredrickson's book - http://www.amazon.com/Positivity-Top-Notch-Research-Reveals-Change/dp/0307393747 - a must-read!
    - Csikszentmihalyi's TED talk - http://www.ted.com/talks/mihaly_csikszentmihalyi_on_flow.html

    How could these inspiring concepts & principles then be applied to leadership?
    How could they become relevant in an every day setting at companies?

    FIRST, WHAT IS LEADERSHIP?
    One definition is that leadership is a social process of influencing people.
    Leadership is also a process of organizing and working with people to achieve a common goal.
    Leadership defines what the future should look like, aligns people with a vision, and inspires them to make it happen despite the obstacles (John Kotter).

    Taking this a bit further, into more of a process type format:
    1. Formulating a vision (the better the more people involved in this process early on, to a reasonable extent),
    2. Defining a strategy on how to eventually reach the vision (the better the more people involved in this process early on)
    3. Communicating the strategy
    4. Working together with key stakeholders in iterating 2 & 3 to eventually reach 1.

    POSITIVE LEADERSHIP
    So maybe leadership could be considered being positive if it aims to change things for the better (e.g. through great team work?),  and to make (working) life more fulfilling? Maybe it could be considered positive if it creates positive energy/feelings and change, as well as empowers people to work on things they feel are important and motivating. Better life through better leadership?

    I think values are an integral part of basically any leadership & company culture, and positivity in itself is definitely one of the best values there is. There are of course other very important values one might relate to but as this post is about positive leadership, I won't go into other values now. However if you are interested, Harry Kraemer has written some pretty good stuff about value based leadership.
    A good introductory article can be found here: http://www.forbes.com/2011/04/26/values-based-leadership.html

    So maybe the process of leadership could be more positively orientated if it was slightly adjusted or modified towards the following:

    1. Formulating a positive and inspiring vision, something that can change the world to become a better place.
    A truly motivating vision is something that drives people and companies to do and create great things on a global scale,
    even for the benefit of the whole humanity. Something that is uplifting and elevating. Something that people can relate to.
    Something that is beyond any individual.

    (Important related questions: Why do you come to work every morning (especially relevant question in Finland during the winter months)?
    What makes you tick?)

    2. Defining a motivating, challenging and constructive strategy on how to reach the vision
    Strategy becomes positive through being motivating, challenging and constructive (aiming to build something that matters),
    and through living/residing in a positive company culture.
    Strategic building blocks (goals & objectives) need to be something that are measurable and simple enough
    so there is a clear picture ahead of everyone on how to reach the common vision. How can I contribute?
    When the culture / team spirit is right and the objectives ahead are adequately challenging, the whole strategy becomes positively charged.

    3. communicating the strategy to people around you in a positive and constructive way.
    Positive communication is something that often happens through stories and tales. Many of us remember these from our childhood.
    Many stories had some type of encouraging message and meaning to them. Something that you even today remember, that taught you something. Maybe there was a story of a brave man or a women who achieved something great, something to look up to.
    This must mean that communication is positive when it creates more positive than negative energy/feelings, when it enables a possibility for a positive change.
    It must be positive also when it makes you feel empowered and it inspires you to aim higher and push harder to reach your objectives glimmering in the horizon.

    4. working together with people around you on iterating 2 & 3 to eventually reach 1.
    Build a great team of people and remove all obstacles for them to start working together on something they believe in, in an organized and well structured (but fun) way. Personally I try to make the conditions such that people are free to execute and free to start realizing their vision and ideas on how things should be done and improved. I try to personally relate to different roles and understand what kind of support & freedom etc I would like to have if I was in that person's shoes.

    If the daily interaction between the team members is more constructive and positive than negative, then the culture in the organization starts to thrive. This does not mean that there wouldn't be need to face difficulties & challenges very honestly and that tough decisions would not need to made - totally the opposite!
    Winning difficulties together and becoming a stronger team through failures & learning is the basis for a great culture.
    It is also a basis for a healthy self esteem and personal growth.

    So to me positive leadership is about seeing the positive in people rather than the negative.
    However, this does not mean that you wouldn't need to be meticulous, and sometimes try and fail several times in finding the right folks to build just the right team(s). Be a realist and trust your gut feelings (I should have, far more often than I have)
    Positive leadership is about enabling the development of positively and constructively charged processes and habits (= culture).
    It is also about removing mental barriers and fears of failure (or other fears). Or actually it is about building a culture where fear isn't dictating the decisions and strategy of the organization. There's always fear but who's on the driver's seat, that's the big question!

    So often I hear people saying what they cannot achieve or what cannot be done… I think that this mindset is actually the biggest obstacle of them all, and that's self-created... Nowadays when I hear this kind of talk, I tend to mention Richard Branson who was a dyslectic and quit school when he was 16…. and became a multibillionaire!

    It is important to focus on the future and the possibilities rather than dwelling in the past troubles & failures.
    Like Peter Drucker said: "Good executives focus on opportunities rather than problems."

    (Needless to say that learning from one's own, and even others' mistakes is essentially important)

    To summarize, maybe positive leadership is actually about enabling positive change and positive individual growth? Maybe it's about elevating people and organizations just a bit higher. Maybe it is about helping people & organizations not to let their fears control their future, and to achieve something great on an individual and even on a global level.


    What do you think?

    Kristian

     

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  • How could public sector better support local innovations?

     

    I have been thinking about the Finnish public tender system and come to a conclusion that the system, as it is setup right now, does pretty much nothing to help out local start-ups in Finland. Unfortunately.

    When it comes to for example healthcare products, the public sector is often the biggest buyer.
    Supplies such as glucose meters for people with diabetes are being reimbursed, purchased and distributed by the public sector every year for some 40 million €.
    Private sector (mainly private pharmacies and some online retailers) also acts as a channel but it is a relatively small one as most of the volumes (over 90%) go through the public sector.
     
    If a start-up, with a product that is being purchased through the public tender system (e.g. Mendor), is trying to get home market acceptance & reference before going abroad (references are crucially important for any new businesses), then there are probably some serious challenges ahead.

    In my experience, though it seems weird, the public sector buyers seems to have a relatively ignorant attitude towards new local products & services. Often even so that answering calls or emails seems to be impossible...

    I'm happy if someone else has different kinds of experiences but this is the reality that I've faced with Mendor.
    Our Mendor Discreet™ glucose meter, a Finnish design & usability innovation with numerous national & international awards (Innosuomi, Red Herring, Tie50 etc.), has been available for two years in Finland but almost only through a private sector pharmacy chain (Yliopiston Apteekki). Couple of cities (city of Vaasa & smaller cities in that area) have been positive exceptions but otherwise the public sector has totally ignored our existence and the fact that we employ local people who pay taxes in Finland.

    Mendor Discreet has gotten some great feedback and seems to serve a segment of people with diabetes well. Nevertheless, the public sector has not been able to find ways to make our product available for these people in local cities & municipalities.

    I've heard comments such that the tender legislation and procedures are slow and difficult to change etc… but in this situation we are now facing as a nation (Finland's export has been pretty much in decline since 2008 - export counts for some 39% of our whole GDP), I think we should seriously consider doing something about it.
    Many local start-ups would hugely benefit from having the public sector as a first major buyer and reference for getting further deals abroad.
    It is a fact that when you go out there, potential customers tend to ask how you are doing in your home market…

    Well, luckily Mendor has managed to find some good answers despite of our poor home market situation and is now getting more than 99% of revenues from abroad. Mendor invoiced more than 1MEUR in Q1 / 2013.

    The Swedes (in addition to some other European countries) have been more proactive and innovative than our public sector in Finland.
    As an example, Mendor ended up winning a public tender in Västra Götaland (Gotherburg region) in Sweden in 2012.
    There the Mendor Discreet meter was selected as the primary integrated glucose meter product to be provided for the local people with diabetes.
    The Swedes wanted to try out something new and cool from their beloved neighbors. Good for us.
    People with diabetes in that region had been very curious to get to try out new and innovative glucose meters that would help in their daily management of diabetes. The Gothenburg region tender committee decided to arrange a hearing and invited Mendor folks to present our product. They were satisfied in what they saw and after some time Mendor won a deal through their tender. We've heard great feedback ever since from the local people with diabetes.

    But seriously, is this the only way? Why always Sweden first?
    Could we not start being a bit more proactive in Finland, in helping each other out and supporting our local innovations?
    After all, Finland needs new export engines and these new export engines need home market references!

     

    Kristian Ranta


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  • Mendor - Finland's favorite start-up?

    Mendor is a nominee for the best start-up in Finland.

    If you agree, please check out this page, also with a video.

    Like here if you like  ;)

    http://tosielamandiili.fi/startup.shtml/1632061/mendor

    Thanks a lot!

     

    Best regards. Kristian

     

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