Medtronic Diabetes Internet Forum Recap

Well the day arrived. Having made the journey from Alicante in south eastern Spain to Geneva via Madrid in time for lunch I was fortunate enough to meet up with both Tim from everyone’s favourite British Diabetes blog and Yoan from everyone’s favourite Health Communication Specialist from Medtronic.

Lake Geneva, Lausanne, Switzerland

Tim in Lake Geneva

After negotiating the dizzy heights of the train from Geneva to Lausanne we were introduced to our digs for the stay, which was even more welcome after having to climb the mini glacier to get there!

We were frog marched, sorry patiently guided through out the beautiful city of Lausanne and was treated to mini tour via many delights such as the Olympic Museum, the Marina which sits on Lake Geneva.  Thank you Yoan!

IOC Museum, Lausanne, Switzerand

Tim & Yoan - IOC Museum

After many hours gallivanting around, being massively entertained by Tim we retired in order to pretty ourselves in order to meet up with the rest of the working party over dinner.

A fun filled evening over drinks and dinner was a great opportunity to sit down and talk openly about diabetes, about what they hoped to gain from the meeting and so forth.

A great time was had by all and Yoan finally was able to retire after making sure Tim and I did not create any trouble or bring Medtronic in disrepute!

Saturday arrived, followed by mountainous volumes of breakfast eaten by all the invited attendees, followed by a mini bus ride that made F1 drivers look pretty poor, and he would certainly not look out of place driving a taxi here in Spain!

We arrived at a rather bland industrial area were shepherded into a vault, subjected to a strip search and forced to sign away our rights in the form of Non Disclosure Agreements.

Medtronic HQ, Switzerland

Medtronic HQ, Switzerland

The meeting began with a short introduction by all in attendance, whilst providing a summary of the days proceedings. The main focus of the day was really for Medtronic to discuss what people think about their company and what can they do about it.  How Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter can help patients interact directly with a company the size of Medtronic and vice versa.

We were given access to see some of their latest products, their thinking for future development and how they interact with customers on a daily basis.

It was apparent that the team presenting to us were extremely enthusiastic and that said enthusiasm swept through the meeting room all day.  We managed to grab a sneak peak at some the products being developed and given an insight into their way of thinking.  Obviously I would love to say more but I would have to fear for one’s own life I were to say anything!!

Lunch soon arrived and we were given a tour of the fantastic facilities including the “pacemaker” factory and where legend tell us about puppies in the factory!! Want to find out more about Puppies and Lake Geneva.

An important topic of the day was the use of Social Media such as facebook, twitter and other applications that allow for greater interaction with customers.

This is why we were brought in I guess! One of the things I mentioned was being able to use social media sites to not only communicate information/news but also to manage their online reputation/brand.

A thoroughly good day, with lots of great chatter, plenty of laughter, whilst working towards the common goal of improving patient care, improving health care products and improving lives.

Medtronic HQ, Switzerland

Medtronic HQ, Switzerland

We were extremely well looked after by Medtronic, noting that whilst they were hosting the meeting they were keen to demonstrate their unbiased nature of this event throughout.

It was then for us to say Bon Voyage and head back home.

Thanks to everyone that I met, it was a pleasure and a privilege and look forward to the next meet up.



Please note: Medtronic kindly picked up the tab for the flights, hotel and select meals over the 2 days together with Tim’s bar tab!  Not at any stage did Medtronic ask for anything from the attendees nor asked us to write about or champion Medtronics products to a global audience.

Obviously they would expect that we would write about events in Switzerland including the Medtronic Puppies!

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8 Responses to Medtronic Diabetes Internet Forum Recap

  1. Tim June 14, 2010 at 2:35 pm #

    I feel privileged to be in at least the top five your favourite diabetes blogs Mike!

    • Mike June 14, 2010 at 2:40 pm #

      I actually said everyone’s 3rd fav blog, you are of course number 1 in my books.

      Did you ever pay for those beers from the hotel?

  2. Michael Hoskins June 16, 2010 at 2:25 am #

    Great recap of that event, Mike! Thanks for keeping us up on Medtronic’s efforts on this front! Roche has something similiar and had one last year, and doing another in Florida this month – same thought in using social media to help manage the reputation and customer relations. Good to see Medronic doing that there, and will look forward to the company’s updates as time goes on! Hopefully they’ll have some of those same types of meetings here in the States, too.

    • Mike June 16, 2010 at 8:59 am #

      Hey Michael. Yep it a was a great couple of days and very refreshing indeed. We were venturing into the unknown a little.

      I think being ale to break down some traditional barriers was great and we have set up a working party to continue those efforts online until we all meet up again.

      I’ve read about the Roche events and was kinda jealous! 🙂

      Hope you have a great time in Florida..

  3. Crystal July 2, 2010 at 10:36 pm #

    Great stuff, Mike.
    Glad you and Tim got to go.
    More companies need to get the patients perspective!!

    Now… what is this deal about puppies???

    • Mike July 3, 2010 at 9:45 am #

      Thanks Crystal.. It was a unique and refreshing opportunity to be able to sit down with the big boys and talk openly and honestly about how we do things, products and all that Biz.

      Now the Puppies! Tim and I were forced into additional NDA’s to stop the Puppy Story surfacing….. 🙂 But I’ll let you put 2 and 2 together 😉 Lake Geneva and Factory… hahaha


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