Healthcare’s Slice of IoT: Wirelessly Connected Medical Devices

Connected Medical Devices and IoT
Connected Medical Devices and IoT

The billion-device, billion-dollar Internet of Things (IoT) holds the potential to dramatically transform healthcare.

Wirelessly connected medical devices increase patient mobility while giving healthcare professionals real-time access to patient data, throughout the hospital, and at the point of care.

Devices that were previously tied to a computer can now communicate wirelessly with one another using Bluetooth, ZigBee or over a hospital’s existing Wi-Fi network.

Today, for instance, an EMG machine used to detect neuromuscular abnormalities can wirelessly transmit critical-care data to other local devices or maintenance data back to the OEM.

This stream of information provides an optimal experience for users, while enabling medical device companies to improve product functionality.

Connected Medical Devices: Risk and Reward

Connected medical devices hold tremendous promise for medical device manufacturers. According to the Groupe Speciale Mobile Association (GSMA), network-enabled medical devices represent a potential revenue opportunity of $6.6 billion.

Medical OEMs, however, face particular technical challenges when it comes to the IoT and connected medical devices.

  1. While integrating sensors into a toaster can produce a handy consumer device, safely and securely integrating wireless connectivity into a new or existing medical device can be life-saving.
  2. Wireless connectivity also adds a new level of complexity to medical device design and development.The FDA recommends that medical OEMs take the following into consideration:
    • Selection of wireless technology
    • Quality of service
    • Coexistence
    • Security
    • Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC)
  3. Design validation must also include risk analysis of the RF wireless communications and control functions.
  4. Determining the best wireless scheme also depends upon a device’s unique environment, as well as the required level of privacy support and cybersecurity.

It’s important to note that not all devices need to connect to the Internet; they may simply need to connect to a few other local devices. Different schemes also have varying password and encryption methods.

Improving the patient experience with wireless medical diagnostics
Improving the patient experience with wireless medical diagnostics

Connectivity Know-How

Through stringent device testing, design validation, and the verification methods necessary to meet regulatory requirements, EMS providers with wireless communications expertise can help medical OEMs overcome the unique challenges of wireless-connectivity integration.

With Creation’s long history of providing innovative design, manufacturing and test solutions for complex Communications products, over the last few years it’s been a rewarding experience for us to leverage this knowledge to help our Medical customers produce new devices quickly and reliably.

Safely and securely reducing time-to-market while reducing risk never felt healthier.

If you’d like more information about how we can help you with product development or manufacturing improvements for connected medical devices and M2M, please visit our website or let me know!

The Changing Medical Devices Landscape: Compliance & Social Media

Medical Devices: Creation Technologies Receives FDA Registration
FDA Registration increasingly important in OEM-EMS Provider relationships

One of Creation’s fastest growing segments is the Medical Devices market, and it’s an extremely exciting one.

Compliance & Innovation

For many reasons, it’s clear that the Medical industry is being transformed. I don’t think it can be overstated that, now more than ever, strong partnerships between OEM and EMS provider are critical to innovation and time-to-market.

After all, as the demand chain goes, so must the supply.

Fundamentally, the need for compliance is at the forefront. With the recent changes in FDA requirements for medical device registration and listing, more contract manufacturers will be seeking FDA registration to prove compliance capabilities.

(A small plug: recently, Creation’s Mississauga business unit became our 4th North American manufacturing facility with FDA registration. 12 of our13 manufacturing business units are ISO 13485-certified, and Creation Design Services is both ISO 13485 and ISO 14971-certified. You can read the press release here: Creation Technologies Receives FDA Registration).

At the same time that increasingly exacting regulatory requirements are challenging Medical Device manufacturers to keep raising the Quality bar (how high is high?), technological innovation continues to drive industry innovation.

For instance, the potential of micro electromechanical systems (MEMs) and the trend toward personalization are inspiring the new era of Connected Health, or the transformation of healthcare as we’ve known it through the increasing use of new wireless technologies.

For EMS providers like Creation that have extensive Communications experience, this intersection of what were once distinct vertical markets is exhilarating. And, of this subset of EMS providers, those with sophisticated Design capabilities have the opportunity to play an absolutely vital role in design and development of new modalities.

Medical Devices & Social Media
How will innovations in communication change the Medical Devices industry?

Social Media & The FDA

At Creation, we’ve seen our Medical OEM partners taking a more holistic view of patient care, which is one of the things enabling them to outpace their competition in this environment.

But is there such a thing as too inclusive, too “customer-centric” when it comes to the Medical Devices industry?

On the subject of personalization and ‘on demand’ use, it’s fascinating from a marketing and communications standpoint to see the breadth and type of information that’s being shared today in this highly regulated industry.

There’s an interesting interview with Tom Abrams, Director of the FDA Office of Prescription Drug Promotion, about the potential impact of social media and the much-awaited FDA guidance on its use (possibly slated for summer 2014).

As someone involved with social media and digital communications strategy, I was struck by one of Abrams’ comments:

“Our objective is that when you present claim information, it should be balanced with appropriate material, such as risk information. It should not just say all good things about a product and leave out the risk.”

While the focus of the interview is primarily on how pharmaceutical companies are using social media to communicate with their consumer audience, what strikes me is that Abrams is calling for a ‘balanced approach’ to social media use in the Medical sector.

Current information consumption statistics tell us that the longer the message is, the more diminishing the returns. (On that note, I hope you’re still reading!!) Similarly, many social media platforms have a very short character limit for updates in order to maximize activity and optimize the user experience from an architecture standpoint.

While this is almost certainly a chicken-and-egg scenario, the fact remains that attention spans are dwindling and so ‘balanced’ approaches are highly uncommon. Hit ‘em hard, hit ‘em fast, and with just one key message. Not several. Not inclusive, and balanced.

I’m very curious to see what the FDA’s social media guidelines will entail, and how people and companies will respond.

What do you think? How will this increased focus on compliance – in production and communication – affect a company’s ability to innovate? Will Medical Device manufacturers be thwarted in their quest to connect with the patient to develop solutions that best fit their needs? Or will avenues like expanded at-home diagnostics revolutionize the industry?

Movember 2012: The Shave Down

It is with the shedding of a manly mustachioed tear that we wrap up a thoroughly successful Movember for 2012 (NB: men don’t cry – their eyes vomit water). I realize we’re well into December now, and that only the jolly white moustache is on everyone’s minds now, but if you’re anything like me, after every Movember there is a mourning period for our furry little friends that one must respect. Naming it didn’t help. Suffice to say when it came to shaving ‘Miguel’ off of his upper lip perch, it got a little…e-mo’-tional.

But the legacy our lip warmers left behind for 2012 is nothing to be scoffed at. Our dedicated crews, including 80 Mo’ Bros and Mo’ Sistas, raised a monumental $10,259 – all for men’s health awareness, education and research.

Hats off to:

Creation Mexicali
Creation Bay Area
Creation Burnaby Mo Crew
Creation VBU Blue Manchu
Creation Toronto Mo Crew, and
Creation HQ Mo Crew

For those of you playing along, Canada was the leading fundraising nation for the 2nd year in a row with (at time of publishing) 247,318 registered Canadians raising $39.4 million. The UK and Australia rounded out the Top 3 for 2012.

This year was my first official foray into Movember, and so I’d like to share some of my discoveries, lessons and observations during the month-long test of manhood.

Top 5 Movember Lessons/Observations:

 

1. Take men’s health seriously and get regular health checks. With great moustache comes great responsibility.

2. Practice daily Mo’Kaizen – Trimming and tidying your moustache reduces its unsightly food catching abilities, keeps it gentlemanly for the Mo’ Sistas and helps eliminate dreaded facial Muda.

3. 5S can apply to your Mo’ too – Sort, set, shine, standardize and sustain your Mo’ grooming station and routines. There’s nothing worse than scampering around the bathroom, face covered in shaving cream, blade in hand, searching for that elusive silky moustache wax you love. Get it in order and your Mo’ will reflect your discipline.

4. No man is an island. Even the biggest Mo’ Bro will discover the unity in Movember – the silent acknowledging nod at the bus stop, the cheeky smile from the Mo’ Sista in the supermarket isle, the encouraging, all-knowing look from the veteran Mo’ Mentor (that’s a Mo’ Bro that’s dedicated his life to the long-term cultivation of a fine moustache) – know that you are not alone.

5. You will have Mo’ Downs. These are silent friendly Mo’ Showdowns between Mo’ Bros. Mo’ Bros will unconsciously size up and compare competing moustaches as they cross paths. You will win some. You will lose some. Do not be disheartened, you are on your own path of Mo’ destiny and everything is unfolding as it should.

A big Thank You to all who participated and for all your generous supporters, Movember 2012 couldn’t have been as much a success without your tireless efforts and your manly Mo’s.

Until Movember 2013 ladies and gentlemen, here’s a quote from Salvador Dali’s book dedicated entirely to his moustache:

“Since I don’t smoke, I decided to grow a mustache – it is better for the health. However, I always carried a jewel-studded cigarette case in which, instead of tobacco, were carefully placed several mustaches, Adolphe Menjou style. I offered them politely to my friends: “Mustache? Mustache? Mustache?” Nobody dared to touch them. This was my test regarding the sacred aspect of mustaches.”

― Salvador Dalí,
Dalí’s Mustache

Below: Pictures of the Movember 2012 Gala Party in Vancouver

Mo’ Bros and Mo’ Sistas Unite for Movember 2012

Movember 2012
Movember 2012

You may have noticed an unusual number of men sporting (or should I say sprouting) some upper-lip topiary.

Not sure what I’m talking about?

How about face furniture, snot mop, nose mane, lip weasel? Or nose neighbour, soup strainer, face fungus, lip rug? Still not cluing in?

I’ll forgive you for not knowing what I’m talking about here and come right out and say it – moustaches.

That’s right; I’m talking about facial felons, misplaced eyebrows and lip caterpillars.

This time of year everyone has got to love a bit of upper-lip plumage. That’s because it’s all for a great cause. Movember.

In case you haven’t heard about Movember, here’s a brief rundown from the Movember website:

During November each year, Movember is responsible for the sprouting of moustaches on thousands of men’s faces, in Canada and around the world. With their “Mo’s”, these men raise vital funds and awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer and male mental health initiatives.

On Movember 1st, guys register at Movember.com with a clean-shaven face. For the rest of the month, these selfless and generous men, known as Mo Bros, groom, trim and wax their way into the annals of fine moustachery. Supported by the women in their lives, Mo Sistas, Movember Mo Bros raise funds by seeking out sponsorship for their Mo-growing efforts.

Mo Bros effectively become walking, talking billboards for the 30 days of November. Through their actions and words, they raise awareness by prompting private and public conversation around the often ignored issue of men’s health.”

Across the Creation family, we’ve got various teams and individuals growing their finest ‘moustachery’ to raise funds and awareness for men’s health. The Creation family has raised a staggering $3,429 to date for this manliest of causes.

Since we are only halfway through this year’s Mo’ season (and more than likely our facial follicle foibles are still yet to mature into fully fledged manly Magnum P.Is) I thought I’d share some of my favourite Mo’ growing tips.

  1. Stare it down in the mirror while reciting football statistics.
  2. Stroke it. This will also make you seem wiser.
  3. Give it a manly name. Max, Frank, Hank, Buck are all acceptable.
  4. Talk about it in third person to family members and friends.
  5. Rub sawdust and motor oil into it.
  6. Do not remove food from your Mo’. Allow chipmunks to feast on any facial crumbs lodged in your face furniture – foraging only helps your foliage and makes you one with nature.
  7. Every morning roar and toss your nose mane as if it were a real lion’s mane.
  8. Read a technical manual.
  9. Create a fire from scratch using only a rock and hunting knife.
  10. Wear flannel.

Now that I have revealed my greatest Mo’ growing secrets, I expect to see some impressive moustaches waltzing around the Creation grounds and our partners.

And remember to keep that moustache to the grindstone and read the Creation Blog for more Movember updates to come.

More great tips: Mo’ Growing Tips with Nick Hofferman

What Movember is all about: Men’s Health Checklist

If you’ve got any great tips to help cultivate that face fungus, feel free to contribute a comment below.

What are your favourites?

What Is Company Culture? How Do You Measure It and Nurture It?

Annual Car Wash Fundraiser
Folks from Creation’s BC locations having fun at an annual Car Wash & BBQ fundraiser for The Boys & Girls Club and the children of Bulembu, Swaziland

What is the Creation Culture or Character?

If we do not have a firm understanding of what it is, how do we plan for it, measure it and understand what needs to be done to achieve it? How do we know we are progressing? Or are we already there?

Can you really put a hard number on a soft topic?

Great questions to be sure.

These were posed to me by a Creation team member following a recent People & Culture Scorecard input session. The People & Culture Scorecard is one tool we use to assess our progress on the journey of never-ending improvement in culture. It consists of several categories and includes some results from our People Survey, small-group interviews and review of observable data.

One of the areas of focus on the Scorecard is how we’re doing as Leaders, and in particular whether our Business Unit Leadership Teams take an active role in developing the Creation Culture.

So how do you define a Company Culture, or Character? How do you measure it?

I’m sure many of us at have had, or been asked, these same questions ourselves. My take on it is that I’m not sure if there is a “hard” answer.

I can understand the challenge of putting a “hard” number on a “soft” category like culture. In my mind, the Creation Culture, and a company’s culture in general, is simply “the way we do things around here”.

The way we think about people (paradigms), drives the way we act (behaviors), which drives the outcomes (results).

It’s the basic See-Do-Get model from Stephen Covey’s ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’.

If we truly embrace our Purpose and Core Values, it will affect, drive, and influence the way we see people. This will influence how we behave toward people. And together this will influence the results we get.

As part of a collective company culture, we have the ability to change the experiences of our teammates, suppliers, customers, family, neighbors, partners, etc., really everyone we interact with.

Building on Trust

Another way to look at it is that trust is the fundamental building block for teamwork, and trust requires trustworthy people.

Trustworthiness = Character + Competence

In this context, the company “Character” is one that exhibits the company’s Core Values and pursues its Vision.

How do we know where we are or if we have arrived?

 

First of all, let me say that at Creation we’ll never arrive because that would not be consistent with Continuous Improvement which is at the core of our Pursuit of Excellence® philosophy.

But in terms of judging where we are, we can ask ourselves some questions.

On a scale of 1 to 10, with “10” being the most amazing experience I could imagine and “1” being the worst:

  • How is my team doing at living our Core Values and pursuing our Vision of “Enriching lives by sustaining strong, profitable growth in an enjoyable and caring culture”?
  • How is my Business Unit doing?
  • How is the Business Unit Leadership Team doing?

On a scale of 1 to 10, with “10” being extremely well and “1” being extremely poorly:

  • How do we resolve conflict as a team;
  • As a Business Unit;
  • As a Business Unit Leadership Team?

There are many ways to identify and understand a company culture. Of course, it’s all relative to a point of comparison and so different people will have different answers.

The important thing to determine is “are we improving, staying the same or getting worse?” Where we are is not as important as where we are heading and the slope of the line.

What do think? What’s the slope of the line for your team? Business Unit or operating center? Company? Family? How are you contributing to culture in these environments?

Team Building Tips for Success

Earlier I wrote about our experience with Corporate Champions Vancouver and how it’s helped us to become better teammates at work. Click to read We Are The Champions! A Teamwork Success Story.

I thought I’d share some more specific ideas about factors to consider when embarking on your own team challenges.

Creation
C-R-E-A-T-I-O-N-!
C-R-E-A-T-I-O-N-! The Outline.
C-R-E-A-T-I-O-N-! (Can you see it yet?)
C-R-E-A-T-I-O-N-!  Here We Are!
C-R-E-A-T-I-O-N-! Here We Are!

In The Beginning: Team Success Tips from Year 1

In our first year, we had decent participation, some good teambuilding, and some great times together. My recommendations for when you’re starting out are…

1. Practice, Practice, Practice!!

We should have practiced more as a team.

It wasn’t so much that we needed to have practiced more to win (although that’s true too), it’s more that additional practice would have brought us closer together, forming new bonds as teammates and enabling us to identify more as a unit.

2. Consider Lifestyle

We should have thought more carefully about the events we chose.

We were so excited to get going with the program that we didn’t really weigh all our options. It sounds obvious, but if one of your goals is participation, it’s so important to consider your people and the multiple facets of their lives outside work.

The way Corporate Champions is set up, there are opportunities to enter your company teams in a number of different sporting activities – basketball, soccer, volleyball, etc.

When we made our selections, we were thinking about participation in the sense that we tried to pick the sports that the majority of people would enjoy, and where as many people as possible could participate.

What we also should have considered are factors, like:

  • The venues available to us to practice each sport
  • The times of day the events would take place
  • The days of the week the events would take place

As we discovered, these ‘lifestyle’ factors have great impact on participation levels.

Examples of some important questions to ask yourselves as part of an organizing team:

  • How many of your people have kids?
  • Do they need to be picked up after school, and do they have weekend commitments that involve their parents?
Creation Sports
Creation BC Soccer, Table Tennis and Volleyball teams hard at work.

Rolling Right Along: Team Success Tips from Year 2

In our second year, more people signed up and we saw even better teambuilding, even amongst people who don’t usually work together. The additional people enrolled and the familiarity with the events added a level of comfort and engagement that made this possible. And we definitely had fun. All I really have to say about keeping things going is that you should…

1. Practice, Practice, Practice!See the tip from Year 1 above… We still needed to practice some more!

Coming Together: Team Success Tips from Year 3

It’s June 2012 and we’ve just wrapped up our third year…our most successful year so far.

The number of participants doubled from last year. For some newcomers, this was their first time participating in any Creation event!

Part of the kudos has to go to CCV for including new sports like badminton and table tennis in their selection, increasing the variety of interests represented. But we’d learned from our first two years. Here are the lessons we learned:

1. Encourage LeadershipThis year we established team captains for each of our different sports. Our captains took on the responsibility of scheduling practices and motivating their teams.

2. Be Accomodating

We tried as best we could to be considerate of people’s personal schedules, with some practices during business hours and some after. We were also proactive in helping people remember to coordinate activities – we sent out emails and put up posters detailing events and timetables.

Creation Corporate Champions
We Are Creation Technologies!

3. Unite Under One Banner!

There’s a reason that the team uniform and brand indentity figures prominently in sports psychology. It’s an important element in forming team cohesion.

We ordered team jerseys with our company logo.

We decided on a theme – to be the best we can be, while having fun!

As a team, it’s very powerful when you can rally behind one common goal, and know that your teammates will be there to support you.

What have been your best experiences competing together as part of a team? What did you learn, or how were you changed afterward?

We Are The Champions! A Teamwork Success Story

We Are The Champions
Champions at Last! The Creation—BC Ping Pong Team celebrating their victory

As a company Creation has always believed in the importance of both engagement and teamwork, and know that there’s a big connection between the two.

As part of the People & Culture team, I’m always looking for ways to get people to feel connected to Creation, to each other, to our performance results, and so on. We need to know, is our philosophy of “work hard, play hard” alive and vibrant?

A few years back, I got a call from Corporate Champions Vancouver. At the time, we were looking for creative ways to enhance our Wellness program in BC…and still are, by the way, if anyone has any good ideas!

They’re a company that, (from their website):

“…hosts sporting events and tournaments that focus on team building and employee engagement while providing opportunities to connect and network. Our mandate is to help organizations big and small benefit from the power of sport.”

Sounds great, right?

I really liked Corporate Champions’ mandate to get companies to realize how they can benefit from the power of sport – something that can often be overlooked in a corporate setting. This program looked like it could fulfill our needs on a number of levels – health and wellness, engagement and teamwork.

Another big draw was that I got the call shortly after the exhilarating Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Like so many people, I’d been inspired by watching the athletes and their determination and ability. The thought of taking home a “gold medal” was too tempting to resist!

We decided to take the plunge. We entered into the Corporate Champions Vancouver Summer Games, a tournament that today has 35 companies and over 1,300 participants competing.

 

Creation Technologies & Corporate Champions Vancouver Summer Games 2012

The program has really enabled us to come together as a team, helping us build trust, forge stronger relationships, and form cohesive teams.

This was our third year participating in the Games, and it’s been our best year yet. The events just wrapped up last weekend, and we’re really proud of our accomplishments.

We achieved competitive success, placing in the top 3 teams in 3 of the sports we joined.

More importantly, we also achieved pride in ourselves and teambuilding success.

Being Good Sports
Being Good Sports: One of our Creation—BC soccer teams hard at play

It’s been great seeing people come to work wearing their medals, or seeing them hanging proudly at their workstations. I’ve loved listening to everyone share their stories and hear what a great time people had at the games this year.

Returning to the question of whether our “work hard, play hard” mindset is alive and vibrant, the answer’s yes!

We’re really looking forward to next year! Maybe we should start practicing now…


Are you in a leadership role, looking for ways to engage your people?

Or are you part of a team, and looking for ways to build relationships to make it stronger?

Or maybe you just want to have some fun at work!

Here are some things to think about as you consider team challenge activities.

 

Tip #1: Tie the events into your day-to-day programs and initiatives.

Whether it be wellness, health & safety or teambuilding activities, use programs you already have in place as the foundation for a team challenge. Build on the initial theme as a motivator, and tie in the competitive aspect.

Tip #2: Ask the experts.

There’s no need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to team challenges.

Consider partnering with a company like Corporate Champion Vancouver or any organization that has a simple approach to building a team. Their core expertise is in developing programs and events that provide a positive experience, and most often these organizations have optimized a model that works for a broad number of people.

Partnering externally also provides your people an opportunity to network and interact with others outside the organization, which can be a great learning experience and a way to make new friends.

Tip #3: Get aligned.

Like with any new program, you’ll want to evaluate how impactful it will be for your team, whether you have the budget, and one of the biggest questions – will people actually participate?

Pat On The Back
Pat On The Back: Members of our Creation—BC Bowling Team prepping for the next round!

Just make sure that the activities and any partner organizations align with your company’s culture, and that the environment is always encouraging and fun!

The advantage of using sport or any other universal language to get people to rally behind a goal is that it’s a great bridge between people of different ages, cultures, demographics, genders, and roles within the company.


What kinds of team building activities have you organized or taken part in? What have you liked, and what have you disliked? What tips can you give to a company looking to participate in their own team challenges?

Successful Weight Loss Challenge – We Lost It!

Weight Loss Challenge Winners
Creation – Milwaukee’s amazing Weight Loss Challenge Winners:
Jaime Miron, Alicia Frosh and Nydia Munoz lost an amazing 6.6% combined weight.

When we rolled out our Weight Loss Challenge in Creation’s Milwaukee business unit a few months ago, we really didn’t know what to expect.

Over the last decade, our People & Culture Team–that’s ‘Human Resources’, in most companies–has worked really hard to offer as much support at work as we can to make living a healthy lifestyle easy and fun. It’s been really inspiring to watch as more and more people have gotten interested, then involved, then committed.

So personally I was optimistic about the challenge, but I have to say, I really had no idea what was coming!

Thinking back to the beginning, it’s hard to believe that our first Weigh-In was over 11 weeks ago. (Yes, we took some of our inspiration from The Biggest Loser). Since then, we’ve pushed, encouraged, challenged, and held each other accountable. And the results are in!

Team Support

If you read the first post, Weight Loss Challenge – Just Lose It!, you’ll know that we organized ourselves into small teams. (Small teams are proven to be effective, offering an intimate environment for personal support. To read more, see this study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Role of social support in lifestyle-focused weight management interventions).

Our teams with the highest percentage of weight loss were the winners.

I couldn’t have imagined we’d do so well as a team. It makes my personal achievement that much better to know that I did it with friends and teammates, and that we all helped each other succeed.

I know that sounds pretty warm and fuzzy, but talk about an ultimate team-building experience! I’ve come through this a better person inside and out, and I have my teammates to thank for that.

The Final Weigh-In…

The ‘Just Lose It’ weight loss challenge was over, and the winners of the weight-losers decided, so all that was left was figuring out when to make the announcement. Why not at our Spring Wellness Walk, one of the first Creation-wide Wellness traditions and started here in Milwaukee?

Workplace Wellness Walk
Spring Wellness Walk near Creation – Milwaukee in Oak Creek, WI

Everyone gathered together. Drum roll, please….

‘Las Muchachas’ took 1st place. Jaime Miron, Alicia Frosh and Nydia Munoz lost an amazing 6.6% combined weight.

Omar Velez and Andres Chaves in ‘Team 9’ took 2nd spot with a staggering 4.8% weight loss.

Weight Loss Challenge Winners
Omar Velez and Andres Chaves achieved a staggering 4.8% weight loss

And, (this is where I get to brag a bit), I’m pleased to say that my team ‘Wasting Away in Creation-ville’ with Heather Ohlinger, Bridgette Yang, Phoua Yang, Ron Rutowski and myself came in 3rd with a 4.7% weight-loss figure.

Honorable Mention went to Marcus Daniels with an individual 12% total weight loss!

So here’s the really amazing number, and the one I wasn’t prepared for…

As a group, we lost 474.35 pounds! Yes, 474.35 pounds.

So here’s the thing. You can do it, too.


If you are thinking about a weight loss challenge of your own, either as part of a Workplace Health and Wellness program or because you’re just trying to get healthy personally, maybe our story can help motivate and get people on board.

Losing weight can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be an awful experience. Draw on your own passion to get healthy, and challenge your teammates and coworkers to join in.

You never know where it might lead, but it just might be an unexpected 475 pounds towards a healthier lifestyle!

Looking for some Workplace Weight Loss Challenge Ideas of your own? Read our earlier posts or try a 30-day weight loss challenge to start the ball rolling.

What Workplace Wellness Weight Loss Tips can you offer?

Bike to Work Week: One Man’s Love Affair with Cycling

Bike to Work Week

Cycling Around the World

I have a long love story with cycling.

I started cycling at a young age back in Mexico, like many other kids in my neighborhood. But it wasn’t until I was 15 that I took it as one of my passions, and I became part of my home state cycling team.

I loved cycling because it gave me that sense of adventure, going places where I hadn’t been before in a way that not many people would go. I used to cycle what was called “Around the World”, a ride from Guadalajara to the Riviera de Chapala lake and back, it was a 130km ride with some big hills.

I cycled all the way through my early 20s…then marriage, then kids, and work, stress, etc. These new pressures didn’t help to keep me in shape, which seems to be a very common story! I was still cycling occasionally, but I wasn’t committed.

One of the things that I love about living in Vancouver is the number of cyclists and the infrastructure in place. When I moved here in April 2009 I felt like it was the perfect place to reconnect with cycling.

I remember coming to work (from Main and 41st) during the first week of work, it was fantastic, it was Springtime, the perfect time of the year to ride a bicycle.

But it was hard to be consistent. I was used to riding in fair weather back in sunny Mexico, but not in the rainy and cold Vancouver weather!

It wasn’t until 2010 that I finally made a commitment to myself that I would achieve my goal: to ride 5,000 kms before year-end. It seemed impossible at the time.

Mental Roadblocks

Cycling in Vancouver in the Spring
Cycling in Vancouver in the Spring

For all of us, there are always things that ‘come up’ to take us off course: family obligations, internal obstacles, etc. At the end of the day it’s all mental, we set ourselves up to fail or succeed.

During the wintertime, for example, when I leave home all the ride is at night and most of it with rain and cold. Today, I don’t think about the obstacles, the rain or the cold, I just go. I know that once I’m out, I enjoy it.

So by midway through 2010, motivation had kicked in, making things easier. I was starting to lose weight and get fit…and all that while I was going to work, something I had to do anyway.

I ended 2010 having exceeded my goal with 5,116kms ridden, and then again the next year, in 2011, I also rode over 5,000kms!

Now, in 2012, I’ve decided to make it a little bit more challenging, I’m not keeping track of how far I cycle, but I’m riding a single speed, fixed gear bicycle, that makes all the hills really fun.

I’m really enjoying it! And there are lots of great reasons to keep it up.

Why Cycling? And Why Bike to Work Week?

Cycling has many benefits.

Not only has cycling helped me to get back in shape doing something I love, it has had an impact on how I deal with stress and it’s good for the environment.

I think I set a good example to my 3 kids. Today when I get home, I have the energy I need to spend with my family. No additional gym time is required.

And I save money due to rising gas prices!

I am a big advocate of cycling, not only because I see the benefits for myself, but also for my family and my community…less cars, less traffic, less pollution, less stress.

Here are some average statistics from my commute; my round-trip is around 38kms a day;

  • Commuting by car: Time 1.5hrs. Cost – $200/month.
  • Commuting by bus/skytrain: Time 2hrs. Cost – $100/month
  • Commuting by bike: Time 1.5hrs – 2hrs. Cost – Free once you get the bike. 😀

Try Cycling Yourself! Here’s How.

For those thinking about cycling to work I would recommend a few things.

  1. Get your bike tuned up, there’s nothing worse than having problems with your bike while riding it.
  2. If you don’t have a bike, buy the best bike you can afford, don’t go to the big box stores. Go to your local shop, have a budget in mind, and they should be able to help you out.
  3. Get to know your route to work. Google Maps has the option to show the best route for a bike. Find the route with less traffic.
  4. Don’t stress yourself! Take it easy at the beginning…you can try it once a week and increase your rides from there once you’re comfortable.
  5. Always wear a helmet. They look good on everyone, in their own way.
  6. Take your time, enjoy the view, stop at the local shops along the way.

Case in point, last Friday during rush hour I was able to stop at an antique shop on my way to my house and picked up a really nice old fly fishing rod without having to battle to find a parking spot…

What about you? What got you into cycling? Do you cycle to work or for pleasure or both?

Or, if you’re not cycling yet but are thinking about it, what’s holding you back? Someone might be able to offer some great advice to help.

Weight Loss Challenge – Just Lose It!

Weight-Loss Challenge: Just Lose It!Early this year, our Wellness committee in Milwaukee decided it would be fun to host a weight loss challenge at work.

At Creation, we’ve been advocates of Workplace Wellness for a long time (I’d just like to take a moment and encourage other companies to take a look at the Well Workplace program through the Wellness Council of America).

Over the last decade, we’ve seen the growing popularity of television shows like NBC’s The Biggest Loser, aimed at fighting obesity and challenging people and communities to start living a healthier lifestyle. We thought we’d tap into this kind of group challenge as a way to keep us motivated and to have some fun!

Just What the Doctor Ordered

We posted the flyers, sent the emails and spread the word for our new challenge, called Just Lose It! It turns out that it was just what many of our people were looking for.

Support and accountability are important elements in a weight loss challenge like this one, and so we asked people to form small teams (minimum of 2 people and a maximum of 5) and to sign up to participate.

To our delight, at the very first weigh-in on March 1st, we had 23 teams and a total of 82 participants! That’s about one-third of our people here in Milwaukee.

Weight-Loss Support & Motivation

We knew we’d need some expert support and coaching. Kim Flannery, a nutritionist at the Wisconsin Athletic Club, started us off with some valuable information about what sort of nutrition our bodies need and how we can get it. Over 140 people attended her session! We continue to use some of her tips and recipes from her blog: http://kimthedietitian.wordpress.com/

It’s been several months now, and we’ve been walking together, weighing in and trying to hold ourselves and our teammates accountable. Like any challenge of value, for some of us it has been a struggle, while others have done very well.

Our weigh-out is coming soon and we will be announcing our winners at our Spring Wellness Walk. We will be sure to keep you posted!

Are you planning a workplace wellness event? What kind of tips would you offer to people trying to motivate and organize this kind of weight loss challenge?

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