Come and join our growing Insights team!

Come and join our growing Insights team!

Madano is looking for a driven Social Data Scientist who will play a key role in the delivery of research and key innovation projects.

Madano is committed to building a better world through intelligent and creative communications, which are firmly rooted in evidence and insight. But what does that mean actually mean? We simplify complexity, enabling individuals and organisations to make informed decisions on the issues that matter. Our work is underpinned by our insights capabilities, which allow us to provide evidence-based, intelligence-led strategies and plans.

This is an opportunity to join a high-performing team who know how to get results, but also how to have fun along the way. For more information on this vacancy and to apply, please click here.

 

Why publish real world evidence? Maximising the reach and impact of journal articles

Why publish real world evidence? Maximising the reach and impact of journal articles

How can we know what kind of impact the communications outputs we publish are having on our target audiences? Are they cutting through the noise to affect beliefs and behaviours?

In previous blogs, our sister agency AXON have identified an upward trend in the volume of publications presenting real world evidence (RWE) in healthcare journals. This trend was observed irrespective of the impact factor of the journal, which calls into question our industry’s reliance on impact factor when evaluating the reach and impact of published data. So how can we better understand which articles are effective?

The team at Madano have been working closely with AXON and their clients to try and find a more satisfactory answer to the question of impact. While we’re little a way off a definitive answer, we are now able to provide a much more nuanced and client-specific assessment of the value of a publication plan – at brand and therapy area level.

Our starting point was to take a step back and ask: what are our publications for? Addressing this more fundamental question soon had us and our clients thinking differently and we were able to build ‘theories of change’ for individual publication plans – i.e. a framework that articulates the changes in beliefs and behaviours we want our publications to trigger in our target audiences, and the outcomes that need to be measured to detect these changes.

Based on this framework, we are able to build a bespoke model of impact for each client. First, we identified all of the outcomes clients hope that publications could influence; for example, raising awareness of particular biomarkers or improving front-line practice. We then identified data sources that could act as proxies for these outcomes; for example, volume and nature of social media engagement using specific terminology, or seeing publications referenced in treatment guidelines.

To really assess the impact of an individual publication or publication plan as a whole, we needed to situate outcomes associated with our clients’ publications within the broader competitive landscape. To do this, our data science team have built web harvesting scripts to capture the specified outcomes for all publications within a given disease area – a total of around 14,000 across the last five years for psoriasis, for example. We then visualised this landscape as a topic map, highlighting high-frequency and high-impact topics, and comparing average impact scores for groups of publications to benchmark client performance.

The insights this approach generates provide huge value to publications teams and should be the foundation for designing a RW publication strategy. It can help you:

  • Identify gaps in the landscape that, if filled, would create the most impact;
  • Maximise a publication’s impact with key audiences by making informed decisions about author, journal and topic selection;
  • Measure relative performance against your competitors and identify the most effective types of article or outputs for your different audiences;
  • Deliver consistent reporting showing the overall value of each of your publications and their contribution to broader medical objectives.

This bespoke approach delivers a more nuanced answer to the question of publication impact. It generates insights that drive future strategy and tactical decisions to improve reach, engagement and impact. If you would like to hear more about how our approach can support your RWE publication efforts, please get in touch here.

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What are universities for? Coming out of the COVID-19 crisis and rebuilding for the future

What are universities for? Coming out of the COVID-19 crisis and rebuilding for the future

In April this year, Madano reported on the challenging situation faced by the UK’s universities as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Likening the sector’s difficult circumstances to a game of Kerplunk in which all of the straws have suddenly been removed, we predicted that “a university degree could be a tough sell to the 2020/21 intake who may consider a gap year instead.”

That reads like a real understatement following recent events at Manchester Metropolitan University. Students at the campus described themselves as “completely neglected” after they were forced to self-isolate for two weeks when 127 of them tested positive for COVID-19. The situation left 1,700 students all trying to source food – and, more importantly for them, alcohol – from the same local supermarkets. Security guards prevented residents from going outside to shop amid complaints of “little in the way of pastoral care”.

Gavin Williamson, the education secretary, is also less of a fan of the university experience than some of his predecessors. He recently ditched the target, introduced by New Labour and adopted by successive governments, of 50 per cent of young adults going into higher education, replacing it with a focus on further education and vocational training.

Accusing universities of failing to prepare graduates for the UK workforce, he said: “For too long, we’ve been training people for jobs that don’t exist. We need to train them for the jobs that do exist and will exist in the future. We have to end the focus on qualifications for qualifications’ sake.” And, this week, prime minister Boris Johnson finally delivered on recommendations from the Augar Review into post-16 education, pledging to end the gulf between further and higher education, commenting:

“We seem on the one hand to have too few of the right skills for the jobs our economy creates, and on the other hand too many graduates with degrees which don’t get them the jobs that they want.”

The prime minister and education secretary’s comments chime with the sentiments of a couple of recently published books. Both political philosopher Michael Sandel – in The Tyranny of Merit – and journalist David Goodhart – in Head, Hand, Heart – argue that it’s time to reassess our notions of success and failure, and particularly how they relate to higher education and work.

And last month, Stefan Collini, professor emeritus of intellectual history at the University of Cambridge, delivered a withering assessment of the UK’s higher education sector:

“Universities are overcrowded and understaffed; contact hours are reduced; most teaching in the first two years is done by temporary and part-time staff; and underprepared students suffer debilitating stress. Moreover, instead of reliably leading to a better job, all it guarantees is a higher tax bill for the next 30 years.”

As a number of voices begin to question the actual purpose of universities, many institutions may need to adapt by reframing what they stand for and the benefit they deliver to society.

Opportunities

Despite mounting challenges, there are still opportunities for universities to thrive. One possibility is the government’s levelling up agenda, which promises to redirect investment to regions outside London and the south-east. Keen to retain its newly won “red wall” across the Midlands and the north of England, the present administration is likely to welcome potential development in those areas.

Universities have a real opportunity to play a central role in transforming their local area, whether through forging partnerships with local authorities and businesses, providing students with the skills needed for the region to thrive or persuading students to live and work in the area following graduation. Showing their commitment to their community in this way would allow universities to demonstrate their ongoing relevance and value in what is likely to remain an unpredictable environment for the foreseeable future.

What students want

As discussed by Sandel and Goodhart in their respective publications, traditional academic criteria provide a limited measure of an individual’s overall knowledge, skills and intelligence.

In fact, Madano’s own research into the higher education sector has found that students are seeking to acquire more tangible skills that they can apply directly to the workplace, and often in more practical disciplines.

Today’s students regard employment at the end of a degree as a given. Considering the huge amount of money they’re expected to shell out in tuition fees and the tens of thousands of pounds of debt they’re destined to graduate with, is it any wonder?

Given the current expectation that a degree will inevitably lead to a job, perhaps it’s time for universities to improve the vocational support they offer students beyond simply academic preparation. Many already give advice on job applications and interview skills to improve undergraduates’ chances of securing a position once they’ve completed their studies, but they could develop this offer and make it available to a greater number of students.

Aside from traditional employment, there could be an opportunity for universities to broaden their role by encouraging greater entrepreneurship and helping students to help themselves. By advising students how to set up their own company and putting young entrepreneurs in touch with potential partners, the higher education sector could recast itself as a genuine friend to business and safeguard its continuing relevance.

Rearticulating purpose

More than at any other time in recent history, the value and purpose of universities are being questioned right across the political spectrum. Outside of the familiar top-tier names, universities need to reassess and rethink why they do what they do and then rearticulate that concept in a way that speaks to students and meets wider societal objectives, keeping both government and the general public on side.

Universities that are agile, maintain two-way communication with their student body and take advantage of the current government agenda are likely to be best positioned to take the lead in shaping the sector as it moves forward.

By Dan Townshend, Senior Research Manager in Madano’s Insights practice.

Analysis of 2020 Media Landscape: Coronavirus in the UK

Analysis of 2020 Media Landscape: Coronavirus in the UK

To help our clients better navigate current challenges, our Insights practice have being developing unique insight into the changing communications landscape that COVID-19 has brought. Using our proprietary aimi topic modelling software, we have analysed almost half a million media articles published on the Coronavirus in the UK since the start of the year, to understand what is being discussed.

Our downloadable report below provides a high-level snapshot of this data; showing how different topics have grown or diminished in prominence since the pandemic started, and what may have caused these changes.

Click the image below to access the PDF.

madano.com

If you would be interested in discussing further how our expert team can help uncover the insights you need right now, please contact us here.

Interested in how this compares to the USA? Click here to view the report.

Analysis of 2020 Media Landscape: Coronavirus in the US

Analysis of 2020 Media Landscape: Coronavirus in the US

To help our clients better navigate current challenges, our Insights practice have being developing unique insight into the changing communications landscape that COVID-19 has brought. Using our proprietary aimi topic modelling software, we have analyzed almost half a million media articles published on the Coronavirus in the US since the start of the year, to understand what is being discussed.

Our downloadable report below provides a high-level snapshot of this data; showing how different topics have grown or diminished in prominence since the pandemic started, and what may have caused these changes.

Click the image below to access the PDF.

madano.com

If you would be interested in discussing further how our expert team can help uncover the insights you need right now, please contact us here.

Interested in how this compares to the UK? Click here to view the report.

At the thin end of the COVID-19 wedge

At the thin end of the COVID-19 wedge

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) continues to dominate all media coverage and all our social media feeds and will likely do so for weeks to come. The nature of the coverage is, however, changing. Using our advanced topic modelling approaches, we demonstrated in our last analysis of media coverage three distinct phases as the virus moved from being an East Asian concern to a global pandemic with wide-reaching social, political and economic implications.

Looking at data from the last week’s coverage, while many more countries have gone into increased forms of lockdown, the overall themes being discussed have remained relatively stable. Our bird’s eye view shows articles still broadly falling into the following areas but the depth and nuance of coverage within these themes is increasing:

  • Public health
  • Economic impact
  • Social impact
  • Political and policy dynamics

So, what’s changed?

Public health issues

  • The impact of the virus on hospitals and medical staff, and the shortages that they are facing, has grown as a substantial topic in the last week, with some highly personal social content penetrating traditional media coverage.
  • However, the media has also been keen to report on companies that are shifting their production capabilities to items in need (such as hand sanitizer, masks and ventilators) or donating items that they had in stock.

Economic impact

  • The economic impacts of increased prevalence and severity of ‘lockdown’ – in which only essential workplaces are remaining open – has become a major part of media coverage. Industries that weren’t previously affected, such as the automotive and film industry, are being discussed more as the full depth and range of the economic impact starts to hit home.

Social impact

  • Although the cancellation of the Olympics was a big story this week, a lot of cancellations had already been announced. Increased restrictions on social movement – such as school closures and closures of other facilities such as parks and shopping malls – featured prominently in this week’s coverage.
  • As lockdown has set in, there’s also been a rise in ‘celebrity impact’ articles – including celebrities that have or are suspected to have contracted the virus, offering tips and tricks through entertainment or exercise videos, or those just looking to get attention.

Political and policy decisions

  • As the economic impacts look to stretch on into the coming months, political leaders are looking at ways to support individuals and businesses affected in order to stave off or mitigate the potential impacts of recession. Coverage of longer term financial impacts and how these packages will be paid for currently appears to be on the back burner.
  • While there is also currently critiques of political responses to the virus, we are also seeing a more supportive and less polemic form of journalism temporarily taking hold. It is not clear how long this will hold, and out analysis in the coming weeks will look to identify more partisan reporting.

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