The Epicenter of Innovation

Not sure if you've heard, but the Super Bowl has arrived in Lilly's hometown -- Indianapolis. The center of gravity prior to Sunday's game is Super Bowl Village, a section of downtown that is being called "The Epicenter of Awesome." (As an aside, don't forget to check out our Facebook page and have some fun with our Super Bowl game picks).

Indy could also be "The Epicenter of Innovation." As we've said many times, innovation takes on many forms -- even within the biopharmaceutical industry. The discovery of new molecules for tough-to-treat diseases is probably the first thing that comes to mind, but we must innovate our research, discovery, communication, and distributions processes. Our corporate responsibility group, with its non-communicable disease program, and our sales organization, which has adopted a new personalized approach to meeting with health care providers, are Lilly billboards for innovation as well.

The city of Indianapolis knows innovation, too. Ten years ago next month, BioCrossroads -- our life sciences initiative -- was born. Thanks to BioCrossroads, our life sciences profile has skyrocketed over the last decade -- with more venture capital funds and more companies finding their way to Central Indiana than ever before. It's an exciting time to be a researcher in the Hoosier State.

That brings us to our street party known as the Super Bowl. Innovative thinking brought the biggest single-day sporting event to Central Indiana. A long list of Indianapolis mayors, starting with Richard Lugar (now Indiana's senior senator) and continued by the likes of Bill Hudnut and Bart Peterson (who now heads Lilly's corporate affairs organization) embraced sports as a vehicle that could produce growth and prestige. Modest experiments four decades ago produced dividends - first, birth of the Indiana Pacers, and eventually hosting the Pan American Games in the 1980s. The Colts moved to town, as did the NCAA and several other amateur sports governing bodies. Four decades later, a once lifeless downtown is on the world's biggest stage (and doing quite nicely, I might add: each of the first three days drew tens of thousands of people -- much more than normal for the weekend before the game).

With up to 150,000 visitors in town this week -- and many of them influential -- we have a real opportunity to showcase what Indianapolis has to offer. Along with sports, the life sciences has become a crown jewel of the city (as profiled by The Wall Street Journal last year). As our sports strategy goes, so goes the growth of our region. A good Super Bowl week will be meaningful to all our business sectors, including the life sciences.

Innovation from all corners of society is the fuel for our economic engine. Happy Super Bowl week, everyone.