The Vaccine and Infectious Disease Institute Case Study

The Vaccine and Infectious Disease Institute at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

The following strategic planning case study from The Vaccine and Infectious Disease Institute shows the success in getting a widely diverse, skeptical and busy group of physicians together to create a successful strategic plan.

Short Description

A strategic planning case study from the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Institute. How they became aligned and move toward a unified vision.


Changes in the economy were threatening to reduce funding for The Vaccine and Infectious Disease Institute, part of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Critical Issue

The institute works with 30 independent physicians and Ph.D.’s, all of whom do research for the institute. Management recognized the need to improve the institute’s planning processes so that it could make better choices about the types of research it would undertake, and thereby increase its chances of getting the funding it needed. Planning, especially during an economic downturn, was (and remains) vital.

Planning is increasingly important, especially in a time when competition for research funding is greater, and because the sources of the funds are changing. However, it can be very difficult to get extremely busy physicians to take the time to plan and to learn to do so competently.


  • Planning tools that have been proven to work
  • Engagement of a sometimes skeptical group of physicians
  • Alignment of an extremely busy, diverse group of people on a strategic plan that will align them to a vision and keep them moving forward.

PGS Provided

PGS provided its Vision Navigation® process, with visual, practical and ongoing support to help the institute, as a whole, do strategic planning. Vision Navigation® includes

  • A variety of training and learning aids
  • Assessments (internal and external)
  • Regular follow-up; coaching, as needed
  • The Vision Navigation® Chart, which presents, visually:
    • The steps to be taken to reach the various goals
    • The people who own the tasks
    • The dates the tasks are to be completed.

The group not only participated in the process, but bought into the tools and theories, which created a a highly successful meeting time and cohesive, effective strategic plan.


“Trying to get physicians to sit down for a day is nigh unto impossible. But PGS has been able to efficiently deal with these guys, and, in several instances has really created converts, who say, “Yeah, it’s really important to us to understand what we’re doing.”

Also, PGS has developed some sort of planning mechanics. There’s a scheme they use that helps people sort through 30 or 40 alternatives and priorities. It’s a logical process. And, because it is logical, people see it as credible.”

–Banks Warden
Executive Director
Vaccine and Infectious Disease Institute
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center