Four unique and highly respected groups of scientists and practicing clinicians are helping ensure that Amway customers get the best of science every time they buy Amway™ health and beauty brands.
They are leaders in their research fields and hail from renowned institutions such as Harvard, Yale, University of Leeds, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), University of Michigan, Seoul National University, Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, Chinese University of Hong Kong and the Institute of Nutrition of Russian Academy of Medical Sciences.
They have private clinical practices in cities such as Munich, Hong Kong and Chicago. They hold numerous patents and distinguished awards. Several have held chairmanships and positions with significant government agencies.
These independent individuals make up the Scientific Advisory Boards for:
- Nutrilite™ vitamin and dietary supplements
- Artistry™ beauty and skin care
- eSpring™ water treatment systems
- the development of an exclusive, all-new beauty technology (this group is called the Clinical Advisory Board)
Their collective mission is to help guide exploratory and applied research that supports product development.
While Scientific Advisory Board members are not Amway employees, their dedication helps raise the bar of scientific excellence for Amway™ brands. (Click Nutrilite Scientific Advisory Board or Artistry Scientific Advisory Board to view Board members.)
According to Catherine Ehrenberger, Amway vice president of research and development, Scientific Advisory Boards demonstrate the company’s holistic focus on leveraging external expertise to complement and strengthen internal scientific knowledge.
“Our open innovation model is another example,” Ehrenberger said. “We seek out individuals and businesses who are experts in their fields and explore opportunities to collaborate that make us both stronger. Our Scientific Advisory Boards help us make those connections in many instances.”
“We seek out individuals and businesses who are experts in their fields and explore opportunities to collaborate that make us both stronger. Our Scientific Advisory Boards help us make those connections in many instances.” – Catherine Ehrenberger, Amway vice president of R&D
Scientific advisory boards are widely used by world agencies, universities and research hospitals. The United Nations has an advisory board on science, technology and innovation for sustainable development. The US Environmental Protection Agency maintains one to review research programs and scientific and technical information used as the basis for regulations.
Each of the Amway Scientific Advisory Boards is distinct in its makeup and, to a degree, how it operates. There are, however, key traits that they share. Members of the Amway boards do much more for the brands than help guide research. They provide insights into technology trends that hold potential as opportunities and threats. And while they do not endorse products or participate in promotions, the advice board members provide from their deep knowledge of pertinent research and technology elevates the credibility of the Amway™ brands’ scientific claims.
But they are not there to say “yes” to every idea Amway scientists propose. In fact, the Amway Scientific Advisory Board model is intended to foster scientific debate among internal research teams and SAB members.
“We expect the boards to put difficult conversations on the table, so that healthy scientific debate happens,” said Audra Davies, vice president of product development – health, beauty and home, who led the effort to create the first board at Amway, for the Nutrilite™ brand of vitamins, minerals and dietary supplements. “We want the board members to ask questions such as, ‘Have you thought about this?’ and ‘How do you make this complement your other work?’”
“We expect the boards to put difficult conversations on the table, so that healthy scientific debate happens.” – Audra Davies, vice president of product development – health, beauty and home
Before the Nutrilite board was formed in 2003, Amway already was working with some of the world’s foremost researchers as consultants to extend the knowledge and views of its own scientists on product development. Nutrilite leaders wanted to take that a step further, to form a credible scientific source for advice from leaders in nutrition, health, technology and genetics, according to Davies.
“We have tremendous internal capabilities for technological development, and we complement that with the board members – they bring that third-party perspective that helps ensure our authority,” Davies said.
“At Nutrilite, the Scientific Advisory Board members’ guidance is especially valuable on clinical research that is conducted to support product formulation development, product claims and benefits,” said Keith Randolph, PhD, Fellow, nutrition technology strategist, who leads the Nutrilite board.
“The Nutrilite board has made many key contributions in the realm of advice on the overall approach to specific nutrition products, as well as the design of clinical research that is conducted in support of product efficacy and safety,” Randolph said.
Jesse Leverett, Amway senior principal research scientist with the health and beauty new technology research and development group, coordinates the Artistry beauty Scientific Advisory Board, formed in 2007. Whereas the Nutrilite board consists primarily of academics, Leverett describes the Artistry board as a mix of practicing dermatologists and academic researchers who not only guide Artistry™ science, but also bring technology ideas to the company.
“You realize today that you can’t know everything,” Leverett says. “That is the value of a board of true experts – we can pull from their knowledge and experience to complement our own. That opens us up to richer material and so many more ideas and potential opportunities that help fill our product pipeline.”
“You realize today that you can’t know everything … we can pull from their knowledge and experience to complement our own.” – Jesse Leverett, Amway senior principal research scientist
The Artistry™ brand and its board members are largely involved in collaborative work these days, where science is shared back and forth. “When we align our research and development goals, we consider the interests and desires of the advisory board members, too,” Leverett said. “That’s an investment by design – it brings great opportunities for licensing technologies to us, and keeps the members very engaged in Artistry™ work.”
By contrast, the Clinical Advisory Board, which formed in early 2012, is helping bring to market a single beauty technology that has recently been proven in a clinical setting to be highly effective.
“We brought aboard the thought leaders and smartest people in this space to help us do the right thing with this technology,” said Ron Sharpe, Fellow, open innovation and Clinical Advisory Board leader. “They’re advising us on clinical study design, interpreting study results, how to develop treatment regimens and how to evaluate treatment results. Every one of the Clinical Board members is a practicing dermatologist, so they bring lots of clinical experience to the table.” Some Artistry board members also are involved in the work on the new technology.
Scientific Advisory Board affiliations have additional value for board members, whose association with Amway gives them access to clinical instruments, testing equipment and other resources they might not have. In turn, the Artistry™ brand benefits from the data the members collect.
While the Nutrilite and Artistry boards focus on nearer term consumable product development, the nature of the water treatment technology business prompts the Water Scientific Advisory Board to look much further out, according to the board’s leader, Roy Kuennen, PhD, vice president of durables product research and development.
“In water treatment, we share our long-term technology development strategy with the board and the members share their opinions on our research direction,” said Kuennen.
The water advisory board, which formally came together in 2011, focuses on perhaps the most critical issue in world water treatment today: microbiology, the tiny waterborne organisms that make people sick. The Amway Water Scientific Advisory Board members are all world-renowned microbiologists.
“Water treatment is a global challenge that is important to academic and scientific communities as well as to the water treatment industry,” Kuennen said.
“Water treatment is a global challenge that is important to academic and scientific communities as well as to the water treatment industry.” – Roy Kuennen, PhD, vice president of durables product R&D
“Our water group is very tangibly focused on developing new technologies for treating microbes that could be applied in many different scenarios beyond the products Amway sells. So it is mutually beneficial to approach research on developing water technologies together. We share research, co-author papers and present together to academic and industry audiences.”
The bottom line is ensuring that Amway Business Owners can be confident in the science behind the Nutrilite™, Artistry™ and eSpring™ brands.
“For each of the four boards, we have gathered people with expertise and authority who will tell us if we’re going about something the best way – or if we can do it better,” said Davies.
“If that results in adding or changing things to our product development plans, then we’re improving our science. And that’s what it’s about.”