Mitra Innovation Celebrates a Sixth Year of Success with a Celebration Party

Mitra Innovation recently celebrated its sixth year of success, by throwing a party for our employees at the Jaic Hilton in Colombo, on Friday evening.

The party was attended by the three co-founders of Mitra Innovation – Ashok Suppiah (CEO), Derek Bell (COO) and Dammika Ganegama (MD) – as well as most the company’s Directors, and its 180-strong employee force, along with their husbands, wives or partners who also attended. Members of the UK team also flew out to Sri Lanka to join the celebration as well.

The party theme was ‘Tropical Fiesta’, and MItra Innovation enjoyed an amazing night including a dinner, a dance and a Calypso band.

About Mitra Innovation

Mitra Innovation helps smart entrepreneurs, enterprises and public service organisations to accelerate innovative ideas into amazing global businesses or solutions, through product incubation, digital transformation, and integration services. The company also has expertise in WSO2 technologies and AWS.

The party was thrown as a celebration of success, because MItra Innovation started from humble beginnings in 2012 with a skeleton staff, one office and two clients. It has now grown to a global organisation with an employee headcount of 180; key clients including Capital Alliance, Ramsay Healthcare and Travis Perkins; and five offices – three in Sri Lanka, an HQ in London, an additional office in the UK.

It also has ambitious growth plans for 2018.


Ashok Suppiah says: “Mitra Innovation has come a long way since we began trading in 2012, and a huge part of this success is due to our passionate, dedicated and driven employees, both in the UK and Sri Lanka. We wanted to throw a party to say thank you to all our employees for their hard work and effort. It was a great event!”

World Duchenne Awareness Day

Thursday 7 September 2017 is World Duchenne Awareness Day, and the Rare Disease Research Group at THE PLANNING SHOP is going to support the event, alongside the European Parliament, Pope Francis, and many organisations across 40 countries.

About World Duchenne Awareness Day

One in 3,500 newborn boys in the world is affected by a rare and fatal disease: Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD). DMD is the most common fatal genetic disease diagnosed in childhood. The disease almost always affects boys, and they tend to be diagnosed before the age of five. There are around 2,500 patients in the UK and an estimated 300,000 sufferers worldwide. Children born with DMD have a mutation, on their dystrophin gene, the longest gene in the body. The fault means that they cannot produce dystrophin, a protein that is vital for muscle strength and function. This lack of dystrophin results in a progressive deterioration of muscle strength and function. This video explains the disease very well.

Even though the number of sufferers worldwide seems like a small group, the patients around the globe think big and have big dreams, and World Duchenne Awareness Day was set up to inform and educate people about the disease, and to raise money to guarantee access to care, to improve research, to educate patients and families.

Our support for World Duchenne Awareness Day

As a market research company with a specialised Rare Disease Research Group, THE PLANNING SHOP is showing support for people affected by the disease. To mark the occasion we have launched a red Duchenne Balloon, and we will also be encouraging our team members to wear red, take part in a red wine tasting session and eat red velvet cake on Thursday. We hope to raise funds for DMD through these activities.

Please find out more about DMD here and join us in helping to raise awareness of this devastating disease.

Market research that understands the future

The latest article from THE PLANNING SHOP published within Pharmaphorum’s Deep Dive publication

Pharmaphorum has published its latest edition of Deep Dive, which this month focuses on ‘Future Pharma’. We’re pleased to announce that an article from THE PLANNING SHOP has been included and it is titled ‘Market research that understands the future’.

The article explores the topic of ‘Future Thinkers’ and how to conduct research amongst these types of respondents.

It also explores how to design research methodologies that help respondents experience the future in the present, and how to present ideas for products that are likely to exist in the future and what their possible impact will be.

Read the article here and feel free to get in touch with any of us at THE PLANNING SHOP to discuss the topic further.

Please contact us on or 020 8231 6888.


More new joiners at THE PLANNING SHOP

It’s been a busy few months at THE PLANNING SHOP. We’ve finished projects, we’ve started new projects, we’ve attended conferences and exhibited at events. We’ve also taken on some new team members for our ever-growing UK and USA offices.

Our new team members are listed below. Please join us in welcoming them to THE PLANNING SHOP.


Marguerite Monney
Global Operations Director

Marguerite (known as Maggie) joins THE PLANNING SHOP after working at Objective Focus Ltd, a healthcare recruiting company she and her former business partner started back in 2014.

Maggie’s experiences span over 15 years in the global market research arena with perspectives from both the client and supplier sides.

Whilst at Objective Focus Ltd, Maggie wore several hats, including business development, project management, resource development, and staff training; but more importantly the implementation of the proper structures and procedures to ensure the smooth running of all client projects.

Maggie holds a BS from L’Ecole de Commerce de Lausanne, a BS from FIT and a MS from Hunter College in NYC.

Sharon Tessler
Research Director

Sharon has over 22 years of experience in global marketing research and client-side brand marketing, with nine years dedicated to the pharmaceutical sector in agency roles.

She has extensive experience in a variety of therapeutic areas (including rare disease, oncology, CNS disorders, pain management, and dermatology) and project types (including a variety of qualitative techniques). She is also an experienced research moderator.

Sharon has an MBA from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business and a BA from Penn State University.

Sajni Nandha
Research Manager

Sajni has over eight years’ experience in pharmaceutical consulting and market research, including extensive experience working across therapy areas, product life cycles and project types including market landscaping, and concept and message testing.

Sajni worked for THE PLANNING SHOP for 10 months back in 2013/14 and has re-joined the company.

Dean Smith
Associate Director

Dean has joined the QuantSHOP having previously held senior roles in both a boutique and leading healthcare research agency.

With over 10 years market research experience across both quantitative and qualitative research, Dean has a detailed knowledge of the types of challenges our clients face and their research needs; from pre-launch exploratory, positioning and communications research through to post launch awareness and tracking studies and marketing evaluation.

Hilary Ellis
Research Director

Hilary joins the QuantSHOP after a period of working as a freelancer.  She has 25+ years’ experience in both quantitative and qualitative pharmaceutical research gained primarily on the agency-side. She has also acted as Primary Market Research Manager at several pharmaceutical companies, supporting both Business Insight and Brand Teams and has enjoyed the opportunity to support MBA students in an advisory capacity during their marketing studies.

In the last 12 years Hilary has focused very much on quantitative research – especially segmentation, conjoint studies, device testing and multiple indication ATU, and Brand Equity Trackers.

Lauren Ryder
Accounts Assistant

Lauren has joined THE PLANNING SHOP as Accounts Assistant in the Finance Team. With some previous experience in an accounts assistant role whilst studying at university, this is her first job within finance after graduating last year in Australia.

Nadia Duale
HR Assistant

Nadia has joined THE PLANNING SHOP as an HR Assistant, after previously working for a large personal injury law firm.

She has experience working as both HR and recruitment resource, and specialises in coordinating recruitment drives, organising inductions/on-boarding and being the friendly face for HR.

Sonny Matharoo
Lead Designer

Sonny has started a new chapter in his design adventure after joining THE PLANNING SHOP.

Having worked with several well-known clients, Sonny has many specialities in design, from print and digital, to motion graphics and video/sound production.

Eager to make a splash, and determined to bring his knowledge to help those within THE PLANNING SHOP, Sonny will be leading several design focussed projects aimed at helping the core and wider company brand.

Jillian Sansoni
Global Adverse Event and Compliance Specialist

Jillian is a pharmacist by training.  She graduated from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy with a PharmD and has worked as a pharmacist for about five years: first for CVS/Pharmacy and most recently at Abington Hospital.

Jillian started in pharmacy in 2005 as an intern and was promoted to pharmacy manager whilst at CVS.  Throughout her positions, Jillian has had the chance to participate in and influence aspects of process improvement, compliance, adverse event reporting and medical information.

She looks forward to this new chapter at THE PLANNING SHOP.

Fabian Henault
Research Director

Fabian is a senior market researcher with over 17 years of experience, 13 of which are in the pharmaceutical industry.

He has extensive experience in both primary and secondary research, and has been involved in numerous product launches, re-positioning and life-cycle management research solutions.

Fabian’s specialty is on the quantitative side of research with extensive experience across multiple methodologies such as SFE, targeting, customer satisfaction, TPP, conjoint, drivers, ATU, positioning, segmentation, forecasting, and message/concept testing.  However, his philosophy is to think outside of the methodology box and really dig into the business question(s) through innovative and/or hybrid approaches – ultimately answering the “so what” question for our clients.

He has an MBA in Marketing from Temple University in Philadelphia.


For more information about any of our new team members, or to speak to anyone within THE PLANNING SHOP, please get in touch. We’d love to hear from you!

THE PLANNING SHOP sponsors New York City Walk to Cure Arthritis

New York City’s Walk to Cure Arthritis takes place this Saturday, May 20, 2017, and THE PLANNING SHOP is a Bronze Level Sponsor

Arthritis affects more than 54 million people in the United States and is a leading cause of disability. In an effort to raise funds and find a cure, the 2017 New York City Walk to Cure Arthritis will take place on Saturday, May 20.

Walk to Cure Arthritis NYC is being presented by Hospital for Special Surgery. Speaking on behalf of HSS will be former NFL player and fitness expert Steve Weatherford and Jillian Rose, LCSW, MPH, assistant director, Social Work Programs at HSS.

The New York City Walk to Cure Arthritis will feature local honorees who will share inspirational stories about the struggles of arthritis:

  • The Medical honoree is Giles Scuderi, MD from Lenox Hill Hospital.
  • The event’s Corporate Chair is Claire Behar, EVP and Global Client Leader for Omnicom Health Group.
  • Renee Cafaro is the NYC Walk Chair for the second year in a row, and over the years has had the distinct honour of being the Advocacy Committee co-chair, 2013 NYC adult honoree and 2015 national honoree.
  • This year’s honorees include 13-year-old Mattie Silberfein, 14-year-old Matthew Rose, and 27-year-old Meg Maley.

The organisers behind NYC’s Walk to Cure Arthritis, are hoping to reach a goal of raising $600,000, and THE PLANNING SHOP has been happy to contribute through sponsorship.

With more than 100 different forms of the disease, arthritis is the number one cause of disability in the United States, affecting more than 50 million adults and 300,000 children. In the northeast region alone, approximately 18,000 children and 3 million adults suffer from the pain of arthritis.

Funds raised through this event will go towards programs, research, and advocacy initiatives to help people today while finding a cure for tomorrow.

Registration for the public opens at 8 a.m. and the Walk begins at 10 a.m. at Foley Square Park. Participants will have the option to walk one or three miles across the iconic Brooklyn Bridge. The family and pet-friendly event will include exercise, food, beverages by Verday Chlorophyll Water, entertainment, kids’ activities and information about arthritis.

To learn more and register for the NYC Walk to Cure Arthritis visit


May 2017 brain teaser puzzle

Welcome to the May 2017 brain teaser puzzle from THE PLANNING SHOP!

Solve the brain teaser in the link below for a chance to win a bottle of champagne.


Send your answer to us at or fax to 0208 840 1040 before 31 May 2017 to be entered into our monthly draw for a bottle of champagne.

The winner will be announced in the first week of June 2017, when the solution to the puzzle will also be revealed.

Good luck!

Welcoming new joiners to THE PLANNING SHOP

Spring has sprung, and with it we’ve recently welcomed some additional research experts into THE PLANNING SHOP’s growing UK office.

Find out more about these experts below:


Claire Ross (Associate Director)
Claire has over 12 years’ experience in global market research and brand management, with six years dedicated to the pharmaceutical sector, both in agency and client roles.

As a qualitative specialist, Claire has extensive experience across therapy areas and project types, including positioning, concept testing, market understanding and physician and patient segmentation.

Claire holds a degree in marketing from Lancaster University.


Erika Mancini (Field Project Manager)
Erika has joined THE PLANNING SHOP after working at FocusVision. Erika’s experience includes field, project and account management, in pharmaceutical/healthcare and consumer markets, for both qualitative and quantitative research studies.

She has been involved in both agency and client interaction for the planning and implementation of project and field research.


Safiyah Hjiej-Andaloussi (Research Support)

Safiyah has joined the research support team. She previously worked as a Field executive at Ipsos MORI, working on one of the biggest media jobs in the company: a quant tracker which has been running for over 16 years. She has experience in project co-ordination, as well as project managing a sub set of the quant tracker.

Ravinder Grewal (Compliance Executive)

During and since finishing university, Ravinder has accrued experience working in IT and Business Administration. He has worked in a corporate environment at the Head Office of a large UK national organisation, as well working with smaller firms.

Please join us in welcoming the newest members of our team!