This is an exciting time. I am writing to you when Switzerland is slightly opening its doors post-COVID-19, and now more than ever, we see which pharma are better prepared than others regarding business transformation. Also interesting to see that this is a freaking virus that is shaking the transformation of a whole industry. Can we say an entire planet?
I also started a Youtube channel to group my thoughts, especially in these times: so feel free to connect with me here.
Now more than ever, the model to disrupt a company from the inside out, alone, is utopia. If some are doing it, then a considerable budget is allocated as this is not typical change management. But, in this time of crisis, you can see now beyond the buzzwords.
Opening the company door to an external ecosystem of partners might not be the silver bullet. Still, it will get you closer to a culture shift in the short term if you expose enough of the organisation.
You might ask why? Well, here is the symptom:
We tend to be experts in taking a vision and taking it to a weird reality. You can take a patient support program, for instance—the number of startups I see with an innovation that 15 years ago we called a PSP. You might ask why and the words growth, scale, and agility might be the missing ingredients.
Keep it, kill it or scale it.
Is it all bad in pharma? Of course not. But we tend to have a lot of death from pilots. That’s why I love putting in a meeting: can we kill this project? And you can see the eyes rolling around me. But it is true, though: a project that is wired to be unkillable will not move the needle or be innovative.
We are wired for a different set of innovative initiatives: the one we expect.
That could explain why we can’t compute true disruptive innovation. We don’t see it yet. And hence some of us are taking the DNA (the people) from the tech industry and disrupting the inside of commercial, medical and r&d departments.
When you look around, models of value generation have existed for a long time. Let’s take Nike. Are they a shoe company? They started and continue to be one, but they are also much more. They are a data company, lifestyle company and culture company. Yes, they sell culture. Another thing you can tell about trying to be more than coffee is Nespresso, and you can continue like this for a long time, but try finding one example in pharma, and it will be more challenging. Not only because the market is complex from an audience perspective but also because the regulations are the flag we use to excuse ourselves from thinking outside the box.
Back to pharma companies.
How can we spouse disruptive innovation?
By unlocking the door and inviting others to the table. You still have to build a pipeline somehow as we see the world through it and bring gates, as we also see them between departments. This is where you can start with what you have, taking your business ideas from the ground or an ocean of opportunities (IT, medical, commercial…) and aligning them in a value chain that makes sense for your core business. This is if you are trying to find a justification for your current business models.
Different if you are building new business models close to your base, which is another way of innovative sourcing initiatives.
Here the goal is starting from the inside; the model above could bring a structure to speak the same language.
As you can imagine, it is good to have a framework, but the adoption of what you are trying to achieve is what matters. If no one follows you, your new religion will not be worshipped inside the walls. So you need a bible, rituals and a vision to lead your crowd into a new fruitful place for ideas. Gosh, this biblical turn wasn’t expected, though. But when you look closer, you can find similarities.
So now over to you:
Do you believe having corporate teams sitting in incubators is helpful, and if so, why?
Do you have examples of innovation that started internally and became a scale-up outside of the influence of the mothership?
Do you have an example of big tank companies that manage to disrupt themselves by changing their business models entirely, and if so, how long did it take?
Finally, here you go, the interview with Todd from AWS, where we went around the same topic for Eye for Pharma Philadelphia 2020. Feel free to connect with him.