Technology has been a major driver of advances in drug discovery over the last several decades. The world is changing at an accelerating pace; the advancements in technology have created boundless opportunities within the pharma and biotech industry. Developing the right approach to managing innovation is critical to driving a sustainable market advantage in a hyper competitive industry that has high operating costs requires long term investment with a great degree of uncertainty and unknown outcomes.
Every company has its own unique approach to defining and managing innovation. Therefore, innovation does not have a standard across the board definition. The most common expectation is to have at least a substantial improvement over what is currently available or a new way of achieving better results. But the question always remains, how do we involve everyone in the value creation process, and work towards a common objective. Can we really innovate in new ways or is the status quo still the best path to achieving innovation breakthroughs and success?
Cutting-edge science and lengthy research with high risk and benefits have been a hallmark of the world of drug discovery. This could be said for many innovations that have been groundbreaking in any industry. But over the last decade, if we look at the historical data available, we can see that roughly the same number of breakthroughs and new drugs has been developed as other decades. (Harvard Business School of Public Health). With all the advancements made over the last decade, we are still operating at similar productivity rates, so perhaps substantial improvement opportunities lie in how we take on these daunting initiatives. What if innovations occurred in the drug discovery process itself?
One thing that is a constant within the industry and its potential uniqueness is its unpredictability; can companies actually develop new research processes that are more manageable and effective in delivering faster results? Critical reasoning suggests that this can be accomplished and many executives also believe that this to be achievable.
A formal approach to managing the innovation process through technology and best practices can have a transformational effect on the drug discovery process. Innovation management as a core system is starting to make its inroads into this area and the value being created is astronomical, helping guide a focused effort for new research spending.
Goal Alignment to drive the right outcomes for research investments
Like managing any type of innovation or change, strategic alignment is a critical part of the process in order to achieve success. Like any team that is challenged to come up with new solutions, the value creation process requires a highly collaborative effort with many different functional groups. Without proper guidance, your research efforts may not be aligned with the company’s strategy.
Innovation management viewed and implemented as a permanent system to run the business provides direction to researchers and offers them a great platform to engage and collaborate with everyone in the organization. The facilitation of effective diverse collaboration through different stages of the research process is an important condition to innovation success. The cross-talk and collaboration between resources can conversely benefit researchers in all stages of their research work by allowing them to seek the feedback of other experts in the company early in the process and to prevent silo thinking.
In pursuing new ideas and technologies, big pharma and biotech companies have formed active collaborations with different stakeholders for years to help drive new innovations in a sustainable and meaningful way. The main purpose for the recent wave of new pharmaceutical and biotech innovation centers is precisely the same; to allow for easy collaboration between highly diverse groups across teams and organization boundaries.
Delivering new drugs and treatments is an unpredictable, expensive and a complicated undertaking. Being able to effectively manage this costly uncertain research while meeting your organization’s goals is even more difficult. With an innovation-driven culture and innovation management as a system, collaboration among diverse teams and resources holds the key to long-term success.