Web 2.0 for Pharma Innovation

Internal and external Web-based communities are changing how pharma companies can innovate.
Sep 02, 2011


Patricia Van Arnum
Innovation. Any company looks to new products and services to drive value and competitive advantage. Our emphasis in innovation typically focuses on what is made new or improved, but not on how we innovate. In facing shortfalls in achieving innovation, one may ask: "Was the problem the idea or the process used to generate the idea?" The short answer: it is both.

The practical ways to improve innovation in sourcing/procurement was discussed at a recent educational program of the Drug, Chemical, and Associated Technologies Association. Pharmaceutical companies, their suppliers, and other experts shared ways on how to cultivate and systemize innovation for generating actionable ideas for new or improved processes, products, or services, a particularly challenging task in sourcing/ procurement, where cost reduction is a primary and restrictive emphasis.

An interesting thread in this dialogue was the growing use among pharma companies of "innovation communities." These communities consist of employees in multiple functional areas, suppliers, customers, and other stakeholders that use Web-based platforms as a means to share ideas, information, and lessons learned. The premise is simple but important: engage people, internally and externally, in a structured, but accessible way to cultivate innovation.

A model for open innovation is Procter & Gamble's (P&G) "Connect + Develop" platform. According to P&G, more than 50% of its product initiatives involve collaboration from outside innovators. For pharma companies rethinking their innovation strategy, consider inside–outside innovation enabled by Web 2.0.

For additional insight, see "Strategies for Innovation in Pharmaceutical Sourcing and Procurement," at http://PharmTech.com/strategiesinnovation and "Innovation in Sourcing" at http://PharmTech.com/strategiesinnovation.

Patricia Van Arnum is a senior editor of Pharmaceutical Technology.

» Read Patricia's blogs at http://blog.PharmTech.com/