Innovation in Life Sciences Starts with Design Thinking

Innovation and Design Thinking Life SciencesCompetition among life sciences companies to maintain or advance their positions in the marketplace has led to an industry-wide push for innovation – Chief Innovation Officers and Innovation Centers of Excellence are becoming more common than ever before. However, despite these investments, many of these companies are finding that innovation takes longer than they expected and often does not deliver the anticipated impact.

From our perspective, the lack of success is due to the fact that most companies are attempting to solve the wrong problems and therefore investing in the wrong solutions. In many cases, companies start by picking a solution that seems innovative to them – usually whatever is trendy and generating a lot of buzz at the moment – and they get to work. This solution-led mindset inhibits creative thinking, whereas an empathy-led mindset can open up new possibilities.

Empathetic discovery is a core component of the Design Thinking framework, which we believe can facilitate the development and execution of creative solutions that foster real business value and meaningful customer experiences. Rather than traditional product and solution methods that start with an end state in mind, Design Thinking enables organizations to rapidly research, prototype, test, and launch innovative solutions that specifically address existing pain points and improve internal and external user experiences.

This empathy-led mindset encourages companies to start by framing their problem as a “How might we … ?” question. For example:

– How might we improve the patient/doctor experience?
– How might we help patients with busy lives get their medications more conveniently?
– How might we improve our supply chain operations so that our patients can have access to more affordable medications?
– How might we reward our employees for protecting our customers’ data?

In our experience, innovating with an empathetic lens versus a solution-led mindset can more effectively address root issues and implement solutions that will more effectively improve business performance, mitigate risk, and positively impact patients. But, a transformation of this nature requires a holistic approach and a focus on the long term in order to deliver targeted outcomes.

Case Study: Transforming the Customer Onboarding Experience

One of the leading global healthcare companies wanted to improve their onboarding experience to maintain competitiveness, relevance, and differentiation in marketplace.

We leveraged Design Thinking to reimagine and optimize their onboarding process, developing a roadmap for “quick win” and long-term improvements. The company now has a standardized process and framework in place for continuous improvement of their customer onboarding, which has resulted in improved trust and accountability with their customers – and with internal stakeholders – thereby reducing opportunity cost and improving revenue recognition.

You can read more about this engagement in our latest case study. Learn more about our digital transformation service offerings, helping companies to define and execute a unique strategy that incorporates elements of Design Thinking and emerging technology, here.

If you want to apply the Design Thinking framework in your organization to innovate quicker and more effectively, please reach out to me at [email protected] or 484.383.0606 to learn more.

Rachel Kane, Senior Manager


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