While it is a universal truism that mindset precedes innovation, the circumstances, resources and ecosystems on the ground determine how to turn an idea into a product into an innovation.
How to Fly in Space and Summit Mt. Everest
The emphasis and importance placed on innovation in the pharmaceutical industry has risen dramatically over the last 5 years. Although successful in bringing innovative medicines to the market, it has been much harder to bring that innovation mind-set to other functions of the pharmaceutical industry in the way they communicate with customers, augment a medicines value proposition and utilise innovative technology to improve both clinical and patient outcomes. This however is changing fast.
We have seen triumphs, and we have seen disasters, but we certainly see no end in sight. This somber conclusion took me back to my impressions as a medical resident, training in Internal Medicine, in the late 1980s and early 1990s. For those who don’t know, residency is the crucible of medical indoctrination, the harsh gauntlet of transformation. The hours and duress of it all have been attenuated over time, although they remain impressive by most standards.
Healthcare professionals, scientists and pharmaceutical companies’ understanding of the daily impact of disease and treatment on a person’s life are not always as good as they could be. Historically the focus has been on clinical outcomes, with an assumption that this naturally aligns with the outcomes from a patient’s perspective. Unfortunately, they are not always aligned at all.
If you follow the entrepreneurship blogosphere, you are most likely familiar with the lean startup methodology, including the concepts of minimally viable product (MVP), minimally viable pilot, the customer discovery process and the business model canvas.
As a psychiatrist, part of my job is to talk to people about suicide. Suicidal thoughts are a symptom like all other symptoms that I consider in my assessments. Often people are fearful that if they admit to feeling this way I will instantly hospitalize them against their will. (Not true -- there are only certain situations when I have to which I will explain later).