De-risking innovation in Healthcare

By Rob Bonn, Consultant

October 13, 2016   

We all know that businesses must innovate to keep pace with new technologies, consumer expectations and disruptive competitors. But ‘innovation’ is tricky to define, so where do you start – and how do you limit risk?

For pharmaceutical and healthcare companies, the innovation challenge is particularly tough. You’re a large organisation, have numerous stakeholders, legacy systems and are bound by multi-faceted government involvement, from regulation to the small matter of the NHS.

For consumers, care pathways are complex and customer journeys are varied, emotive and reliant on conversation and judgement.

Happily, your innovation challenge is not unlike our briefs from the Metropolitan Police and Transport for London – ‘get more bobbies on the beat’ and ‘get more people off the Tube’. Both big, scary, silo-busting questions that had any number of starting points and blind alleys.

Or from our point of view, fantastic, complex challenges to dive into.

How do you solve a problem like Healthcare?

The first challenge is the brief. Even a question as open as ‘how can we make healthcare better’ needs to be challenged rigorously, unpicking the objectives, purpose and vision. The first rule of innovation club? If the brief’s wrong, you’re about to waste your time.

The next question is where on Earth do you start? Fortunately, WAE:Globant can solve this too. Here’s how…

A proven method for fast results

To demonstrate how we work, we chose a complex healthcare topic – GP surgeries being at breaking point – and spent a four week ‘sprint’ applying our customer-centric research, strategy, design and validation techniques to create a tangible solution to a real-world problem.

We spoke to GPs and patients to prioritise the contributing factors. Next we chose a specific challenge to focus on – in this case, chronic disease management. Finally we defined a self-care platform and validated the proposed solution with stakeholders.

And remember, all this was done in just one month. From ill-defined challenge to viable product in 30 days.

Why this four-week model works

This approach to innovation has a number of benefits to large organisations. By being short, tangible outcomes are produced quickly. And by being iterative and collaborative, the risk of failure is dramatically reduced.

In effect, our model is the antidote to wasting months (at best) and millions of pounds to define and build a product or service that no-one wants.

It’s also a bite-sized introduction to the concept of outcomes vs. outputs. In the world of innovation, we work towards ideal outcomes, not specific outputs. This isn’t semantics. It’s a critical cultural barrier that companies need to address when procuring innovative solutions to problems that have yet to be defined.

You can learn more about our tools and techniques by reading the GP Crisis project report. And if you’d like to explore how our approach might help you, get in touch.