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Look Beyond-The-Wall

I am a massive fan of #GOT.

I couldn’t resist having this picture of the wall of the night watch every time I hear this expression:

b e y o n d – t h e – p I l l

An old buzzword wrapping around anything digital is now reappearing around anything deemed “innovative”.

Can you remember the last time you heard this notion of going beyond the pill?

I do. It was at the eyeforpharma congress in Barcelona almost ten years ago.

Since then, we have kept using these fancy marketing boxes to classify a project to launch a pilot or try to scale it.

In reality, a lot of startups are doing beyond the-you-name-it. Moreover, they do it surprisingly well without being that close to pharma.

So what’s beyond the wall?

Well, if you try having a sneak preview, you’ll see a lot of initiatives around innovation labs, hackathons, accelerators, summits & conferences, spin-offs, and VC funds… These are the wildlings you have in Game of Thrones. They seem unorganised, ignoring the code of conduct, but they fight the innovation battles well.

Who are the night’s guards?

Perhaps us. Pharma people.

We hold the truth on bringing value through our drugs and services beyond just producing them. And what’s behind us? Several kingdoms of policymakers, HCPs associations and communities of patients fighting their own battles also justified, of course.

Ok. In this picture, then, who are the night’s walkers?

I believe you could argue by looking at these from different angles. For some people, the industry could look like walkers with blue eyes, but it is just a perspective issue, in my honest opinion. I want to think differently and to look at the dead walkers as all the problems or roadblocks coming towards us because of environmental context: cost of medicine, access, regulatory pressure, innovation speed, and growing population.

For some, death comes from a world ruled by unregulated data, where trusts would dictate your behaviour and access to healthcare. We are approaching the Sci-Fi realm here, but you can see how much these raise questions regarding genomics data and are stressing the ethical aspects of the industry.

Like in #GOT, I can’t resist seeing the healthcare industry with a wall doomed to fall, and the only way to survive the challenges we have is to partner with the Wildlings, the Startup Nation, and bring them on board.

I can’t see us building new walls and more complexity: it is time to settle a new camp with a vocabulary everyone understands. And guess what: this exists already! So I’ll invite all my industry colleagues to look at how the FinTech industry shifted in the last ten years (yes, it is also regulated) and to learn how big players are adopting digital frameworks that unlock world-class potential.

It is still striking to see that you can have an IBAN worldwide and send money to someone but still not share your healthcare data points with any hospital to get a second opinion on your diagnosis.

If you have one thing to get from this: NO, technologies, startups, or digital tactics are not miraculous dragons giving you a magical edge in your innovation battle. Instead, they are a means to an end that should deliver impact and outcomes. So when you are listening to the keynotes or looking at vendors’ brochures at the next eyeforpharma congress in Barcelona, please keep in mind this picture to not fall into the same trap we did almost ten years ago and call a bluff when you see it.

I truly hope that now the healthcare industry is ready to lift off, embracing collaboration, and we are not creating our own Game of Thrones.

See you soon in Barcelona #efpbarca.

Haider Alleg
Haider Alleg
Entrepreneur Haider developed a toolbox for bringing brand performances to life, helping organisations of various shapes and sizes navigate the unknown and generate growth. This led him to build Kainjoo in 2012, a fast-growing consulting firm supporting ambitious leaders from top 500 Fortune companies. With Allegory Capital, he supports regulated industries to innovate through portfolios of emerging tech and channels.

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