Life Sciences – Thriving in Transformations: Embracing Change

In addition to the traditional challenges the life sciences sector has continually faced (stringent regulations unique to the field, long research periods, hefty expenses, and unknown, perhaps futile outcomes), the sector now faces headwinds other large-scale business activities must grapple with. These include mergers, acquisitions, restructuring, and digital overhauls.

Despite the hurdles, many life sciences firms have demonstrated exceptional resilience and success as they navigate these transitions. Cornerstone International Group’s network of offices has observed successful firms worldwide.  Cornerstone India has summarized what makes these firms rise to the top – and remain there. 

Successful firms share these traits:

  1. They Cultivate a Growth Mentality
    The life sciences industry is no stranger to changing legislation and market needs. As a result, successful businesses have cultivated a growth mentality that emphasizes experimentation, innovation, and creativity. Firms that encourage their staff to think outside the box and take measured risks have a better chance of long-term success.

  2. They Properly Manage Risks
    The capacity to properly manage risks is another essential aspect of the success of life sciences organizations. We have mentioned the challenges the life sciences businesses face. To compete in a continuously changing sector, businesses must manage risk successfully.

  3. They Recognize that Leadership is the Key to Success
    Any sizeable corporate transformation requires strong leadership; the life sciences industry is no exception. But, exceptional qualities of vision and direction are required to negotiate the complexity of a significant shift in corporate culture. Leaders endowed with these qualities inspire their people to accept change and work together towards new and perhaps intimidating objectives.

    The merger of Pfizer and Wyeth exemplifies effective leadership in a significant transition. When the two firms combined in 2009, they encountered substantial obstacles such as cultural differences, legal impediments, and other integration difficulties. The leadership team, led by CEO Jeff Kindler, worked relentlessly to articulate a clear vision for the new company and to urge people to accept the changes. As a result of the successful merger, the new Pfizer is now a global leader in the life sciences business.

  4. They Encourage Collaboration and Effective Communication
    From employees’ point of view, significant change in “their” company often ignites great uncertainty and anxiety. Leadership’s clear, consistent communication may help ease these fears and guarantee everyone is on the same page.

    Novartis’ digital transformation is an example of good communication and teamwork. When the company began its digital transformation, it developed a clear communication strategy that included regular updates to employees and stakeholders. Novartis also formed a cross-functional committee to oversee the change, ensuring all divisions collaborated smoothly toward the same objectives.

  5. They Embrace Technology and Innovation
    Emerging technologies now impacting the life sciences industry include artificial intelligence and genomics. Companies that are prepared to invest in these technologies and experiment with new working methods will do better when confronted with massive changes.

    GSK is one example of a firm that embraces innovation and new business models. GSK has made significant investments in digital technology and established a new business unit, GSK Consumer Healthcare, to focus on consumer health goods.

  6. They Implement Organizational Structures that are Agile and Flexible
    Vision and enthusiasm alone are not sufficient for large-scale transformational success. When a firm undergoes major changes, it must be able to swiftly adapt to new conditions and modify the course as needed. Traditional hierarchical organizational structures can stifle flexibility and make responding to changes difficult. Agile and adaptable organizational structures are required.

    J&J’s innovation centers exemplify an agile and adaptable organizational structure. The corporation has developed innovation centers worldwide that function as autonomous entities with their own finances and decision-making authority. The result: the innovation centers can function more freely and adapt to changing local market conditions more swiftly.

  7. They Make a Strong Focus on Customer Needs a Priority
    Finally, success in the life sciences requires a strong awareness of changing consumer demands. Whether producing new pharmaceuticals, medical equipment or delivering healthcare services, companies must be laser-focused on satisfying the demands of their consumers, which can often be fast-changing.  

    Medtronic is one example of a corporation that prioritizes client demands. The medical device firm has a customer-first strategy, emphasizing understanding the requirements of patients and healthcare professionals. Medtronic spends extensively on R&D to create novel solutions that fulfill the changing demands of the healthcare sector.

Significant transitions can be difficult in any business, especially in the highly- regulated and complicated health sciences industry. Companies that are prepared to invest in:

  • strong leadership
  • good internal communication and cooperation
  • innovation and technology
  • agile and flexible organizational structures
  • discerning customer demands

… are more likely to succeed in making successful changes.

Success is never easy.  It requires more than memorizing successful mantras, no matter how time-tested. However, intelligent openness to changing circumstances and embracing the above five principles can allow life sciences companies to position themselves for success in a rapidly changing industry.

Please contact Mr. Vijay Karkare, Global Practice Leader Pharma & Life Sciences– vijay@cornerstone.co.in for more information, suggestions, or queries.

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