Inspiring, Supporting, and Sustaining Innovation in Your Organization

With innovation front, center, and needed in today’s pharma/healthcare industry more than at any other time, PM360 asked 12 industry experts how they work within their organizations to achieve excellence or find just the right thing to push the industry forward. To that end, we asked the following questions:

  • What’s your view on inspiration as the basis of innovation? How do you inspire your teams to think outside the box? In your industry sector, what does that inspiration typically look like? What do you encourage your teams to look at to spark innovation in terms of collaboration with clinical trials, researchers, and doctors?
  • What kind of support does your organization provide to help teams elevate their insights and ideas into the stuff of innovation—such as brainstorming, disease-state education, or various technologies—and what kind of support do you think could be additionally offered? What do you find works best in supporting teams—what do they need or seek? Are there pitfalls that can be avoided?
  • Many of our organizational/team leaders have found ways not only to innovate, but also methods to sustain that innovation over the long haul. What leadership qualities does it take to accomplish this? Do you, and how do you collaborate with organizations/groups/vendors/suppliers to uncover the areas in which innovation can be sustained?
  • What types of innovation have your teams/organizations achieved and what were some of the steps you took to get there?


Some principles that help us to inspire great work at Digitas include these ideas:

  • The sky’s the limit. Never start a project thinking “It has to be this” or “It can’t be that.” Clients in healthcare have seen that big ideas can break through and are more and more comfortable when smart ideas stretch the boundaries. This is the time for creatives at healthcare agencies to show the world what we’re made of.
  • Look at everything that’s been done in the category—then do the opposite. Rules were made to be broken. So, once you’ve seen how everyone else does it, find inspiration outside the category.
  • Listen to your audience, but not too much. We’ve all watched focus groups in which interviewees latch onto the safe, straightforward ideas that have been done before. If there’s an idea that gets a rise out of the group—good or bad—it’s worth exploring further.
  • Get out of the office. Go find new inspiration to help clear your head. Museums, art installations, maker spaces—heck, even doctor’s offices—can offer a fresh spark.
  • Fire up your clients early. Bring them in early and don’t be afraid to show them how the “sausage gets made.” It shows them that you’re passionate about an idea and that you see them as a collaborator. When they feel like they’re in the process with you, they’ll push to make the work even better.

This article originally appeared on PM360 Online