Most big organizations are so invested in minimizing risk, that truly disruptive ideas can never take hold.Strategically, pharma should build completely separate incubator type functions that are independent from the structure and cultural baggage of the parent. Then, integrate the success of those businesses back into the mother ship. Probably with the entrepreneurs as leaders (an idea certain to make most execs not want to innovate).

Like the image above says, Innovation is really about leadership. An acceptance of risk, and the personalities that are actually disruptive to the status quo. Learning to live with the idea that if you aren’t feeling uncomfortable, then innovation isn’t happening.

Which leads to a related thought. I couldn’t help but compare this to some work that we’re doing for Peter Lee, Head of Microsoft Research who spoke eloquently about the role of research and innovators in this video. Peter’s ideas about innovation apply to all industries, but pharma seems to be so risk adverse that it feels like innovation will only come in the vanilla, good tasting variety.

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