An Example of (Slow) Open Innovation in the Healthcare Industry: GSK Consumer Health


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I actually like the efforts of GSK Consumer Health when it comes to open innovation.

They have a decent portal for this, they use the Want-Find-Get-Manage framework, which works well for many companies and my interactions with some of their people leads me to believe that they are on the right track.

However, I did stumble over an interesting thing, when I browsed their portal recently and I sense this is an element that haunts many companies that are pursuing open or external innovation and in particular within the healthcare industry.

It is a lack of speed.

If you click here to see the open innovation pathway at GSK, you will notice that it takes GSK more than 3 months to do an early stage review and 12-18 months to carry out R&D and/or consumer testing to determine fit with GSK brands.

This is a paradox as many of the companies I interact with on their open innovation efforts state that speeding up the innovation process is a key objective. I acknowledge that the healthcare industry can be more difficult than other industries with regards to innovation due to regulatory issues, but sometimes you also need to look at your setup and processes.

This is the explanation on the issue taken from the FAQ pages from the innovation portal:

3. Why does the process take 3 months and what is happening during this time?

Once GSK receives your information, we will follow up with you within 48 hours to let you know we have received your idea. Because there are several functional groups within GSK that need to review the information and determine feasibility, it often takes time to coordinate input from the various team members. We are committed to move the idea as quickly as possible and provide a response in a timely manner.

It should not take 3 months to get back to potential partners with an early response. If a company is really committed to move ideas quickly and provide a response timely, they commit the necessary resources and work out strong processes to do this.

I don’t think this is the case with GSK and this is bit of a shame as I believe they are doing some good things. I just don’t hope their handling on this important topic of getting back to potential partners will give them a bad reputation for being slow because such a reputation can travel fast and long.

You don’t want to carry such a reputation for obvious reasons and in particular not in a situation the key reason for companies to adopt open or external innovation is speed.

Maybe this little story can serve as food for thought for GSK as well as other companies within and outside the healthcare industry.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Stefan Lindegaard
Stefan is an author, speaker, facilitator and consultant focusing on open innovation, social media tools and intrapreneurship.


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