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Organisational Darwinism and pharma

Recently, McKinsey’s described organisations as moving from a machine type model to one resembling a living organism.


10 October 2018

By: Cognite

Recently, McKinsey described organisations as moving from a machine-type model to one resembling a living organism. The familiar term for this new type of organisation is Agile. Its hallmark is the ability to adapt to a fast changing, unpredictable and disruptive environment, making the comparison to an organism highly appropriate. According to MIT, Agile organisations grow faster and are more profitable than those which don’t follow this model. In short, they adapt better!

Agile organisations are highly customer centric and pride themselves in delivering superior value to their customers, who in this digital age tend to be more demanding and less predictable. Being Agile therefore means being smart, responsive, nimble, lean, flexible, fluid, non-siloed and transparent.

The Agile Manifesto, originally created as a template for the development of software, suggests that an Agile organisation will value

– Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
– Working software over comprehensive documentation
– Customer collaboration over contract documentation
– Responding to change over following a plan

The pharmaceutical industry has faced plenty of disruptive factors in recent years. Examples include digital innovation, patient centricity, the replacement of blockbusters with breakthrough medicines for small patient populations, the increased focus on outcomes and the emphasis on value. Interest in Agile is therefore growing both in pharmaceutical companies and the organisations that serve them

Although large organisations need to embrace Agile, smaller ones will find it easier to make the changes required. Speaking as a member of an independent agency that has already embraced this concept,  I can confirm that we find our clients are very much in tune with it, particularly where breakthrough science brands, treating targeted populations, are concerned. The cultures readily align as they will also do with bioscience companies acquired by big pharma.

In summary, the move to Agile is about Darwinian survival of the fittest. In a changing environment you need to be Agile and to be agile you need to be fit!

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