Case Story

Building an Innovation Practice

and Culture at Biopharma Co

Client Mandate

Design an Innovation Process and roll it out to the Top 100 executives during their annual meeting

Our Starting Point

  • Public declaration by the CEO that Innovation to be one of the company’s 4 core values and committed to building a “world-class innovation capability”
  • Customer-centricity capability, another pillar, rolled out at the previous year’s meeting

Our Success

  • Immediate behavior change was seen as executives began asking more questions during meetings (versus showing up with pre-determined “answers”)
  • Demand for innovation tools and materials exceeded company’s initial ability to deliver and train on them

Our Starting Point

BioPharma Co is a leader in the research, development, and commercialization of medication for rare and ultra rare diseases.  In the 3-5 years prior to our work together, the company experienced significant changes, including a complete turnover of the C-Suite, relocation of their corporate headquarters, and a 200% increase in the number of full-time employees.

As part of the establishment of “BioPharma 2.0,” the CEO publicly announced 4 core values that would define the company and drive their work and culture into the future.  The first value, customer-centricity, was brought to life in 2019 through the establishment of a new function, roll-out of a “simulation” to bring the value to life for all employees, and design of an on-line knowledge capture portal.

Seeking to follow-up on this success, BioPharma Co engaged an event and facilitation company to design a “simulation’ through which to roll-out a new innovation capability.  Recognizing that they also needed an innovation expert to help them define the capability, design an innovation process, and deliver training via the simulation experience, the Chief HR Officer, engaged MileZero.

 

Our Journey

Our work together began with defining the framework for a simple innovation process that would integrate best practices in Design Thinking and Lean Start-up with the Customer-Centricity process and tools already in use at the organization.  The integration of the Innovation process with the pre-existing  Customer-Centricity process and tools was essential in order to (1) emphasize the essential connection between these two values and (2) avoid further stressing and already overwhelmed organization.

Once the Innovation Process was defined and integrated, it was reinforced by the establishment of Guiding Principles that defined and supporting all innovation activities regardless of where they occurred in the process, who engaged in them, or what the focus of the innovation was (e.g. product vs process).

With these foundational elements in place, we worked hand-in-glove with the event firm to:

  • Design an innovation playbook to guide users through the innovation process, including tools, templates, instructions, and examples
  • Develop an immersive simulation in which teams of executives would apply every element of the Innovation process to solve a real and pressing business challenge
  • Facilitate an interactive two-day experience that mixed training delivered by Robyn Bolton, relevant content (e.g. stakeholder profiles, disease overviews, external environment “curveballs”), and hands-on activities (e.g. stakeholder interviews, ideation)
  • On-board the company’s new Head of Innovation and quickly get him to expert status post-simulation

 

Our Progress

Immediately after the simulation, people throughout the organization commented on the behavior changes they were witnessing amongst senior leaders – asking questions before jumping to answers, asking open-ended questions instead of “leading the witness”, and encouraging teams to run small “business experiments” to get more data. 

Since the event, the company has:

  • Re-designed the Customer-Centricity training simulation to include elements of the Innovation Process
  • Made the Innovation Playbook available to all employees
  • Hosted “Ask the Expert” sessions to continue to drive understanding and use of the Innovation Process

     

    Client Mandate

    Design an Innovation Process and roll it out to the Top 100 executives during their annual meeting

    Our Starting Point

    • Public declaration by the CEO that Innovation to be one of the company’s 4 core values and committed to building a “world-class innovation capability”
    • Customer-centricity capability, another pillar, rolled out at the previous year’s meeting

    Our Success

    • Immediate behavior change was seen as executives began asking more questions during meetings (versus showing up with pre-determined “answers”)
    • Demand for innovation tools and materials exceeded company’s initial ability to deliver and train on them

    Our Starting Point

    BioPharma Co is a leader in the research, development, and commercialization of medication for rare and ultra rare diseases.  In the 3-5 years prior to our work together, the company experienced significant changes, including a complete turnover of the C-Suite, relocation of their corporate headquarters, and a 200% increase in the number of full-time employees.

    As part of the establishment of “BioPharma 2.0,” the CEO publicly announced 4 core values that would define the company and drive their work and culture into the future.  The first value, customer-centricity, was brought to life in 2019 through the establishment of a new function, roll-out of a “simulation” to bring the value to life for all employees, and design of an on-line knowledge capture portal.

    Seeking to follow-up on this success, BioPharma Co engaged an event and facilitation company to design a “simulation’ through which to roll-out a new innovation capability.  Recognizing that they also needed an innovation expert to help them define the capability, design an innovation process, and deliver training via the simulation experience, the Chief HR Officer, engaged MileZero.

     

    Our Journey

    Our work together began with defining the framework for a simple innovation process that would integrate best practices in Design Thinking and Lean Start-up with the Customer-Centricity process and tools already in use at the organization.  The integration of the Innovation process with the pre-existing  Customer-Centricity process and tools was essential in order to (1) emphasize the essential connection between these two values and (2) avoid further stressing and already overwhelmed organization.

    Once the Innovation Process was defined and integrated, it was reinforced by the establishment of Guiding Principles that defined and supporting all innovation activities regardless of where they occurred in the process, who engaged in them, or what the focus of the innovation was (e.g. product vs process).

    With these foundational elements in place, we worked hand-in-glove with the event firm to:

    • Design an innovation playbook to guide users through the innovation process, including tools, templates, instructions, and examples
    • Develop an immersive simulation in which teams of executives would apply every element of the Innovation process to solve a real and pressing business challenge
    • Facilitate an interactive two-day experience that mixed training delivered by Robyn Bolton, relevant content (e.g. stakeholder profiles, disease overviews, external environment “curveballs”), and hands-on activities (e.g. stakeholder interviews, ideation)
    • On-board the company’s new Head of Innovation and quickly get him to expert status post-simulation

     

    Our Progress

    Immediately after the simulation, people throughout the organization commented on the behavior changes they were witnessing amongst senior leaders – asking questions before jumping to answers, asking open-ended questions instead of “leading the witness”, and encouraging teams to run small “business experiments” to get more data. 

    Since the event, the company has:

    • Re-designed the Customer-Centricity training simulation to include elements of the Innovation Process
    • Made the Innovation Playbook available to all employees
    • Hosted “Ask the Expert” sessions to continue to drive understanding and use of the Innovation Process

           

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