In 3 steps to sensible innovation in the healthcare sector

Innovation is essential for businesses to compete in the fast-moving marketplace with its ever shorter product lifecycles. Of course, healthcare companies are no exception. We therefore show you three steps that can pave the way for a meaningful innovation in the healthcare sector.

1. Be aware that innovation does not always have to go hand in hand with new technologies.

According to the definition of the business consultant Ralph Scheuss, innovation is the process to bring new products, new services to the market, to increase the efficiency of internal business processes or to redefine the own business model. What sounds a bit heavy at first, is actually explained quite simply. Innovations do not necessarily have to be groundbreaking tech products like Apple's iPhone. Especially in the healthcare industry, innovation can take place in a much smaller area. For example, drug suppliers could improve the formulation of their medicines or make their production more efficient and faster. Novel technologies are not needed for this particular kind of innovation - incremental innovation.

2. A problem is just as long unsolvable until someone asks the right questions.

Before you can apply an innovation method, such as Design Thinking, Waterfall, or Rapid Prototyping, you need brainstorming creativity methods. In order to find ideas for innovations, the execution of (interdisciplinary) workshops with brainstorming and mind mapping is suitable.

Do not be afraid and get help from the outside if necessary . One of the most important innovation methods is open innovation. You can do this outside in and inside out. If you opt for outside in, get input from external people to innovate your product, processes, or business models. This is especially helpful if you have been working together for a long time in a certain constellation and need new perspectives. Conversely, inside out allows you to share your in-house knowledge with outsiders. You too can benefit from this - sometimes this results in longer-term cooperation and work on common innovations.

3. Do not solve the problem from the gut, but based on scientific findings.

There is no ideal form of innovation for your healthcare company. The biggest opportunities for innovation are companies where the innovation unit is as small and agile as possible. With so-called Skunk Works - interdisciplinary development teams - you can engage in innovation outside of normal day-to-day business. Always keep in mind scientific evidence. These already describe the process of an innovation process very precisely. First comes the exploration and idea phase, followed by the evaluation phase and finally the realization phase. In the exploration and idea phase, it mainly depends on basic research, feasibility studies and good idea management. In the evaluation phase, stakeholders assess whether an innovation corresponds to the cost-benefit structure of the company and therefore makes sense. Only in the implementation phase, the projects are implemented and implemented in the market. The procedure may seem a bit rigid, but has already been scientifically and practically tested.