global dominationSo many airport terminals look the same but you know you’re in Basel when the ads for pharma companies outnumber those for banks & expensive watches.

The 5th annual DIA Medical Information & Communications in Europe conference has come to Pharma City aka Basel this year. Working with my fellow programme committee team mates, we aimed to create a conference to educate and hopefully inspire. As another busy year draws to a close, attending a conference is a great way to motivate you and give you renewed energy for the final push to year end.

Globalisation – 3 models

Globalisation was the dominant theme on the opening day. Just as genetic mutations bring survival advantages to the living world, so do the variations of organisational structures and ways of workings in pharma companies, big and small.

After Janet Davies opened the conference, we heard presentations from Sian Slade, BMS; Andy Williams & Britta Bohm, GSK and Sophia Andeh, Genzyme. Three companies with three different ways of getting to One Voice for Medical. BMS have a hierarchical global – 3 regions – affiliate structure so they cascade the vision and delivery down the organisation. In contrast GSK work more within a collaborative network, driven by a Medical Information executive council. As Andy observed, this is the 3rd year they’re talking about the evolving model for GSK at the DIA conference. Either it’s incredibly hard to get it right or they are particularly slow. My money is on the first!

The affiliate strikes back!

But how does it feel for an affiliate when you’ve been “globalised”? Sophia gave us her insight into adapting the global model to make it work for the affiliates. When you receive an urgent query from a healthcare professional and need an answer quick, you can’t wait 2 weeks for the global content team to finesse a standard response document. You need answers now! So she outlined their ways of working that satisfies the One Voice concept whilst reducing the content delivery bottleneck. Although the global team create content to agreed standards and styles, the local affiliates can also write standard responses to the same standard in response the their customer or market’s needs. The marriage of pragmatism and compliance.

Reverse Innovation

Sian gave us food for thought. With the massive expansion of China and India plus the emerging markets like Brazil and Russia, maybe we need to consider reverse innovation. Don’t be distracted by the Old World way of doing things – what would the New World do?