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The Heart of the Matter 4 - Innovation: it's a risky business

The heart of the matter part 4There is no such thing as a magic formula for innovation. But as some of modern business’s biggest visionaries will attest, the killer ingredient is often ‘risk’. 

As the saying goes, if you’ve never failed, you’ve never tried anything new. Steve Jobs said that sometimes when you innovate you make mistakes; he warned people not to be afraid of taking risks. Mark Zuckerberg says that the biggest risk is not to take any risk at all; he advises people to ‘move fast and break things’. Peter Drucker says that ‘if you want something new, you have to stop doing something old’. 

There may not be a magic formula, but one thing is clear: innovation is anything but business as usual.

Except, of course, for the pharmaceutical industry, where innovation pretty much comes with the turf. The sector is acknowledged as one of the world’s most innovative, with a product back catalogue that reflects a conveyor belt of interventions that have saved and changed lives.

However, when it comes to introducing - or experimenting with - new ways of working, pharma’s capacity for innovation can sometimes fail to match its R&D prowess. Companies are often risk-averse and this can breed a fear of failure that stifles innovation and allows employees to hide behind the tried-and-tested. For many, this is not only the wrong kind of ‘business as usual’, it’s misaligned with the needs of a changing marketplace. 

The reality is a harsh one: there are no old roads to new directions. If marketers really are to adapt to a new world, it’s time to feel the fear and try something different …

Read: Innovation: it’s a risky business produced in association with McCann Complete Medical

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