While healthcare reform presents policy and operational challenges, the transformation happening in the medical devices, pharma and biotech world is very exciting. Advancing technologies coupled with value-based, rather than product-based, innovation are creating new treatment solutions that blur the lines between traditional therapeutic lanes. With interoperability agreements and a nice push from technology start ups, one device is getting connected to another and to the users, creating a new connected health ecosystem where each player has new customers and new suppliers.
As at-home solutions proliferate, designing products and services for the consumer becomes a new core skill for entities that had previously focused on provider usability. For the most part, those same consumers spend more time being well than being sick and they are reigning control of their health management. When high-deductible plans are added to the picture, consumers are realizing that they should be more involved and are driving choices about preventative diagnostics and well care. All of these shifts don’t necessarily converge in one direction and there are many unanswered questions, making it important to “multi-view” the market and understand the whole supply chain. From our experience, one of the most difficult challenges to this, is knowing what questions to ask.
Sitting in the hub of Silicon Valley innovation, we do not see any shortage of bold new ideas or exciting new products. Unfortunately, we do see and hear about market failures where product functionality or therapeutic value were sound, but product acceptance was limited because it was targeted at the wrong customer or failed to meet the customer’s definition of value. We advocate what we term The Sell-Build Model for product development. This incorporates the well-known lean product development approaches – prototyping, testing, refining, testing again – but builds in a systematic market assessment earlier enough that at the end of the product development cycle, the product is already sold.
What questions to ask to lower the risk on your innovation efforts depends on your position in the product lifecycle and your estimated time-to –market. Whom to ask, that critical question that can make or break a product, is really a question that is custom to the situation. Some of the ways PCG assists life sciences companies achieve product and customer success are shown below.