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In the dynamic healthcare ecosystem, many life sciences organizations are undergoing transformation to the commercial model by incorporating digital and data analytics capabilities. In my experience, an agile culture must be present in order to fully realize the benefit of the new capabilities.   


Key Tenets of the Agile Culture

In addition to a relentless focus on the customer, key tenets of an agile culture include cross functional teaming, “test and learn” experimentation, and servant leadership. There are other characteristics that play into success, but these three will create a solid foundation.


Cross Functional Teaming

In life sciences, traditional marketing teams have been very focused on branding and promotion and often do not have sufficient digital marketing, data science, and market access expertise on the core team to effectively deliver commercial excellence in today’s environment. A cross functional agile marketing team where thoughts, ideas, and criticisms are shared in a non-hierarchical environment is far more likely to have the necessary mindsets and skill sets to realize the potential of the new capabilities and evolve the value proposition.


Test and Learn Experimentation 

Agile marketing teams should be flexible and willing to concoct and test new ideas with customers, and they should also be prepared to start with a low fidelity “MVP” and then act with speed to adapt the approach with the customer. This approach and mindset enables continuous improvement to how the team approaches innovation and adaptation. 


Servant Leadership

Traditional leadership practices are outdated and ineffective in today’s workplace. Servant, agile leaders are inclusive, democratic leaders who exhibit openness to ideas and innovations. With a passion for learning, a focus on empowering and developing people, and a strong ability to define and communicate a desired vision, they successfully inspire others to become an agent for change within the organization.


Adopting an agile culture while in pursuit of commercial transformation through digital and data capabilities will unlock amazing business and customer opportunities through highly engaged employees. When the needs of employees are met and their environment (even when virtual) is compassionate, engaging, and agile, employees will be more creative, bring their full potential and be more inclined to stay with the company!