Leveraging innovation to improve clinical study portfolio team dynamics and accelerate delivery

It goes without saying, our industry is extremely competitive.  Each study in the pipeline represents billions of dollars at stake, and  leaders constantly scan the horizon for innovative ways to shorten time to market and deliver therapies to patients faster. A culture of innovation, improved team dynamics, and an enhanced company culture can collectively accelerate delivery by fostering efficiency, collaboration, and adaptability. Here’s how these elements work together to expedite R&D: 


Co-create a culture of innovation 

A culture of innovation is essential for pharmaceutical companies that want to succeed in the competitive global market. By investing in your people and creating an environment where everyone feels heard, valued and respected, companies can accelerate the drug development process and bring new products to market more quickly. In order to co-create a culture of innovation, Leaders must establish a safe environment that encourages employees to think outside the box, adopt agile development processes, and leverage technology. If you are looking to create a culture of innovation in your pharmaceutical company, here are a few things you can do: 

  • Empower teams to think outside the box. Create a safe and supportive environment where employees feel comfortable sharing their ideas, even if they are unconventional and they challenge the status quo. Reward employees for taking risks and trying new things to produce the best possible outcome and amplify failure learnings as appropriate. For example, one client started a program called ‘Trailblazers in trials’ and invited Clinical Project Managers, Clinical Research Associates, Data Managers, and other relevant stakeholders to participate. The objective was to rethink how clinical trials were designed, managed, and executed. 
  • Adopt agile development processes. Agile development processes allow teams to make changes quickly and respond to feedback from regulators. This can help to accelerate the drug development process and bring new products to market more quickly. 
  • Leverage technology to improve communication and boost productivity. Innovative teams often use advanced communication tools and practices to improve communication and boost productivity. By leveraging automation and advanced technologies, teams can keep everyone informed and aligned to the goals, eliminate repetitive tasks, and reduce manual efforts.  


Improve Team Dynamics 

In the pharmaceutical industry, where research and development timelines are often lengthy and regulatory requirements are stringent, improving team dynamics can lead to significant time savings, cost reductions, and improved drug development efficiency. Here’s how team dynamics can contribute to time savings in pharmaceutical companies: 

  • Encourage Cross-Functional Collaboration and Teamwork: A culture that promotes collaboration and teamwork encourages employees to work together on projects which can lead to faster problem-solving, more innovative solutions, and shorter project timelines. It develops deeper working relationships between different functions, including researchers, regulatory affairs, manufacturing, and marketing. Teams that work well together can integrate their expertise and respond to challenges more efficiently, minimize rework and improve overall quality of the deliverables and handoffs.   
  • Capitalize on a team’s diverse talents and skills: Innovative teams are typically diverse and inclusive, with members from different backgrounds bringing in different skills, perspectives and passion. Create a team environment where everyone feels valued, respected and included. Emphasize the value of each individual’s contribution and impact to the success of the overall. As an example, one client we’ve worked with decided to assemble a cross-functional “Clinical Data Innovation Taskforce.” Instead of just recruiting seasoned data scientists and statisticians, they recruited: 
    • Clinical Data Managers who understood the nuances of clinical trial data. 
    • Data Scientists with experience in industries like e-commerce and social media, who could introduce fresh analytical methods 
    • Trial Patients to offer the much-needed patient perspective on data representation 
    • Medical Anthropologists who could provide insights on cultural and societal aspects that might affect trial data. 

One of the breakthroughs from this taskforce was a predictive model used in customer behavior analysis to anticipate patient dropouts in clinical trials. This allowed the clinical operations team to proactively address potential challenges, thereby improving trial consistency and integrity.  

  • Implement Efficient Decision-Making: Teams that have effective decision-making processes can make faster and well-informed decisions, reducing delays in project execution while keeping to strict compliance. Teams with strong dynamics are better equipped and are empowered to identify and resolve issues promptly. This proactive problem-solving approach can save significant time in addressing challenges that may arise during the lengthy and stringent drug development process. 

Enhance Company Culture 

Enhancing company culture to deliver faster in pharmaceutical companies involves fostering a work environment that prioritizes efficiency, collaboration, and continuous improvement. By cultivating a culture that values speed, agility and quality, organizations can accelerate their operations and stay competitive. Here are some strategies to enhance company culture for faster delivery: 

  • Communicate Clear Values and Mission: A strong company culture often begins with a clear set of values and a well-defined mission. When employees understand the company’s purpose, they can work more efficiently toward shared goals, and they will find more purpose in the work that they do. A culture that values open and efficient communication encourages teams to share information, provide feedback, and coordinate tasks more effectively, reducing misunderstandings and miscommunications. 
  • Employee Engagement: Engaged employees are more committed to their work and are likely to go the extra mile to meet deadlines and complete tasks promptly. A positive company culture can boost employee engagement and bring greater job satisfaction for your team. 
  • Continuous Improvement: A culture that promotes continuous improvement motivates teams to regularly assess and optimize their processes, ultimately leading to greater efficiency. 

The well-balanced interaction of these three elements is crucial in our industry where time-to-market is a critical factor in delivering lifesaving and life-improving treatment. By fostering a culture of innovation, improving team dynamics, and enhancing the overall company culture, pharmaceutical companies can accelerate the development and launch of new drugs and therapies while maintaining high-quality standards and regulatory compliance. In the end, it will be the primary customers that will have the highest payback since all these practices can lead to better patient outcomes that can make a real difference in the lives of patients who are suffering from serious diseases.