Published 29 Mar 2017

Joel Turner, Marketing Manager, epgonline.org

It’s hard to condense 3 days of learning, excitement and innovation into 5 key takeaway points, but here goes… To make this even remotely achievable, I’ve limited my thoughts to key points from the “Digital Transformation” stream.

Take heart from these when you are reviewing your digital roadmap.

  1. Dream big. There are a million quotes relating to “Dream big, start small” attributed to everyone from Walt Disney to Albert Einstein – most of them are fake. Bruno Villetelle from Takeda on the other hand captured the same sentiment but in an absolutely real way when he proclaimed: “Pioneers declare big, hairy goals”

The Chief Digital Officer for Takeda spoke on how “Digital Health Pioneers” are challenging us by forcing us to think and act differently and embrace a “digital mindset”. Much as JFK set the Space Race a goal that “we will get to the moon”,  Villetelle argued that to implement “big, hairy goals” is to force acceleration across the board and the only way to achieve digital transformation. Make your “big hairy goals”  a company wide ambition and bring everyone along for the ride. @TakedaPharma.

  1. Allow for wiggle room. As important as it is to set big, hairy goals – it’s a good idea to be flexible on how you get there. Digital strategy should never be set in stone and should recognise that there is never a single solution or definitive answer. In other words; don’t be tied to a single, static model but rather keep abreast of current shifts in technology, and advance as a digital pioneer, through continual innovation and prototyping. Panos Papakonstantinou, Head of Digital Commerce Europe for Novartis, distilled this sentiment perfectly –  learn what you can quickly and then move on: “Fail fast, learn quickly, move forward...”. @PanosPapak
  1. Build, measure, learn. Andrew Ploskay from GSK – discussed similar ideas about freeing yourself from fear when thinking of digital transformation. Sure, aim for the moon but don’t expect to build a 7-stage ballistic rocket first time. Be realistic… Build, measure and LEARN as you develop prototypes and learn from your mistakes. Creating this kind of enterprise capability can help achieve big, hairy goals in incremental leaps (which is especially useful in the compliance-heavy world of pharma). @ajploszay
  1. Digital first impressions count. Celine Genty from Janssen spoke of the very real possibility that there are no second chances if your digital presence does not live up to consumer expectations. If your website or mobile user experience is bad, forget it… if your content is bad, you’re forgotten within seconds.  We're all competing with consumer digital touch points and vying for consumer 'eyeballs' 24/7. Work, life, leisure and digital touchpoints are meshed as never before and your content is as likely as any to be swiped away if it doesn’t make the instant-grade. To achieve real, lasting digital transformation we need to remember that every digital experience is viewed with an unflinchingly critical and unforgiving eye. @JanssenEMEA
  1. Win the “Micro-Moments”. Ok, so this is clearly a Google engineered point, but it’s so true. If you can prove your worth in the split-second that a consumer comes across your brand (and your digital first impression is good) then you have a much stronger chance of building up a relationship where you are viewed more favourably in the long run. As Rudyard Kipling said, If you can win the “micro-moments”, my son, some-day the wider digital transformation will  (almost…) take care of itself. Ryan Olohan, National Industry Director, Healthcare, Google delivered one of the most enjoyable talks reminding us that although use of artificial intelligence and our ability to access consumer data is on the rise, we have a responsibility to understand how we can use it to positively influence our consumers day-to-day lives. With great power comes great responsibility and so to win the “micro-moments” is to add value first and hold off on the sales pitch until the time is right. You may be able to tell who is looking at your products and why they are looking at it but that doesn’t mean they are ready for the sale right there and then. Win the “micro-moment”, deliver a good service to position your brand… and exercise patience! @RyanGOOGHealth

There was of course the usual talk of ‘patient-centricity’ and ‘omni-channel’ – but the key message for me was… Dream big and do it! No matter how small your ‘big’ idea starts, if you approach it with a start-up mentality you’ll benefit from learning a huge amount as you move forward. Fail fast, learn quickly, move forward... innovation and prototyping were the watchwords and demonstrated the difference between those who ‘do’ and those who ‘talk’ about it.

It’s dangerous to sit awaiting the perfect digital solution because… there is no perfect solution at the moment. New disruptors change the landscape every time you refresh your Twitter feed.  But there are a thousand possibilities for us to be digital pioneers and achieve the big, hairy goals. We live in inspiring times; don’t you want to be part of it?