Sunday, May 22, 2011

Disruptive technologies

We see above the evolution of audio-video products, each technology innovation has disrupted the earlier market! Today, where are the gramaphone records or audio cassettes?!

Innovation is vital for business growth, this is a well known fact - innovations help business enterprises with breakthrough products or services that provide transformational results. Normally, this huge outcome is a result of successful commercialization of a disruptive technology.

A disruptive innovation comes by applying new set of values. It disrupts the current market. For eg., if a EV (electric vehicle) transforms personal transportation, it is a disruptive technology which will affect fortunes of gasoline based vehicles. Tata Nano is such a disruptive technology car. It is all set to enjoy steady growth after its very poor sale performance (in Nov 2010, its sales had dipped to just 500 cars, today its growth is on!).

Sustaining innovations are non-disruptive improvements in products or service. For eg., combining diclofenac with serratiopeptidase for better efficacy in pain management or offering diclofenac potassium in lieu of diclofenac sodium for hypertensive patients (in pain management therapy). However, sustaining innovations need not disrupt the market, even though they can create transformational results.

The holy grail of innovation is now succeeding with disruptive technology in the market.

In pharma business, breakthrough drugs are disruptive technologies that out-date older molecules and create fortunes through the innovator molecule. In H2 receptor blockers, cimetidine created a wave, this was outdated by ranitidine. Today, cimetidine is off the market. Ranitidine in turn got a truncated market through launch of proton pump inhibitors: omeprazole, pantoprazole, lansoprazole etc. Thus, disruptive technologies create mega markets and sustained results.

Disruptive technology based products need not come through new molecules in pharma markets, new packaging concepts can disrupt the market and produce exciting results. This has been the case with electrolyte energy drink products in Tetra Pak aseptic technology packaging.

FFS (form fill seal) technology for parenterals that was promoted vigorously by the now defunct Core Laboratories, created a disruptive market and Core was a big name in 1990s for FFS parenterals.

From where do disruptive technologies come?

It has been observed by management experts, disruptive technologies do not come usually from established giants or well established companies, as they are used to working in a particular way. Hence, giants on noticing disruptive technology products or services from other smaller companies often buy them up! This is quite common in the international pharma industry.

Creation of disruptive technologies requires a system reorganization in companies. Most established companies like status quo with incremental product improvements or changes, not uncomfortable quantum restructuring! Hence, most well established companies normally do not produce disruptive technology products or services.

Application of mobile based communication in pharma marketing communication is regarding very disruptive. Biosimilar business is also reckoned to be a disruptive marketing model.

The innovator mindset

The amazing and ceaseless changes in society: empowerment, knowledge and idea dissemination, communication systems, and media improvements (like digital media) is heralding a new era of innovation. In the past, quality of medicines was a qualifier, today, an innovator mindset in pharma field is a necessity for survival and growth. One is forced to have an innovator mindset whether it is evolutionary innovation or disruptive innovation, INNOVATION IS A PREREQUISITE IN MODERN DAY PHARMA BUSINESS!

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