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Pharma and the “sharing economy”

We are living, just in case you didn’t notice, in a “sharing economy”. We ignore adverts that continuously push their products upon us and we try to make use of “stuff” that is hanging around in our homes. But the interesting question I think is, where does pharmaceutical and healthcare in general fit into the picture of the “sharing economy”?

1) What do we mean by “sharing economy”?

Let’s start be defining “sharing economy”:

“Sharing economy” is a social, economic and technological movement that is changing the way business is conducted

“Sharing economies allow individuals and groups to make money from underused assets. In this way, physical assets are shared as services. …….For example a condo owner may rent out his condo while he’s on vacation.”. PWC has put together an excellent video that explains our shared economy

 

 

2) What factors are needed to have in place a “sharing economy”?

The “sharing economy” is an economy built on trust, convenience and community. People trust people more than they trust brands. You could think of it as a modern day version of “word of mouth”. For example what has worked for Airbnb is an ecosystem built on reviews and people really caring about others’ reviews.

Another important characteristic of the “sharing economy” is business models are hosted through digital platforms. Transactions that offer access to a car, a house, a space and although they take place on digital platforms, it involves real people.  The digital platforms serve as a platform to create a user experience – one that feels more like friendship when compared to the traditional cold anonymous method of exchange. For the organization, this all means providing more choice while mitigating cost and creating a unique user experience.

3) What does pharma need to do to be a part of the “sharing economy”?

Big corporations are conservative, careful and risk adverse, especially pharmaceutical and healthcare. So one place pharma could start, is getting the right talent onboard. Get millennials on board they know how to navigate the new business models. And the next generation after them, will be even more revolutionary.

“Sharing economy” sets a new mindset of not necessarily needing to own everything. It is about avoiding a lot of waste, properly called consumerism. But having a lot of “stuff” lying around becomes an opportunity for sharing and to reduce the waste. A mindset of less consumerism, less materialism and more of building a community.

4)Any examples of pharma doing this already?

I think it is a given that pharma is not a disruptor. Its’ approach is more of a wait and see and we will adapt to market forces. However, I was surprised to find the “8 out of 10 of the top pharmaceutical companies use Science Exchange to outsource experiments”.

5) What are the opportunities and risks for pharma in the “sharing economy”?

Some opportunities could include sharing facilities, equipment, offices. The science world has already stepped into the “sharing economy” through the birth of  Science Exchange. So what does this mean for big organizations?  Being more efficient and less inefficient, exactly what the new consumer wants to see today.

The “sharing economy” would mean also sharing with the community intangible assets that includes intellectual property, clinical trials, brand and talent. This is something I am afraid pharma is not yet ready to deal with, yet. Pharmaceutical companies want to keep proprietary technologies and guarantee their intellectual properties..

However, pharma can take a cue from some traditional corporations that have adopted or experimenting with the “sharing economy”.

Citi Bike(Citi), for example has found a novel way of reaching and connecting with people and consumers. Citi Bike brand is associated with a an environmental friendly transportation model.

ReachNow at BMW and premium mobility services. Millennials not really interested in spending money on owning a car acquisition.

Wonolo is a company that is tapping into the sharing economy by creating an on demand staffing. That is you don’t have to hire, and you can still keep a level fo professionalism that will represent your company.

In the end you can be as creative as you want and come up with how your organization can be a part of the “sharing economy”.  All it requires is a change in the way innovation is traditionally approached.  Take a leap and expand the brand through shared economy experiences.

References:

“Pharma Marketers: Adopt Principles of Sharing Economy to Catalyze New Growth.” MM&M. 18 Feb. 2015. Web. 16 Dec. 2016.

PricewaterhouseCoopers. “Consumer Intelligence Series: The Sharing Economy.” PwC. Web. 16 Dec. 2016.

Deborah Berry Assistant Professor and Co-Director of the Histopathology and Tissue Shared Resource, Georgetown University. “The Sharing Economy Comes to Scientific Research.” The Conversation. 11 Apr. 2016. Web. 16 Dec. 2016.

Science Exchange – Order Experiments from the World’s Best Labs.” Science Exchange – Order Experiments from the World’s Best Labs. Web. 16 Dec. 2016.

David Hunt. Web. 16 Dec. 2016

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