Partnering for Innovation
As technology progresses at a rate hard to keep up with, many in the clinical trials space struggle to be innovative and desperately want to try something new.
Going outside the norm is very appealing on many levels and can be exciting; however, inventive approaches also come with inherent risks. With digital, mobile and wearable devices becoming more standard practice, sifting out true innovation that is risk adverse becomes more challenging.
How you seek and find innovation is not a passive effort. Seeking groundbreaking initiatives requires effort, diligence and lots of research.
It’s easy to ignore unsolicited communications from companies trying something for the first time. It’s natural to want to wait until they have some proven metrics that show results. But this mindset is counteractive to innovation, and it could be a missed opportunity. When an idea is good enough to put into practice, partnering with someone to test it out could be a win for both parties. Looking at things you are prone to ignore with a fresh perspective is one simple way to train your brain to be open to out-of-the-box ideas.
Other unlikely places to gain fresh ideas and knowledge may be missed by not tapping into current team members and vendors. There could be a wealth of knowledge right under your nose that is virtually untapped. People you interact with every day may have prior experience with innovation that simply was never mentioned, as it was never inquired about. Asking questions about new approaches, and both positive and negative experiences, could spark a brilliant new way to do things. Include innovation discussions into existing meetings. Remove barriers that may cause people to be hesitant to speak up. For example, ask: If money were not a factor, what do you think would be the most innovative thing we could do for this program? Create a culture that values new ideas. The responses could surprise you.
In addition to paying attention to new ideas, teammates and partners, it also is important to do your homework. Find out what other companies are doing. Look at innovation in other industries and consider how it could be applied to the clinical research space. It’s essential to regularly look at industry trends from conferences, publications and press releases. One way to assess the risk of a new idea is to understand how similar adoptions have played out in real scenarios. Setting aside time to research innovation is crucial, but the effort can pay off exponentially.
Perhaps you will stumble upon a new creative and innovative service accidently. But your chances are significantly better when you take a proactive approach. The majority of the most successful companies in the world make innovation a priority—not by accident but, rather, deliberately.
If innovation is not a priority, you just might miss your innovation window, which could have detrimental long-term effects. At regular intervals, you should question processes and services, even if they are going well. Waiting until there is a problem is counteractive to progressive technology innovation. Most everything can be improved upon if given enough thought.
Ashley Tointon has more than 18 years of patient recruitment and project management experience supporting clinical trials and the pharmaceutical industry. Currently she provides recruitment expertise, strategy and leadership as Principal Consultant of Accelerate Clinical Enrollment LLC. Email comments and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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