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Pharma future: fast-forward to 2029

Cast your mind back just 10 years to early 2009…How did you communicate with friends and colleagues? What new technologies were emerging? Did you have any idea what was going to launch in the next 10 years? Here’s a handful of highlights to take you back:

  • Apps were really starting to take off, with Apple launching its app store just the year before
  • WhatsApp launched – it would become the most popular messaging app in the world
  • Sat Nav came to the mobile phone
  • Bing was founded as a challenger to Google

In 2009 we had still yet to witness the birth of the iPad, (2010), Instagram (2010), the 4G network (2010), and the launch of Skype for Business (2015), amongst other significant developments.

In just 10 years we’ve changed the way we work. Remote work is at an all time high, cloud technology has enabled us to reimagine the way we store data, and our expectations have transformed when it comes to communication.

Can you picture a hypothetical future? In 2029, we will probably have moved on from video communication to virtual reality meetings. We could see an end to the smartphone era as more people turn to wearables, like watches and glasses. And, remote working is likely to be business as usual.

But, despite the fact that technology is changing faster than some organisations can absorb change (Scott Brinker), there are still some companies who are resistant to accepting they need to change at all.

Many people try and predict the future of work, but it’s never been more important to prepare for it.

Don’t assume you know your customers

HCPs are getting younger. And with each new generation comes a new set of expectations. Looking back at how technology has evolved, will HCPs still be expecting a face-to-face visit in 10 years’ time?

It’s not about finding the latest technology and running with it, however. Everyone has a preference when it comes to digital channels, and this is the key. Have you asked your customers how they prefer to be contacted?

New doctors these days are likely to have completed all of their training in the iPad era. It’s doubtful that they will have the same preferences as doctors that completed their training 20 years ago – before smartphones and apps were on the scene.

Over the last 5 years, OUTiCO have been collecting HCP preference data and have witnessed a rise in HCPs preferring remote contact at a time that suits them. This trend is going to continue, as more people become comfortable with evolving technology.

Recruit smarter

In the face of a changing work landscape, it’s important to focus on experience, but it’s just as important to hire for potential, and having the ability to navigate change. Johnson & Johnson’s Director of Candidate Experience Trevor Higgs explains that the three most important qualities to look for in a candidate are:

  • mental ability (creativity, problem-solving and critical thinking)
  • conscientiousness
  • emotional intelligence

It’s also critical to remember that recruitment is a two way street, and understand how companies can attract the best talent. A recent survey from Fuze looked at how workplaces would change over the next five to ten years. The report revealed just how much employees are prioritising flexibility, as they strive for work/life balance.

  • 54% said they would move jobs to gain greater flexibility
  • 89% of people said flexible working should be how we work – not a benefit
  • Nearly all (95%) of workers say work/life balance is an important factor when searching for a new job

Don’t wait until it’s too late

Change is inevitable, and necessary, for growth in business. William Craig explains how accepting change is vital to your company’s growth. He says “technology has become practically relentless in the ways it invents and then reinvents modern life. No company that hopes to exist in a globalized world with ever-higher pressures and competition can afford to ignore the opportunities that changing technology represents.”

Embracing new ways of working is the first step to success. Educate those who are resistant to change, and spread the word.  As Stephen Hawking expressed: “Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change”. And it’s the intelligent leaders who will stand the test of time.

Blog links:

What Pharma can learn from trends in B2B sales

NHS Long Term Plan. Can Pharma Keep Up?

How to get reps to buy in to multi-channel

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