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Posted on
February 28, 2017 by Actando Consulting Team LEARNING SOLUTIONS > Blended Learning

Design Thinking: Transform to MCM Under The Radar


Design Thinking in the Pharma Industry | Ever wonder if you can conceive, incubate, and launch a disruptive business idea within the constraints of restrictive industry compliance? In the words of an ex-Disney employee, of course you can - in fact it is easier to innovate within a defined box of parameters than in an ocean of possibilities! And you do not need a big global program launch to do so. Let’s have a look at how you might do this.

Design Thinking Principles

  • The secret ingredient is COMPASSION - the desire to make acceptance and adoption as easy and painless as possible. Without it the change will not stick. It will not stick, as the stakeholders have not been involved, considered and understood and taken on the journey you have been on. No matter how much your business or brand or customers need to make the change and will benefit from the change, it will probably be met with resistance. 

The wonderful news about using design thinking to forge change and new solutions is that you cannot fail! At the core of design thinking is the development of fast prototypes, pilots, versions, and new releases. You cannot fail, as there really is no such thing in this creative philosophy - just new designs. That means you can start small and locally, try it out, rework it based on feedback and release version 2. Grow from there.


Apply Design Thinking to Brand Planning

The design process begins with customer insights. When you are conducting your Situational Analysis, apply some innovation processes so you can dig deeper and deeper into your customer journey and uncover what might be going on and why. Ask why, why, why, why and why again? Don’t be afraid of discovering that you actually do not know why and so you have to go and get more information. That is part of the process.

Look for new sources of data that can give you new perspectives and fill in the gaps. Look for real life data if you can to supplement the more formal market research. Live and feel the customer journey through immersion activities. Observe longer than you think is necessary, that is, when you are ready to leave and feel you have enough observations, stay longer and see what is not normally seen.

Pool all this data and your observations with your existing knowledge. Look at it from different perspectives. Try to see what cannot be normally seen. 

When you have the ah-huh, begin to ask ‘what if the customer could…’ and your world of possibilities will open up. Can you break the rules? Under what circumstances can you break the rules and remain complaint?  Using the insight, develop your brand strategy and identify your critical success factors.

Only then, do you ideate. Record them all, furiously and fast. Don’t perfect them too soon or you will start to talk yourself out of them and find barriers. When you have a bunch of ideas, evaluate against a set of criteria based on your strategy and critical success factors, and select only a few ideas that you are really excited and passionate about

Go test them out. There is a graveyard of ideas out there, never seeing the light of day as it all just seem too hard. Develop prototypes rapidly and put them before a customer. Gather feedback and iterate. Remember, there are no failures, just versions. Stay small, stay low-key, low budget and stay nimble until you have got something promising producing results.




Design thinking principles are being applied to all parts of the business including customer engagement tactics, and even to designing career and lifestyle changes. Start small and move quickly.

Design thinking is one way towards a customer centric approach, even within the restricted environment we operate in. You can utilize the principles of design thinking to engage your customers, to collaboratively develop new patient solutions, and to convert that engagement into bottom line results.  Start today, integrating such practices into your current activities.

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