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The Innovator's Nightmare: Obsolescence Before Launch

When rapid innovation meets slow approval, no one wins.

Pixabay
Source: Pixabay

A defining word in today's marketplace is speed. Demanded by the board room and the living room, the rate of innovation is a defining aspect of success for companies old and new. But there are two sides to the equation: The speed of innovation and the procedural aspects of getting an innovation to market. Typically, in the pharma and life sciences industries, the role of process and regulation just can't keep up with the pace of innovation. It becomes much like the classic chemical reaction, where the speed of the entire process is dependent upon one "rate limiting" step. And it's this critical step that defines the entire rate of reaction.

Today's innovator must face the reality that speed cuts both ways. Ideas and concepts are subject to the next disruptive innovation that lies just around the corner.

This plan-spoken reality is particularly important today. The emergence of "exponential growth" in many aspects of business and society is driving cognition and discovery (in human and artificial form) at speeds that are just inconsistent with the complacent methodology of bringing a product to market. From regulatory approval (FDA, clinical trials) to aspects of marketing (ad creation, market research), today's rate-limiting steps may also be innovation's rate limiting constrains.

The big idea might not be enough.

The process itself may be the biggest competitive advantage an innovator can utilize. The complexity of development, regulatory approval, and even the process of communication into to a busy marketplace must be central to the innovation itself. The sad reality of "too late" may be the consequence of an innovation process that is just "too fast" for the entire system.

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