What will happen to advertising when business fundamentally changes from rewarding problem solving to rewarding solution finding? When knowledge is too big and problems too discreet for any one business to own the answer or even the process to find the answer?
Their basic premise boils down to two things:
- Getting new drugs to market is increasingly expensive and uncertain (for lots of reasons)
- Drugs are getting increasingly personal (meaning we needs more types of drugs for increasingly smaller segments of humans)
The combined effect challenges the traditional large, fully integrated pharmaceutical company model. If they can’t guarantee blockbusters (think Viagra and Prozac), how do they continue to thrive?
The authors make a number of short-range recommendations to bridge the gap, but their long-term view is to an entirely new model. The winners, they say, will establish orchestrated drug-development networks. This is beyond individual company strategies to acquire and license pipeline innovations. It’s an industry-wide knowledge base centered around agreed-upon standards for digitally representing drug assets.
That probably got a little confusing, right? Inside any pharma company there’s a mass amount of research going on. Some of it leads to new drugs. Some of it to new questions. Some of it just sits there as an underdeveloped asset. Today, the way those companies store that data is idiosyncratic at best (lots of different systems) so there’s no easy way for them to compare or sell it to one another. Which means there’s a lot of duplication out there and a lot of unused ideas (or hints of ideas) sitting on the shelf.
The emergence of a fluid drug development network (where knowledge could be monetized and shared across players) has broad-ranging impact. Not only could smaller players broadcast their intellectual property, but importantly, “foundations or even patient groups could have drugs developed that targeted markets too small for the big players.” Yeah, the people who needed it could fish it out and pay for its development instead of waiting to become someone else’s priority.
How monumental would that be? Crowdsourcing groups of owners who through pooled funding could change – or even save – their own lives. This is the promise of the next era. Not more tweeting about what we had for dinner but more, higher-value sharing and tailored collaboration.
How will trends like this change advertising? What if we’d no longer be selling a product, but bringing together the people who will create it? Will agencies with category expertise have significant advantage? Or will a new industry crop up altogether? Exciting times.