We hear a lot about disruptive technology and start ups, but what about other sectors? We talk to Kelly Simpson-Angelini, CEO of Simpson Healthcare Executives – winner of Business Worldwide Magazines 2017 CEO Awards in the categories of ‘Healthcare Industry CEO of the Year’ and ‘Most Innovative CEO of the Year’ – about disruptive innovation in healthcare.

Disruptive innovation is currently the holy grail of business development.  According to Clayton, Raynor and McDonald, writing in the Harvard Business Review in 2015, disruptive innovation means that a newcomer can challenge a sector’s incumbent businesses by meeting the previously unmet needs of customers. In doing so, it becomes mainstream while preserving its business model. Tantalising indeed.

When we think of disruptive innovation, we tend to think of tech or digital industries, but it’s a model which  has the potential to deliver in a range of sectors.  We talked to Kelly Simpson-Angelini, Founder, CEO, and CSO of Simpson Healthcare Executives, about what disruptive innovation means in the healthcare sector.

What is Simpson Healthcare Executives’ core business?

I founded Simpson Healthcare Executives in 1998, and our core business is as a disruptive scientific communications agency, working with clients to share the scientific story of the diseases they touch and the therapies they discover for those in need.

We challenge all key stakeholders in the healthcare industry to think disruptively about scientific breakthroughs and discovery, beyond next year and into the next decade, to pioneer the future of healthcare.

Our ultimate goal is to create more positive healthcare experiences so that patients can live better and have brighter health outlooks. We tell a story of why our clients’ therapeutic brands matter for patients and how these will improve their lives.

Can you tell me more about how you work with your clients?

At the start of a new project, our internal team will align with our client on strategic vision, project management details, and how long-term value will be added to the healthcare industry throughout the entire therapeutic brand lifecycle. After working with our client to define the problem or opportunity, we will then outline our objectives and timelines and move forward in a collaborative path.

We ensure we have the most appropriate members on our teams and think disruptively about the delivery of our story to our audience.

We believe that everyone on our team should know our client’s goals and how our scientific story will support them, using diverse lenses and perspectives across a broad array of marketing and communications platforms.

We activate our clients and our teams as we work together to connect key healthcare providers and stakeholders to the therapies they need to treat their patients and help to improve their lives.

You say Simpson Healthcare is disruptive. Can you give an example?

One of the most ground-breaking and influential healthcare ventures we have pioneered is the development and implementation of our new line of ‘Futuring’ work which we have launched with many of our Big Pharma clients.

The Future Forums are designed and executed through collaborations of our medical and strategy teams, with the purpose of catalysing disruptive transformation in the healthcare industry into the next decade.

I cannot overstate the value of ‘Futuring.’ It allows space for conversation among core stakeholders about potential future states which will take us beyond the current assumptions we may have today. During this process, we envision the best and worst potential futures without any constraints.

The perspective generated from the exercise creates a different conversation around the decisions we must make in the present day. Once we imagine the futures, we identify the drivers to reach these.  This process helps us to discover opportunities to shape a ‘desired future’ or to avoid an impact from an ‘undesirable future.’

These inventories are a starting point for change based on the identified opportunities from this process.

Who are your core clients?

Our clients include big and small Pharma, some of which have smaller and more targeted portfolios of products. Familiar names like Shire, Pfizer, Merck, AstraZeneca, Genzyme, Genentech, J&J are just a few of our heritage clients.

How central are you and your vision to Simpson Healthcare?

I founded Simpson Healthcare Executives nearly 20 years ago, and am involved in all its strategy and future planning. My team is the centre of the organisation, and has a broad array of talented thinkers who challenge the status quo.

I have always had a passion for science and communication, combined with an inherent sense of compassion and empathy for patients in relation to what they may be going through in their own healthcare experiences. As we go through life, our experiences create our story as every day they teach us more about why we are here, who we are, and what it means to be human. To me, this always keeps me mindful of the greater reason why healthcare exists: to help make patients’ lives better.

Because of my background, I have what I would call a vast range of experience in healthcare research, scientific breakthrough, and modern-day storytelling. That’s what Simpson Healthcare does, assisting our clients to help them shape their stories of their brands and the ‘So What.’

How do your values influence your business?

A few years ago we revisited our mission and vision and transformed it into a purpose statement, one in which I deeply believe in.

Our purpose is to support our clients to share the scientific story of the diseases they touch and therapies they discover for those in need.

We, like our clients, always keep the patient at the centre of our story, because our goal is to create positive healthcare experiences for patients and to make their lives better. Isn’t that the purpose of healthcare in general? It is what I believe in, not only for ourselves today but for the healthcare experiences of our future generations.

What does the future hold, for healthcare and your organisation?

Healthcare is a dynamic industry with a broad landscape composed of many therapeutic markets and wellness niches which all share the one common goal of creating more positive health outlooks for patients who are in need. Essential to the success of healthcare are the discovery and development of new therapies, and therefore innovation is built into the industry and what we do.

Many analyses of what we face in the future use the words uncertain, volatile, and unambiguous. That has implications for health and healthcare. For us, sidestepping global disaster needs disruptive thinking to confront outmoded assumptions, identify the steps we must take, and encourage collaboration.

We see our Future Forums as an essential part of the process, and we firmly believe it will help us all through the challenges which lie ahead.