Giant Health Event Berlin

Building Successful Digital Health Ecosystems: Mission Impossible with the Right Approach

By Teresa Murray, Freelance Writer, Innovation | Start Ups | Strategy | Giant Health Team Writer

Panel Session Wednesday 18th May. 11.30 -13.00 CET

Session Summary

This session will explore the key reasons why digital health ecosystems have not yielded as many success stories as expected over the last decade. Panellists from both pharma companies and successful start-ups will share their stories and lessons learned from their experiences of managing and participating in digital ecosystems. This session will be moderated by Research2Guidance Managing Director Ralf Jahns. Research2Guidance, the leading analyst and strategy consulting company for the digital health industry, carried out a recent survey on digital ecosystems and recently published a white paper outlining the eight building blocks for successful digital health ecosystems. 

Building a successful digital health ecosystem based on partnerships with tech innovators and digital disrupters is deemed of significant strategic importance for established healthcare companies and one of the best ways of driving innovation forward in their own companies. Many corporations have invested heavily in building ecosystems, something that requires both time and money. 

The potential for win-win outcomes emerging from partnerships and ecosystems between digital health start-ups and more established companies in the pharmaceutical, insurance or health care provision sectors is clear to all. Hence the high demand.

Ecosystems make sense in the healthcare industry given the numerous navigational complexities coupled with its lack of pace in adopting digital solutions and disruptions.

We have witnessed a myriad of approaches in terms of identifying ecosystem partnership candidates, ecosystem formats and governance structures. However, despite many ecosystems functioning for years, impact in terms of successful outcomes has not really met expectations.

There is of course more than one reason for this. A primary cause is misaligned visions and goals amongst the different companies that comprise the ecosystem. Not everyone is in it for the same reasons, and detrimentally impacts both functioning and results.

Then there is the problem of governance. It is no easy feat to manage an ecosystem of 30 players, each with different business goals, models, and methods, and above all, different organizational cultures, and mindsets.

Then there is the irksome question of pace. Smaller companies, in particular start-ups move at faster paces. They are leaner, more streamlined and take decisions more quickly. Global corporations, infinitely more organizational complex move at a different speed entirely.

For these large corporations creating ecosystems brimming with innovative start-ups and entrepreneurs were a way of driving change towards a more innovative organizational mindset in their own organizations as well as developing digital solutions as business outputs. However, this did not happen either at the pace or scale desired.

Cultural change in large organizations is after all its own beast.

For start-ups, working in these ecosystems presented many potential wins too. The opportunities for collaborations and learning with other start-ups and developers, and of course, the chance to drink from the extensive science and industry knowledge fonts of industry giants.

However, many start-ups have found the experience frustrating and the governance cumbersome. The what’s in it for them question has become increasingly blurred.

That said, there have been successful outcomes from some digital health ecosystems.

The goal of this panel is to hear some of these success stories and what approaches and set ups specifically created the conditions to foster successful partnerships capable of generating positive impact for both sides of the partnerships, and to produce outcomes that above all served their target client – the patient.

Together with our renowned speakers we will discuss the status and learnings of the different approaches that have been used in various digital partnerships and ecosystems and analyse from the perspective of the different parties what works and what doesn’t and why. Also, what are the issues and challenges faced when working in a digital ecosystem and how can these be more effectively resolved and eliminated.

Ralf Jahns, Managing Director of Research2Guidance will set up the scene by sharing some of the insights from an extensive research and projects work on within the healthcare industry, and share R2G’s eight-building-block approach to create an impactful digital health ecosystem via partnerships, what are the necessary ingredients let’s say to generating and developing successful digital ecosystems and dig into the essential question of what the measure of success is.

Two large international companies will share how they have adapted to better align with the original logic driving the creation of ecosystems, and how each panellist navigated the challenges and maximized the opportunities.

To speak from the pharmaceutical perspective we have Dr. Jacob Laporte, Co- Founder and Global Head of The Novartis Biome.

The Novartis Biome was created to combine the deep scientific know-how of Novartis with the more disruptive technological world to develop and scale digital solutions that would generate positive impact for patients. It is essentially a network of partnerships, an ecosystem, where the goal for Novartis is to provide the resources and environment for digital innovators to thrive.

On the panel representing Bayer is Dominick Kennerson, Global Head of GA4 Digital Health. GA4 is an accelerator where Bayer partners with healthcare start-ups to drive innovation in the healthcare space. Again, with the goal of combining Bayer’s decade-long experience in life sciences with more disruptive technologically driven start-ups and companies.

Speaking from the Start up perspective of their experiences embedded in digital ecosystems and partnerships with large corporations, we have Farina Schurzfeld, Co-founder of Selfapy and Jonas A. Hjortshoj, Chief Commercial Officer of Liva Healthcare.

Selfapy is a German start up that offers a digital therapy support tool in the form of digitally delivered programmes on prescription for people suffering from depression or anxiety. 

Liva Healthcare is a Danish start up that provides digitalized personalized health and lifestyle coaching to prevent and overcome obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

We look forward to seeing you at this session on May 18th at 11:30 am CET for what will no doubt be a very interesting and informative discussion.

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