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Five healthcare trends and five pieces of advice to help you find the next best-selling consumer healthcare product

Launching new products takes energy, tenacity, focus and bloody-mindedness (don’t underestimate the bloody-mindedness). In the healthcare market, this has never been truer.

With the advent of machine learning, artificial intelligence, robotic assistance, augmented guidance and real-term reductions in funding for services, new commercial models are being developed to force ‘health’ providers into being businesses, in a way they haven’t needed to be for decades.    

Here are five emerging trends to consider:

  1. In 2019, there is a global shortage of over 10,000 doctors.
  2. Access to databases recorded from millions of symptom presentations creates a consumer resource never seen before.
  3. Technology may help doctors see more patients, but it also puts more health decisions into the hands of consumers.
  4. Insurance providers are asking consumers to take preventative measures to avoid financial penalty.
  5. 365/24/7 health monitoring will augment genomic profiling, provide us all with our genetic predispositions, and tell us how well we individually mitigate the risks of disease through our lifestyle and nutritional habits.

Innovation is not a complex process, but it does require regular attention. How to start? Bear this in mind:

  1. Unanticipated consequences abound – it’s up to you to be alert.
  2. To maintain a view of trends, you must not only look in the usual places, but also in some unusual ones.
  3. Unless you develop a 360-degree view of your market, danger lurks. The UK hat industry is a good example. After decades of successful production, the entire industry failed, largely due to agricultural policy promoting cash crops like oil seed rape, and reducing support for grass crops like those that provided straw for hats. Could something similar happen to you? Would you see it coming?
  4. When you start to look for new insight, things take on a different complexion. You’ll notice that we talk about ‘consumers’ of healthcare instead of patients. This is deliberate. Every market is best viewed through the lens of consumers or end-users. ‘Patients’ may be technically correct but, in the end, we are just consumers looking for a solution to a problem.
  5. By taking a step outside your own business environment, you revert to being a naïve consumer, and this is where we all see market need differently.

Take innovation one step at a time: the secret to successful innovation lies in the risk you assign to a project. Framing an innovation objective requires thoughtful planning to ensure it lands with your team in the way it needs to.

  • Tell your team you’re going to Mars and the job will seem unachievable.

  • Tell them you’re building a rocket, and they will struggle (unless you already build rockets).

  • Ask for a door that might fit a rocket, and they’ll come up with it in no time at all.

Develop good habits. Take time, every day or every week, to examine your surrounding competitors, customers and prospects. Critically, record what they are doing.

Lots of templates exist to help with this. A good place to start is with the room44 Business Model Canvas (BMC). This template provides a safe place to test business models. In working through ideas you naturally find yourself asking questions that may be tough to answer. This is where you can focus your search for trends.

Filling in some of the blanks in your landscape will make your assessment of what might sell, and what will meet resistance, much easier.

Finally, do all of these things publicly.

Being obvious about your level of activity sends messages to everybody. Your teams will latch on to the idea and begin copying your new inquisitive ways. Suppliers will start to see opportunities and bring ideas to you. Customers will see you as progressive and enquire about new products.

All it takes is energy, tenacity, focus and (let’s not forget) bloody-mindedness.

To see how room44 has used insight to re-shape business strategies, click here or sign up to our free weekly newsletter for comment on all areas of innovation and product strategy.

room44 specialises in helping clients put together their future-proofed, innovation-based roadmap.

You can start today.

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