September / October 2021

Women in Pharma® Editorial: Adapting Technology & Culture to Emerging Technologies

Vivien E. Santillan
Women in Pharma® Editorial: Adapting Technology & Culture to Emerging Technologies

Innovation is generally associated with driving business outcomes and processes, adapting to technology, and developing creative management approaches. In the pharmaceutical industry, innovation takes on a more extensive and specific meaning. It is acknowledged to be continuous as it involves dynamic thinking on how to integrate technology into drug development, manufacturing processes, and business operations. It is also deemed critical as it must address the emerging needs of patients while maintaining product quality, efficacy, and safety.

With present-day circumstances and the pandemic affecting almost all sectors of society, the role of innovation in the pharmaceutical industry continues to be at the forefront of industry consideration. Advanced therapeutics medicinal products (ATMPs) and cell and gene therapy are technologies being developed and are the ways forward for most companies. Innovative and emerging technologies include big data and analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR), internet of things (IoT), blockchain, machine learning, and 3D printing for personalized medicines. These technologies are also gaining traction to benefit not only the pharmaceutical industry, but society in general.

Technology and Innovation

The use of technology is an enabler for innovation. Scalable technology consistently demonstrates a trend toward innovation to improve and complement existing processes. Acknowledge that the current ways of doing things might no longer be as effective and improvements are necessary to pave the way for innovation through the use, adaptation, and/or diffusion of relevant technologies.

Adapting technology and innovation requires strategic, organizational, and managerial decisions as well as investment in people and other resources. What could be current or mature for industrialized countries may not be so in emerging countries. An environment that promotes a culture of innovation encourages opportunities for continuous improvement and supports creative thinking for processes, products, and services development and enhancement. Thus, technology must not only be exploited for progressive purposes but also must be assimilated or integrated with an organization’s culture and identity. Consequently, outputs and expectations will be achieved.

Culture Change

How are innovation and technologies accepted by the rest of the world? How does one’s culture, whether organizational or personal, affect the decision to adapt technology? Why does it take some time for some countries to innovate and implement technology? What is the impact of culture in technological innovation and adaptation?

The Women in Pharma® Mentor Circles initiated a collaboration with ISPE Affiliates through a quarterly webinar entitled “Emerging Technology for Upcoming Countries.” The purpose is to discuss topics on technologies and innovation that emerging and upcoming countries have not yet adopted as well as related challenges, opportunities, and implementation. The novelty of this webinar series is the focus on how technologies are adapted with respect to culture and behavior. The webinars allow group discussions on how to position organizations for the future of life sciences. Every innovation and technological strategy needs highly talented, skilled, and motivated personnel. The series will provide ISPE Emerging Leaders and students the opportunity to learn and prepare themselves for emerging technologies. Pharmaceutical management will be able to identify skills gaps and strategize their organizations’ innovation approach.

In cooperation with the ISPE India Affiliate, the mentor circle program was launched 28 June with participation from the Brazil Affiliate, Mexico AffiliateEurasia Affiliate, Malaysia Affiliate, Indonesia Affiliate, Singapore Affiliate, Australasia Affiliate, Japan Affiliate, Philippines Affiliate, and Thailand Affiliate. The new Women in Pharma® Mentor Circle program initiative schedules will be posted on the Women in Pharma® page on the ISPE website and in The Bridge newsletter. Join us and share your experiences, expertise, and opinions on emerging technologies for emerging and upcoming countries.