For the last newsletter, I received feedback that warmed my heart: "You offered me a 15 mins time to think" ❤️. Thank you. I hope this edition will also provide you with a "Time to Think" about the complex topic of the ecosystem mental model.
Many of us are transitioning from a product-centric to a customer-centric mindset, embracing the transformative notion of "customer centricity". That's a great step, but it's not the final destination.
The real challenge, and opportunity, lies in adopting an ecosystem mindset, especially in healthcare. In this edition, we'll explore why adopting an ecosystem mental model is essential (and no, it's not "just" a buzzword, I promise 🙏), and how we can effectively cultivate this mindset. Let's dive in!
Alvin Toffler, futurist and philosopher
Get comfortable for your 5 minutes time to think.
✏ Healthcare - The Evolving Landscape
The rise in complexity.
We're no longer launching "just" drugs; we're introducing disease management offerings, gene therapies, cancer vaccines, digital health interventions, and preventive algorithms. We're not just launching a product; we're launching complex systems of care (for me this is way more fun topics to work on 😆).
Digital health is shaking things up.
With digital, it's all about data exchange and connectivity. We see pharmaceutical companies changing, wishing to become also a data and IT companies, using digital technology to deliver better care to patients and providers.
New and diverse players.
Today, we must navigate an ecosystem teeming with diverse players, from tech giants like Microsoft and Google, to startups and technology firms like Siemens.
Moreover, the playground is expanding.
Every business will be a health business. We're witnessing healthcare expanding across diverse sectors. Just to name a few: healthcare intersects with fintech through new insurance models that cover high-cost treatments and microcredit in low-income countries. Similarly, healthcare meets mobility through drone deliveries and mobile care.
Isn't healthcare the most "fun" place to work in this century🥇 ? However, to succeed, we need fresh mindsets and methods.
✏ What is an ecosystem mental model
Mental models are lenses we use to understand the world.
This lens will guide our shift from a product or customer-centric mindset to an ecosystem-centric one. It's about transitioning from success driven by superior product design and functionality, to success arising from sustainable business models. These models bring diverse stakeholders together in mutually beneficial ways.
This shift is where the Business Model Approach steps in. Think of it as a key tool to build our new mental model focused on the ecosystem. And this more crucial in healthcare than in any other domain.
✏ Misconception about business model approach
Many individuals I coach often misunderstand the term "business model". They tend to confuse revenue streams (which is about "how I will make money") with the concept of a business model (which tends to make me look like that 😡).
So, let's go back to the basics.
In "The Innovator's Dilemma", Clayton Christensen defines the business model as follows:
"Business model innovation is the discovery of a new way of creating, delivering, and capturing value. This is done by simultaneously changing both an organization's value proposition to customers (WHAT we deliver to WHOM) and its underlying operating model (HOW we deliver – so it's about people and organization)."
✏ Benefits of a BM approach
If you embrace a systematic business model approach, you'll effectively develop your ecosystem-centric mental model. Here are three key benefits I've noticed in all the teams I coach:
1- Capability Building for Digital Health:
A business model approach helps create new organizational capabilities for developing digital solutions. I'd argue this is THE skill you need to master to succeed in this arena. It can be easily combined with well-established methods such as design thinking, agile, and scrum practices.
Here is an example how you could design channel partnership with a business model approach. I love the way it represents the 5 P's : payers, providers, patients, pharmacies and Pharma companies.
2 -Creating Tomorrow's Leaders with the Right Mindset
When you master Business Model Approach (BMA), you learn to concentrate on partnerships as the means to create, deliver or capture the value of your new offerings. You cultivate a "customer-first, partnership-led" mindset.
3 - Enabling Partnership Innovation
BMA facilitates partnerships and open innovation by using a common language and structure. This enables you to communicate more effectively with partners and identify new opportunities for collaboration, while avoiding the use of company-specific jargon.
So what are the concrete small steps you can start today to build a ecosystem mental model ? You need to systematically take a business model approach: find a map, get fresh air and build your skills with layers.
✏ Find you map : the 3 C business model canvas
Naturally 😊, I'll suggest a visual tool : the Business Model Canvas (BMC). This essential framework, created by Alex Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur, has become a cornerstone for innovation management. I had the privilege of being coached by Alex for 3 years in my last corporate role as Head of Access Innovation. Back in 2015, I didn't realize who he was or how significant his work was in the field of innovation management - let's keep that between us 🤫.
Since 2015, I've modified the BMC to accommodate the complexities and scarcities in healthcare, integrating a decade's worth of my own knowledge about access and pricing. This led to the creation of the "3C BMC," which compels you to consider three key perspectives during the design phase:
- Customer 1, the end-users: these could be a surgeon, a patient, or a hospital CEO.
- Customer 2, the influencers: bodies like the FDA or EMA, or reimbursement authorities.
- Customer 3, the budget holders: these could be private insurance, patients paying out-of-pocket, hospitals, or national systems.
Each of these 'customers' plays a unique role in the healthcare ecosystem, and this canvas helps you to map out and understand their individual needs and values.
✏ Get fresh air : join innovation challenges
To get in shape, you go to the gym (at least you try, like me 😅)
To build your Business Model Approach and ecosystem mental model, you need to go out of your office and meet other players! If in your mind pop up thoughts like "I don't have time," because you're busy delivering projects or creating reports for senior leaders, you are like I used to be. That was how I prioritized my time when I was an employee.
It might be fine in the short term, but it's detrimental to your career in the long run. (I might be a bit harsh here, but it's true 🙏)
For instance, hackathons are an excellent opportunity to collaborate with diverse and interdisciplinary teams of experts, practitioners, and patients. This week, I served as a jury member for the DayOne Health Hack, focusing on the future of data. I loved witnessing how team members handled diverse perspectives (like a patient vs an AI algorithm developer, or a general practitioner vs a technical platform provider).
✏ The 3 Layers to grow an ecosystem mental model
Here's my perspective on the essential concentric layers you need to master for business model approach.
1 Central circle in pink : Healthcare product and service design (WHAT for WHOM). Here you could think of methods like Lean Startup, Design Thinking.
2 Middle part in blue : People and team (HOW at the team level). Here I like to use scrum and agile.
3 Outer circle with orange: Business model approach (HOW at organisational levels): the biggest and more complexe part, the intersection of your company with all the others players/partners.
This is it for today!
Let me know how you develop your new ecosystem mental model "customer first, partnership led".
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See you in two weeks. Keep the spark alive, and be intentional :)