Swallowing the Innovator's Rx
By Kevin Bolen, Steve Wunker, Jason Hwang
"When angioplasty was introduced, it captured the imagination of cardiologists and surgeons differently. Surgeons were skeptical about this new procedure. Cardiologists saw this as an incredible opportunity to treat patients with ischemic heart disease."
This comment, made several years ago by the chief of cardiothoracic surgery at a hospital in Miami, summarizes the driving force behind the rapid ascent of angioplasty—and the decline in the number of bypass surgeries. Were we to go back to him today, we'd likely hear a similar story of how statins reduce demand for angioplasty by preventing the buildup of arterial plaque. This series of irrevocable market shifts from one solution model to another (often a cheaper, easier-to-adopt solution) is called "disruptive innovation"—and it will save America from our looming healthcare crisis.
This article provides a brief introduction to the latest thinking in this area, based on the research completed in support of The Innovator's Prescription: A Disruptive Solution for Health Care, a new book by Clayton Christensen, Jerome Grossman, and Jason Hwang. We will also offer suggestions on proven, practical actions pharmaceutical leaders can take to not merely survive the current disruption, but thrive.