In a world before COVID, even industries with high barriers for entry faced the start-up revolution; the finance industry with the fintechs is a clear example. With the creation of the Digital Office, Almirall took a bold step to ensure that we were not only ready for future challenges but on the crest of the wave. It was clear that I wanted to be part of this revolution and then the opportunity to be part of the Digital Garden as a core mentor arrived.
The Digital Garden is a door to innovation for Almirall. I believe this change in the healthcare paradigm can only happen if start-up innovation goes hand in hand with the extensive experience of the Pharma Industry. With this combination of entrepreneurship and experience, the Digital Garden start-ups and Almirall are growing together to potentially bring disruptive new concepts to the market. After my 9 months experience as a mentor, I believe there are three key pillars of success for the accelerator: our Chief Digital Officer, Francesca Wuttke, bringing her extensive experience, expertise, vision and connections; a fully dedicated team; and the mentor role.
I had the pleasure to be a mentor to Intrepid Analytics, who released Ancora.ai, a patient-facing app that leverages NLP to allow patients to directly access information about trials. The mentor goes hand in hand with the start-up up during a nine month program. At the start of the program the start-up is at the early stages of development and together with the mentor the next steps are defined and guidance is given. I believe that deep knowledge of the industry is essential for success as the mentor is not only providing his/her guidance, but also and especially the mentor acts as the link between the start-up and internal expertise. What made a real difference was that the Almirall team was eager to be part of the program, collaborate and share expertise. In the case of Intrepid Analytics, we were able to put the team in contact with our experts from Legal, Intellectual Property, Global Marketing and Clinical Development. In addition, we ran a workshop with the Spanish affiliate who leveraged their long term relationships with Spanish key external experts to help Intrepid Analytics with their Spanish go-to-market strategy.
I cannot forget the lockdown in this post. Personally, one of the most remarkable things from Intrepid Analytics was that while we were trying to manage things at home, in a worldwide crisis, they turned the situation into an opportunity. Their main focus at that time was oncology but they managed to include COVID in their clinical trial search tool. This had a huge impact in their visibility and communication plan, and came with perfect timing, as they launched Ancora.ai in March 30th. The takeaway messages for me was that all challenges can be turned into opportunities and that agility is essential. Passion should lead your day to day.
Overall, this first Digital Garden wave has brought a new way of seeing and doing things, innovation and the feeling that things can be done differently. I am proud to be a first generation mentor, contributing to a change in Almirall’s culture. Being a Digital Garden mentor (or a gardener like Mo would say) is not over for me and I am glad to continue contributing to the next “harvest”, sharing learnings with the team to ensure we continually improve. I look forward all the good things the second harvest will bring!
Inés Font, Global Market Insights Lead