DigiPharm Europe 2011 was characterised by an upbeat, diverse but above all human selection of presentations.
The companies and thought leaders that participated demonstrated that there is no short-cut to social, and that it is those enterprises that have already committed themselves to answering the call of the social turn in business that are continuing to deliver the most interesting and engaging work.
A clearly-defined hierarchy of competency has now been established within the industry which is not going to be re-ordered in the forseeable future.
Because progress within social environments cannot be bought: it must be earned through connection and endeavour, which will be characterised by failure as well as success. The business that emerges will have been tempered by the flames through which it has passed, and not only hardened thereby but also made more useful.
Pharma’s social leaders will continue to lead as they expand and augment their activites. They will have been given confidence by their growing competence and the broadening of their skills as the vanguard supports colleagues across the business. As a consequence, they will feel empowered and afforded greater liberty to undertake bolder experiments by a senior management assuaged by the attention previous successes have attracted.
Those companies that continue to drag their heels or worse still delay their entry into social environments have already damaged the future prospects of their business through their tardiness. That they should persist in trying to find reasons to justify the indefensible would now be tantamount to a given pharma company wilfully placing obstacles to its success in its path by its own hand. This is not only counter-intuitive, but also sends a very poor message about a company’s strategic competency, cultural perspicacity and self-awareness to healthcare professionals, providers, patients and investors alike.
Here are some of the presentations that I enjoyed most from the other side of the presenter’s podium:
Alex Butler, who has recently announced his departure from Johnson & Johnson to start his own agency, presented a compelling account of the benefits that sharing, co-operation and collective action can confer upon the industry:
Silja Chouquet delivered an impassioned appeal for the industry to commit itself to investing as much humanity as possible into each of the connections it creates. This was not mere rhetoric of course, and was supported by some of her trademark, high-quality bespoke analysis. Silja is pictured in full flow below:
Andrew Widger gave a excellent account of how Pfizer’s understanding of social environments is evolving:
He went on to offer examples of how the company is collaborating with regional partners in different geographies in order to support its campaigns most effectively:
Perhaps the highlight of the entire conference for me was Nick Broughton‘s peerless exposition of ‘the witless tragedy that is compliance without ethics’, which he expands on in this blog post with a link to the full presentation:
Len Starnes offered a comprehensive update to his leading curation and analysis of healthcare professional networks and their significance for healthcare marketing strategies:
In summary, DigiPharm allowed those pharma companies that are already participating in the social web to share what they have achieved in the preceding months, and to showcase what they have planned for the year ahead.
In the interim, those companies that continue to seek out reasons not to set out on their own unavoidable journies are left to gauge how much further they have fallen behind.