“What Sanofi is doing is reducing its own internal research capacity,” he said. “The days when we locked all of our scientists up in a building and put them on a nice tree-lined campus are done. We will do less of our own research. We’re not going to get out of research. We believe we do certain things well in research but we want to work with more outside companies, startup biotechs, with universities.”
Chris Viehbacher, CEO of pharmaceutical company Sanofi recently stated that ” … big companies, and not just Big Pharma, big companies I believe, are not any good at doing innovation.” It seems Sanofi is moving to a more networked way of doing business. But to be more innovative, companies must first become open and transparent.
That’s the challenge of the networked organization. Trust only emerges if knowledge is shared and diverse points of view are accepted. People who have been working in silos for decades may not immediately embrace a more diverse and complex networked way of doing business.
Part of working smarter is connecting the work being done with the identification of opportunities for future work. Innovative ideas often come from loosely knit external learning networks. These can later get developed in slightly tighter communities of communities of practice. But in order to capitalize on novel ideas, professionals have to be continuously sharing knowledge in their communities and testing new opinions in more dynamic external networks.
As research becomes more networked, researchers will need to be more collaborative. Social learning, or learning from and with their (distributed) peers, will become more important. New practices will emerge from these new relationships and more innovative tools & processes will have to support this complex work. The role of connecting and communicating what is happening in various widespread groups will become critical. This is the job of a CCO, or some similar role: to manage workforce collaboration.
The three principles of net work remain, in my opinion:
- Narration of Work
- Distribution of Power