29th July, 2019

Clinical Thought Leaders have feelings too

The Pharma industry works with Clinical Thought Leaders to understand remaining unmet needs, analyse data, and design and develop new drugs and new clinical trials.

Their first-hand experience and wealth of knowledge is vital to drug development.

However, we believe they also have the potential to uncover a host of emotional insight about treating a particular condition and the hurdles and challenges to achieving the best possible outcomes for patients.

In addition to their expertise in rational and data driven thinking, we’ve found that, presented with a real challenge in the right environment, they are amazingly able to channel their knowledge to create new, emotional insights.

Here’s how.

First, explain the theory, why are insights important?

  • We know that people do not change what they do, unless they change what they think, feel or believe, hence, there is a reason we need to understand their feelings.

Then focus on a challenge that resonates with their experience

  • For this audience more than any other you need to define the challenge that insight will overcome.

Is it about the right diagnosis, sub-optimal treatment, getting the right market access? It must be a challenge that they can relate to. The more difficult and long-standing the challenge, the more interest they are likely to have in finding solutions.

Create the right environment

Uncovering emotional insights is more of an art than a science but here are a few ways we think you can create the right environment:

  • Be “up-front” and honest that there are no right answers, everyone’s view counts;
  • Multiple perspectives help deliver richness, encourage questioning of yourself and each other;
  • Hypotheses generate creativity, point out that use of language when sharing ideas is important for example “Could it be that” encourages debate, whereas, “I think” can close conversation down;
  • Ensure it isn’t a round table discussion, keep the slides to a minimum, and get the team up and working as quickly as possible;
  • Provide stimulus that reinforces the challenge, through quotes and market research, allow them the opportunity to add their observations, what have they seen that might explain the behaviours;
  • Use creative ways to capture the results e.g. illustrators or making models;
  • Create small teams (5-6 people) to work together. More than one team can work on the same challenge;
  • Ask for ideas to be described in the words of the person whose behaviour should change, e.g. I don’t have the confidence to challenge my specialist;
  • Capture everyone’s thoughts and prioritise later.

Finally, make sure you are prepared to do something with the results and provide feedback

  • Having put time and energy into uncovering insights, make sure there is time to start to develop solution ideas, though leaders love solving complex problems.
  • You probably won’t be able to take all the solutions forward, and people understand that, however, sharing what you will be doing and getting volunteers who have a passion for a particular subject to work with you are both great steps.

If you have some challenging problems and would like help to work with your Thought Leaders to get to the real issues, please get in touch.

Written by

Mary Deboos

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