Levy's followers have come to expect her ability to spot industry zigs while most others see zags. So when she goes against the grain with her opinion that pharma companies are doing just fine in the digital space, people listen. "It hasn't been easy," she says of Big Pharma's transition into the digital era. "But there is a knowledge base and many strong digital users in many companies. They know what they're doing." She thinks they'll get better: "Macro pressures are pushing the leaders of these companies to think about commercial innovation. There's profound potential for disruption."
Levy currently finds herself in the middle of new research demonstrating just how resilient the heads of those digital teams are. "Even working within constrained environments, they know how to influence others, to stay the course, to work with very sophisticated multidimensional groups," she reports. "Many times, it is these leadership skills, rather than things like limited budgets or pressure to produce a return on investment, that predict success. —Sarah Mahoney