Illustration credit: A.E. Kieren
When Guiga describes AstraZeneca's vision of innovation and the role his team plays in attempting to realize it, he sounds as much like a mechanic as he does a transformation guru. “We don't support ideas just because they're new and shiny,” he says. “We always pressure-test the objectives for a project before going to implementation mode.”
Perhaps that's why solutions developed by Guiga's AZ team tend to have such an outsize impact. Recent successes include an EMR-driven clinical decision alert program, which helps physicians identify asthma, COPD and diabetes patients in need of immediate intervention.
AZ's innovation team differs from comparable units at other companies in several ways, notably its collective lack of ego. “We understood that AstraZeneca could not do everything ourselves,” Guiga says about his group's origin. “We were eager to find new ways to capitalize on the trend toward open innovation that we were seeing from young companies that also have a vision for better healthcare. Dedicating a team of people to innovate from the outside in is why my team was created.”