Innovators Should Be Wary of Drugs

Monday, 21 October 2013 06:30
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No tech scouting brief ever directs a scout to only identify technologies that can support specific marketing claims as that would be overly restrictive. However, it can be valuable for R&D (and OI teams, in particular) to be aligned with their Marketing customers on desired marketing claims prior to seeking to identify potential technology options, particularly in highly regulated product categories.

Curious to learn more? Read on, dear friends.

Innovators Should Be Wary of Drugs

Prior knowledge of intended marketing claims can help inform corporate external technology search efforts, particularly when regulatory considerations are factored in. Consider the following example: a few years ago, I spoke with Kraft's Open Innovation VP Steve Goers about a proprietary, high performance cholesterol lowering technology. During our conversation, he explained that products seeking to make health claims must avoid language consistent with a drug. As a result, Kraft (and other food product companies) are careful with their claim language so as to avoid unintentionally inviting regulatory scrutiny. Very often, higher performance (and cost) don't buy a company the ability to make more aggressive marketing claims. So, they may choose to not pursue them.

When Open Innovation managers speak with their Marketing counterparts about their technical needs, they should also seek to elicit the types of performance claims their colleagues wish to make with found technologies. Armed with this information, together they can research any potential restrictions that could limit their ability to make such claims with available technology options. This knowledge can then be applied to frame tighter technology scouting briefs.

To illustrate this point: a client is seeking a fully formulated cellulite reducing formula that employs novel active ingredients. The marketer wants to claim that his product works better owing to its distinctive mode of action. In speaking with his internal regulatory resource he learns that any claim language that cites specific physiological mechanisms of action would likely cause it to be classified as a drug. This discussion causes him to rethink his objectives, including his technology requirements.

OI and Marketing teams should collectively consult with Legal and Regulatory resources earlier in the product development process than most likely do. Knowledge of intent can help inform setting the performance standards for the overall tech search and the subsequent screening effort.

Could your open innovation team benefit from coaching tips to help improve its internal selling effectiveness? Consider giving me a call at 614 937-2408.

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