Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Beyond pills, potions and lotions – the story of what GSK does next

New Digital Age has proudly partnered with the AAR for the launch of its Fightback podcast.

Robin Charney is director of digital and innovation at AAR, and host of the Fightback podcast.

It’s a lot more comfortable to disrupt yourself than to have someone do it to you.

That’s the view of Nick Tate, Head of Next at health and wellbeing giant GSK, in this week’s funny, frank and forward-looking edition of Fightback. Fightback isn’t your standard innovation podcast — there’s no entrepreneurs or start-ups here. Instead I talk to the people doing the hardest job in innovation; reinventing heritage brands from the inside.

Nick’s role at GSK is to create new businesses that augment GSK’s existing operations or move into adjacent areas, while adding incremental value. He sees disruption coming from everywhere; from insurance companies, start-ups, functional food businesses and the tech giants.

And it’s not just about disruption of the healthcare business — customers are being disrupted too. As Nick points out, everyone now is competing “at the speed of Prime”, because Amazon is setting expectations of what a good customer experience looks like for every sector.

There are a number of other fascinating themes running through my Fightback conversation with Nick. One is his view that big corporates have a responsibility to use their scale and resources to make a significant dent in the world (in a good way).

For GSK, that means not just in its mission “to help people do more, feel better, live longer”, but in the way it works with partners, asking what it can do to help them, rather than just looking for what it can take.

Another key theme is data. Nick’s insistent that the most important thing in innovation is to get results fast. That way you’ve got data to talk about, and if you’re trying to get people to work in new ways, at a faster pace than they’re used to, doing things they’ve been told for years they can’t, then data is the most persuasive tool you’ve got.

If you’re thinking about innovation, check out all Nick’s insights in the podcast. I think it’ll get your pulse racing.

Listen to the podcast here: