Duke CE partnered with a global pharmaceutical company to take its senior executives through a program to explore what is needed to operate in the complexity of multi-speed economies and learn best practices.

Organizational Transformation

Facing increasing R&D costs, tightening worldwide regulation and expanding sales and price controls, this global pharmaceutical company turned to strategic diversification in new markets in order to maintain and enhance its market leadership position.

Transformation for Leaders

This shift in strategic focus brought with it new leadership demands.  Working globally in a matrix-oriented structure to provide a diversified portfolio of products and services in the midst of a changing external context as well as an evolving internal culture meant leaders needed to act in different ways than they had in the past.  With a focus on maintaining global market leadership, leaders now needed to learn how to simultaneously operate across economies of varying “speeds” – emerging, developed, and in-between.  They needed to learn how to be aware of different markets, economies and cultures, innovate, and respond with agility to the dynamic needs of the varying, complex and often new situations that they faced.


To prepare its leaders to become truly “multi-speed”, this company partnered with Duke CE to create a learning experience for its most senior global leaders.  In this highly interactive program, approximately 30 – 35 leaders spent one week in India and one week in the United States, discovering new ways of driving innovation, leading teams and building new business models to drive growth in multi-speed environments.  In India, leaders came face-to-face with a fast-growing emerging market, facing an increase in chronic disease and complex regulations.  In this market, participants experienced frugal innovation and explored culture and diversity in a developing economy to understand the implications of developing economy dynamics on business growth and sustainability.  In the United States, leaders interacted with a very different environment.  They explored a sophisticated healthcare market facing major change due to implementation of the Affordable Care Act to gain a systemic understanding of the strategic and operational opportunities and challenges in this space.

As a key part of the development experience in both India and the USA, leaders engaged in live, in-person visits to a variety of different critical contributors to the global healthcare value chain.  In India, for example, they met with local doctors, pharmacists, patients and hospital administrators to understand firsthand what patients, customers and partners need and care about in an emerging economy.  In the USA, the leaders interacted with hospitals, providers, payers and other key stakeholders who capture the critical components of a developed healthcare system.

The main objective of these visits was to expose the participants to a new awareness about the environments in which they lead and help them think differently about the way they structure and lead their own business models as a result.  The program is designed to help them constantly compare and contrast what they see in India with what they see in the USA – drawing out new insights relevant to leadership in a global, multi-speed landscape.

As a result of the program, key leaders of this company have created actionable impact through the implementation of strategic business initiatives developed throughout their experience.  In addition, new and strengthened relationships across the global leadership team have led to increased efficiency and more aligned operations.  Finally, leaders who have engaged in this experience report an increase in customer focus and ability to influence people at multiple levels in the organization, given the application of new awareness and skills application from the program.