From IT girl to Digital Health
It’s been a while since I wrote this blog entry. Back then, I had just progressed from my internship to the “grown-up world” and joined Bayer as an Innovation Associate. Now, I am coming up to my 4th anniversary at Bayer and thought I’d give a quick update on everything that has happened in that time. As I have started saying – there’s never a dull moment at Bayer.
A year and a half into my IT Innovation role, I joined our U.S.-based team as a Program Coordinator. Based out of Whippany, NJ (let’s call it Greater NYC), I was working on implementing and launching our first Consumer Health Startup Accelerator Program. Part of our global G4A programs, we adapted it to the organizational needs of Consumer Health in the United States and worked with the commercial teams to define the challenge areas that they were looking to find suitable partners for. A lot of my job revolved around communication and marketing activities, as the program was just as new to our U.S. organization there as it was to the East Coast itself. After a few months, we were open for applications and spent a lot of time going through each and every one (430+!!!) to pick the finalists. After almost 10 months, my short-term assignment came to an end. It was time to return home.
With just a six-week stopover back in Leverkusen, I joined our newly created G4A Ventures team in San Francisco, United States. The team focuses on designing ventures and the first one we worked on was about creating supplements for young professionals. We focused on uncovering unmet needs or desires that we’d then create concept ideas for using human-centered design. It’s all about empathizing with consumers/potential consumers to fully understand frictions they may encounter and tap into that to solve it for them. This means a lot of time is spent working in the field – sitting down with consumers, interviewing them or observing them in their natural surroundings. It’s about understanding their needs beyond existing product offerings. Once you come up with your initial concept ideas, it’s a very iterative process to get it right as you put each iteration back in front of consumers. Human-centered design has already proven useful in a lot of industries and you’ll surely recognize some examples mentioned here.
Design & strategy
After eight months in San Francisco, we had finished our initial phases, so we had identified the one concept we would then incubate all the way to market readiness. This meant it was time for me to move once again. I joined the neighboring team in Berlin, Germany, focusing on Digital Health strategy. This team is the one identifying and quantifying challenge areas based on multiple factors from technology and societal trends to regulatory signals and more. We take a look at patient journeys, too, and make assumptions about unmet medical needs to work out which areas we should work on strategically.
What I love about Bayer is the fact that it is a truly global company. Some 90 percent of my communication is in English, as we have colleagues from different countries and cultures working together to create better lives. In the span of four years, I have had the chance to work out of four different sites and in very diverse fields, which is a real blessing. When I joined Bayer, I had never imagined I’d get all these opportunities, let alone getting to work on so many exciting and future-shaping topics.
For that, I say THANK YOU, Bayer!
This post is also available in: German