When Social Intelligence and Healthcare Came Together

Posted by: in Analytics, Communication, Global Healthcare, Healthcare Insights, Insights, Social Media Insights & Trends, Thought Leadership on October 8, 2014

Bayer’s new Chief Digital Officer Jessica Federer captured everyones’ attention at today’s W2O Group Social Intelligence Summit London as she talked about the origins of social intelligence and how Pharma needs to adapt to fully embrace the promise it brings to the industry.

The origins of social intelligence

Social intelligence, Jessica told us, started in 1854, just across the bridge from today’s venue – London City Hall. Cholera was spreading and within 10 days, 500 people died – no one could figure out why. Local Londoner Dr John Snow decided to look at things a little differently. Snow mapped the deaths on a map of London and found they had one thing in common – location. The neighbours all got their water from the same source – the Broad Street Pump. After writing to the local council, the pump was replaced and the cholera epidemic stopped. Geo-mapping data had been used to find the source of the epidemic and ultimately end it.

Bayer has a similar story of using social intelligence before ‘social’ existed; in 1863, Friedrich Bayer started a synthetic dye factory which slowly expanded into chemicals, material science, crop science and healthcare. Bayer quickly became successful through mapping data and using it to predict demand as well as growth opportunities. But 150 years later there is a new challenge: with such a large, global business operating in so many different divisions, how does Bayer integrate these maps and use them to make intelligent decisions that ultimately help patients?

Across Bayer, social media is managed by different divisions, managers and teams and so how can the value of each of those be brought together? “Like every other big company, we’re just getting started” Federer explains. But interestingly, Bayer has a strategy mapped to their core business – science. They’re doing it as they always do it, that’s the most important aspect says Federer – an open, honest approach of sharing, just like the scientists in the labs.

“Watch this space”


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