Pharma: It’s All About a People-Driven Economy, Stupid!

All summer, I’ve been watching a nearby farm’s crop of sunflowers grow and reach for the sun…In taking some pictures this weekend, I couldn’t help but notice all the bees busy pollinating these sunflowers. Interesting, it is estimated that one third of the human food supply depends on insect pollination, most of which is accomplished by bees, especially the domesticated European honey bee. (Wikipedia) How does this relate to Pharma and Social Media Networks?

Bees may be solitary or may live in various types of communities. The most advanced of these are eusocial colonies found among the honey bees, bumblebees, and stingless bees.

Eusociality (Greek eu: “good/real” + “social”) is a term used for the highest level of social organization in a hierarchical classification.

  1. Reproductive division of labor (with or without sterile castes)
  2. Overlapping generations
  3. Cooperative care of young

So where do we humans fit in? How social are we really? Is Social Media a close cousin of Eusociality?

1.       Division of Labor:  Social Media pundits often say that social media actually helps us to be more efficient by reducing overlap of work and creating more effective division of labor… “Social media is not a waste of time; it actually makes people more productive. We no longer look for the news or things of interest-they find us,”  says Erik Qualman in his new book Socialnomics.  How many patients prefer to learn from each other? Trust advice from friends, family and other patients?  How much time does this save each new patient or their family?

2.       Overlapping generations:  Chris Anderson’s groundbreaking book, The Long Tail,  describes the ability of the Internet and Social Media to easily and effectively service small interest groups…to reach and impact people with common interests (and overlapping generations) vs. the traditional demographic targeting of mass media.  Even without the Internet, overlapping generations has existed for centuries in social communities, bonding common interests passed down by word of mouth…When sickness takes us, we share a common bond with others–having less to do with age and more to do with common medical experience and learning potential of patient and/or family caregiver…

3.       Cooperative care of young: I’m a huge believer in the common African proverb:  “It takes a community/village to raise a child”…or to raise a new generation of marketers and community builders? Social Media is all about original content, learning and sharing what we learn from others and staying in touch with the people that we trust and can help us care for ourselves and our families…How does social media help you care for others?

So, if insect pollination accounts for 1/3 of our food supply, how much do we think social media connections accounts for in our economy?

According to Erik Qualman’s Socialnomics: it’s no longer about the economy stupid…

It’s all about a people-driven economy, stupid…

Pharma continues to take ‘baby steps’ into the world of social media–What are Pharma’s next big steps to get closer to a people-driven economy?  Sounds to me like social media is only part of the answer.  Pharma must also include a move to greater, genuine patient-centered marketing…putting the needs of the consumer and their family at the center of decisions throughout clinical development and commercialization, and encouraging greater dialog and shared responsibility between the doctor and their patient…

Any thoughts?