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Pfizer Case Study



Pfizer faced several internal and external barriers to finding new winning strategies for drug commercialization. The internal barriers included sales and marketing teams that were risk averse and tethered to a traditional sales model. The external barriers included a shrinking drug pipeline, disruptive digital innovations in the marketplace and cost-containment measures by the pharmaceutical industry.

Our challenge was to create a learning journey that would help these leaders and their teams shift from a culture of risk aversion to a culture of disciplined innovation, thereby overcoming these internal and external barriers.


By working closely with the Pfizer team leaders, we created a new program called Disciplined Innovation and delivered it through in-person workshops.


The impact of our solution was lauded by the CEO of Pfizer after having witnessed a major cultural transformation in the teams based in Europe. On the CEO’s recommendation, our program was institutionalized, scaled up and rolled out across all major global markets. IPL's collaboration with Pfizer on Disciplined Innovation won Pfizer's Corporate Innovation Award.

The learning journey helped Pfizer leaders and their teams to:

  • Constantly test new ideas and “fast-fail”
  • Distinguish between “smart” failures and “unproductive” failures
  • Develop flexible responses to multiple scenarios
  • Reduce downside risk for investments in new initiatives
  • Develop deep reserves for organizational learning
  • Shift from “limiting” mindsets to “empowered” mindsets
  • 3+ years
    of Pfizer-IPL partnership
    participants learned new innovation tools
    and introduced them into their projects