Digital Innovation: Transforming the Future of Healthcare

A keynote speaker from a global electronics, healthcare and lighting giant, Prado is in charge of the Digital Accelerator at Royal Philips. From their headquarters in the Netherlands, he talks to us about his plans for creating the next generation of digital propositions across various platforms to deliver superior value and new business model opportunities.
Published on: 7th January 2016
Described  as  a  diversified  technology  company,  focused  on improving  people’s  lives  through  meaningful  innovation  in  the areas  of  Healthcare,  Consumer  Lifestyle  and  Lighting,  Royal Philips  is  a  leader  in  cardiac  care,  acute  care  and  home healthcare, energy-efficient lighting solutions and new lighting applications, as well as male shaving and grooming and oral healthcare.

Together with 20+ International speakers Alberto Prado, Vice President, Head of Digital Accelerator, Royal Philips, Netherlands, will join the 2 nd  annual Global Digital Leaders 2016 summit in May 2016 where he will give a keynote presentation on Transforming the Future of Healthcare, as well as partake in an Executive Panel Discussion on How to Anticipate and Manage Digital Disruptions.
Alberto Prado
How would you define a successful digital strategy?

It is not about having a digital strategy, but rather a company strategy for the digital age. Digital  is  not  something  you  do  on  top  of  everything  else  but  rather  an  agent  which
fundamentally  transforms  the  way  you  should  engage  with  customers,  ecosystem partners and suppliers; how you as a business create new value and how you monetise it. As such, it requires first and foremost a clear vision of what the company wants to become – it is less about reinventing yourself and more about how digital allows you to achieve your company’s mission in a radically different and more effective way.

“…companies  need  to  embrace  change  and  become  more  fluid  in their  organisational  and  decision-making  models  as  the  need  for change will be constant – the clock speed of innovation has changed forever.”

If having a successful digital strategy is challenging, executing it is no less demanding as this will often require a complete redesign of capabilities, tools and processes. This is why the digital transformation journey requires strong endorsement from the company leadership team and a clearly articulated plan, with associated milestones and KPIs, on how to best execute this transformation - each company needs to figure out the pace of change  they  are  able  to  sustain  without  disengaging  people  or  jeopardizing  existing revenue streams. Digital is not a destination but rather a journey. A core element for companies aiming to compete effectively along this journey is to become a fast learning and adaptive organisation. The environment in which companies are asked to innovate has  become  volatile  and  uncertain  -  the  ability  for  companies  to  successfully  instil  a culture of experimentation, speed and adaptation is fundamental to succeed.

In that sense, even strategy-making has fundamentally changed in the Digital Age. When the state of flux is constant, spending too long figuring out a strategy is pointless and can  derive  into  “tunnel  vision”.  It  will  be  often  more  effective  to  let  initial  strategic thinking define a high level plan, start walking as early as possible and pivot your way through the journey.

What does it take for companies to innovate in the Digital Age?

First of all companies need to have a vision for how digital impacts their ability to create and  deliver  value.  Typically,  for  companies  rooted  in  hardware  innovation,  software allows  to  create  service  value  with  high  levels  of  personalization  and  therefore relevance.  It  provides  companies  with  an  opportunity  to  move  from  transactional business models to ones characterised by ongoing relationship with customers; enabled by connectivity, data and mobile. It allows them to collaborate with other companies and build ecosystems to create value propositions that are richer and more meaningful than ever before.

In order to take advantage of digital technologies to achieve this, there are a few basic fundamentals  that  need  to  be  in  place.  Firstly,  there  needs  to  be  a  strong  software innovation capability in place as much of the new value will be fuelled by software and data. Secondly, innovation methodologies, processes and culture need to be conducive to experimentation and co-creation – applying concepts such as lean start up and design thinking. Thirdly, the  way  to  measure  value  and  returns  from  innovation  investments will radically change as customer engagement and monetization models evolve. Finally, companies need to embrace change and become more fluid in their organisational and decision-making models as the need for change will be constant  – the clock speed of innovation has changed forever.

How are digital technologies impacting industries, and in particular Healthcare?

All  industries  without  exception  are  subject  to  disruption  and,  even  though  the  pace may change slightly between different verticals, it is inevitable. The cost economics and pervasiveness  of  software,  linked  with  the  affordability  of  connectivity,  processing power and storage are giving way to new and disruptive business models.

Healthcare  is  one  of  those  industries  which  is  at  the  verge  of  disruption.  With  world population  increasing  and  aging  faster  than  ever  before  and  the  number  of  lifestyle-induced  diseases  growing  at  unprecedented  speed,  healthcare  systems  need  to fundamentally  transform  their  care  delivery  models.  Chronic  diseases  kill  38  million people  each  year  according  to  the  World  Health  Organization  –  the  top  four  “killers” being cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, and respiratory diseases. Yet healthcare systems  today  continue  to  be  reactive,  treating  illness  rather  than  prolonging  health, fragmented and disconnected. Without radical solutions, global healthcare systems will be stretched to breaking point before the end of this decade. In  addition  to  this,  the  transition  from  volume-based  to  value-based  healthcare  will impact significantly the needs of hospitals across the entire clinical pathway: from early diagnosis, clinical decision making, patient engagement and personalized therapies. The need to improve clinical outcomes, whilst at the same time reducing overall costs, will drive  innovation  needs  in  the  industry  during  the  next  2-3  years.  And  most  of  this innovation will be driven by software, analytics and service oriented business models.


Alberto leads the Digital Accelerator at Royal Philips. He is responsible for creating the next  generation  of  digital  propositions  across  healthcare  and  consumer  domains  to deliver  superior  value  and  new  business  model  opportunities  by  leveraging  data, connectivity  and  mobile  technologies.  Alberto  started  his  professional  career  as  a management  consultant,  after  which  he  joined  NEC  Europe  to  drive  Strategy  and Product Planning of their mobile handset division. Later he joined Symbian Software as Vice President responsible for the product strategy, investment allocation and roadmap of the market-leading mobile OS of the time. After the acquisition of Symbian by Nokia, Alberto  was  involved  in  setting  up  the  Symbian  Foundation  and  subsequently  joined Nokia as Head of R&D strategy.

Alberto  graduated  in  Engineering  and  Economics  at  the  Karlsruhe  Institute  of Technology (Germany) and holds an MBA from INSEAD (France). He is a regular speaker at industry events and media.
On a scale of 1-10, how inspiring did you find this article?