Top 10 Pharma.

Innovation process design for biostats division

Case Study

At a glance

Innovation involves focusing on users and customers. And, just as important, it also requires leveraging employee ideas, technological capabilities, and strategic thinking.

Whitespace has been working for a Top 10 Pharma company for years, with a strong emphasis on user experience and software development projects. Recently, our handling of workshops convinced the newly-appointed head of business and technical innovation to hire our team to help set up their innovation practice and processes.


Top 10 Pharma


Health & Life Sciences


Employee Experience Workshop


Innovation management

Process design

User interviews

Workshop design

Workshop facilitation

Design Sprint

UX design


Usability testing





The love of ideas and problems

Our team was requested to not only assist in individual innovation projects, but also to be an embedded part of the Biostats innovation team. We knew right at the beginning that the challenge lies beyond merely uncovering opportunities to include fleshing them out and prioritizing them.

We defined an evaluation and maturation funnel, ensuring that before work of any kind starts, initiatives fulfill the basic requirements of viability and desirability. The technical aspect of feasibility was only approached when the viability and desirability aspects were secured.

We specifically requested the submission not only of 'ideas' (solution proposals employees had) but also 'problems' (identified pains without clarity on how to solve them). We ensured a human-centered foundation is added to every initiative by working with idea/problem owners in defining the problem and the audience. This twist was a new but welcome spin on what our technical audience was used to.

design thinking workshop board on a clinical algorithm
drawn characters taking problems and ideas through the stages of design thinking

Planning and agility

We embraced the idea that "plans are worthless, but planning is everything". Quarterly innovation plans were made, defining the main upcoming tasks and projects.

And instead of setting up a massive automated system, we kept a strategic vision, and took a lean approach, always focusing only on the direct next step. This continuous construction included everything from process definition through prioritization to communication.

Taking such an agile approach enabled us not only to quickly set up a digital hub and process but also to deliver project-level impact already in the first quarter, helping win an industry event's innovation challenge.

Never-ending finetuning

Iteratively creating the innovation process and running projects through it is only the beginning. Our teams' responsibilities grew further. Whitespace helped set the next-year strategy, as well as a multi-year roadmap, and facilitated the introduction of an OKR-based quarterly planning process.

The next big challenge is delivering even more impact to the hundreds of statisticians and developers who the innovation team serves. This includes the expansion of the innovation processes' throughput, a streamlined bridging of innovation and development resources, and the systematic discovery of hidden pain points within existing tools and systems.

leadership team discussing details in a strategy workshop
Innovation workshop in progress

Key stats

A zoomed-out view of a virtual workshop board


projects identified through the funnel


place at an industry-wide competition


innovation projects completed


years of innovation consulting


Peter Horvath

Peter Horvath

Strategy & Service Design Lead

There is a subtle balance of freedom and process needed for the management of innovation. With too much freedom, resources are used inefficiently, and the progression of projects becomes difficult. With too much control, creativity is stifled. An iterative approach helps identify the sweet spot.

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