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Eight lessons from Pokémon GO for life sciences digital leaders - part 2

In part one of this blog, we outlined four of the eight lessons life sciences can learn from the Pokémon GO craze. These included designing for the fundamentals, creating a Minimum Lovable Product, appreciating limited user engagement time and knowing what users want. Now we will explore how this translates to your business objectives.

5. Seize opportunities quickly!

Disruption brings opportunity along with it. When Pokémon GO hit the public, most people wanted to be the first to download the game. Others captured commercial opportunities from the craze with bars, pubs and churches offering Pokestops to take advantage of the footfall, ‘Poke walking clubs’ and even Uber-like Pokerides. McDonald’s was the first brand to advertise on Pokémon GO [7]. However, we are only at the beginning of future opportunities. Simple concepts such as exchanging gifts through the platform are yet to be fully explored. Fitness is a key outcome for Pokémon GO. And for life sciences companies, tapping into the fitness theme with challenges, supporting active communities through the game and using in-game incentives to get people moving are ideas that are already being explored. Fitbit Community is already creating Pokémon GO communities through their wearables [8]. Capturing data on the health benefits and outcomes will provide behavioural cues that can feed into the health and care plans. With billions and billions of miles walked, can you imagine what the total number of calories have been burned of all Pokémon GO users?

6. Actively manage your social momentum

Social media is an unstoppable wildfire. From commenting to liking and sharing, your network is constantly kept informed and reinforced of the buzz. The social citizen has a ‘fear of missing out’ (FOMO) mind-set that only adds more fuel to it. Sharing fun experiences, reaching in-game milestones the fastest and setting new records all add to the viral buzz. Pokémon GO has capitalised on its own social momentum to stimulate buying activity in its in-app game shop (Poké coins, balls, lures etc). Life sciences companies need to take novel approaches in the way they nurture their social users, measure leads and results, create opportunities for conversion and convert social citizens into customers. Simply listening and scanning for trends is not enough. Did you know that Pokémon GO was actually announced back in September 2015?

7. Design in digital trust and cyber security

The cost of bringing a single new drug or device to market can run into millions and even billions of dollars. The associated risk and consequences of failure can have disastrous implications. Varying regulations across different regions and countries adds to the challenge. Amidst all these, life sciences companies are in the process of rebuilding trust with customers and venturing into the digital realm can only add to the challenge. For example, adverse event reporting still remains a concern especially for pharma in a digital world. Within days of Pokémon GO’s launch, several accounts of children in dangerous situations, hackers, and fears over data protection appeared in the news and social media. Pokémon GO reacted by introducing warning messages (such as being alert at all times, passenger alerts, entering dangerous areas etc). Life sciences companies should seek to develop a digital strategy that includes understanding compliance and security risks, establishing robust and pragmatic governance, and developing the capability to quickly respond to incidents. 

8. Use data, data and more data

Data is a strategic asset in our digital world but data alone does not yield much value. Pokémon GO has been designed such that location data is an integral part of the gameplay experience – without which it would not be possible for multiple players to play with each other. The Step Kinnection study is a clinically-based interactive video game that allows you to move through 32 virtual countries and tracks body movements in real-time 3D [9]. Knowledge of clinically-relevant end-points can feed into understanding what data is relevant to be collected and serve as an input into the clinical trial design, customer behaviour prediction and optimising the design of better products and services for users. 

Creating an end-to-end digital experience goes far beyond simply creating a nice app. Bridging lessons learned from successful viral occurrences such as Pokémon GO together with expert input, digital leaders in life sciences can align the knowledge of real user needs with business objectives to develop successful digital products and services that ultimately enhance the experience of their product amongst their end users.

To explore further opportunities on how you can create great user experiences with your digital products and services, get in touch today.


[7] Marketing Week 
[8] Fitbit Community 
[9] The Step Kinnection Project 















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