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Published by:
IBS Center for Management Research (2019)
11 pages
Data source:
Published sources


The case examines the approach of Pfizer Inc (Pfizer), one of the world's premier biopharmaceutical companies, to innovation, management, and design thinking. For several years, Pfizer had been credited with fostering a culture of innovation. But, it was in the early 2000s that the company started emphasizing design thinking as a tool for innovation. For pharmaceutical companies, design thinking meant using design to bring ideas to connect better with patients and provide them with a better experience. With the current demand for more patient-centered products and services, Pfizer used design thinking as its core competence. By focusing on user experience, the company applied design thinking at several levels including clinical trials, diagnosis, and treatment. The case discusses Pfizer's innovation journey in detail. It also analyzes how Pfizer integrated design thinking in its innovation process. This case provides an insight into design thinking and the various techniques involved like brainstorming, prototyping, and testing to arrive at a solution to a problem. The case ends with a discussion on the future scope for design thinking and the challenges faced by pharmaceutical companies in incorporating design thinking.

Teaching and learning

This item is suitable for postgraduate courses.


Design thinking; Innovation; Innovation management; Problem solving; Open innovation; Strategic HRM; Organizational culture; Cultural shift; Mindset; Change management; Data; Analytics; Strategy; Capabilities


The events covered by this item took place in 2015-2020.

Geographical setting

United States

Featured company

Company name:
USD 53.64 billion
Public company
Pharmaceuticals & biotech

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