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CASE - From thinking ahead to action in a few months in the healthcare industry

The global market for healthcare is undergoing a massive transformation. Several macro-economical trends such as Doctor Google, a growing population of which the majority does not have access to decent healthcare, shortage of staff and value-based reimbursements are pressuring the healthcare industry to continuously innovate.

As market leader in diagnostic imaging, the ambition of the management is to bring the company to the next performance level via accelerated profitable growth. Consequently, this growth will need to come from tapping into adjacent market fields where the underlying technology can push the boundaries of what is currently achievable. By doing so, the underlying technology will further evolve, ultimately leading to a strengthened market position.

Venture Spirit has supported many missions in this context, addressing following question: “given the future market uncertainties and potential disruptions, what are the implications for our business, product innovations, services, …?” Or put pragmatically: “what should we be doing/starting today to be equally or even more successful tomorrow (the next 5-10 years, beyond the current order book)?”

Not by applying a traditional consulting approach, but by including the experts in the company, avoiding to dwell about current successes, thinking ahead of the curve, shift their perspectives to new technologies, new adjacent markets, novel business models, etc. In short, Venture Spirit helps reinvigorate the entrepreneurial mindset.

Our client, a leading healthcare supplier (50’000 people, 14,5Bn€ revenue), decided to go for a gamified campaign to structure and facilitate this strategic innovation & growth process. Venture Spirit’s accountabilities cover following objectives:

  • Act as sounding board to align and decide on mid-term and longer-term innovation ambitions

  • Deliver a qualified innovation opportunity pipeline, closely involving the engagement and know-how of our client’s organization

  • create both top-down and bottom-up buy-in and commitment to kick-start implementation

“We will not stop today, but build the next 100M€ business out of this” - Head of healthcare division


To define the innovation and growth strategy & roadmap for the next 5-10 years, Venture Spirit designed its program approach, using co-creation and game dynamics. The program was positioned as ‘Democratize our technology’ and consisted of 4 phases:

Phase I – Through core team workshops and detailed assessment of the companies’ core competences, Venture Spirit translated the ‘mission brief’ for the long-term innovation strategy into different ideation areas: challenging the status quo in science & technology, bringing the technology into our daily life and conquering new clinical and therapeutic grounds beyond our current footprint.

Phase II – To come up with the most promising growth ideas in the defined search fields, 3 parallel, online guided brainstorm challenges (inspiration games) were played, with the entire target audience. At the end, the top ideas were clustered into most promising initial concepts for growth.

Phase III – During our client’s senior management conference, a planning poker session was held to prioritize the concepts found in phase II. Only those concepts with the highest priority were used in the Venture game. This online business competition has designed in cross-functional/-regional teamwork, motivation and decision-making in uncertainty. These game dynamics helped to turn the concepts into tangible, actionable growth opportunities.

Phase IV – The top 10 ventures were invited to pitch their business plan to the senior management at the final event. In preparation of this final event, each venture went through several off-line additional iterations to finetune the strategic scenarios, the estimated market potential and implications on roadmap & investments to facilitate the final decision making and define the strategy file. Five of these ventures have been chosen to proceed with their ongoing investigations within the next months.

“Through this project, we’ve found really new ideas and routes for growth we haven’t found before in previous innovation cycles” - VP Strategy of healthcare division


The gamified innovation and growth program was embraced by about 600 actively engaged participants, leading to an entire front-end of innovation & growth funnel.

During phase II, the participants came up with a total of 450 innovative ideas within the three innovation games. The top ideas were synthesized into 57 concepts.

After prioritization with the senior management and core team, 33 priority concepts were found suitable to be turned into real business plans through the Venture game. At the end of phase III, 34 business opportunities (with some overlap) showed true potential to be placed on the advanced R&D roadmap.

Finally, this project identified 5 tangible adjacent market plays which have the potential to ensure a sustainable growth track for the next 5-10 years.

Furthermore, a new product architecture blueprint was identified and developed with the potential to serve multiple market domains as a novel platform. If only 1 unlocks the intended healthcare segment, revenues move quickly into the +€100M range.

Finally, a total of 25 high-performance rare talents have been identified in the process, most of which were not yet on the companies’ “high potential radar”. These rare talents have been rewarded for their significant efforts and creativity and will remain involved in the near future.


  • Intense, open debates, going beyond beliefs

  • Senior management involvement with active consensus building into aligned vision

  • Fresh, shifted perspectives resulting in stronger, futureproof innovation & growth roadmap

  • Detailed associated advanced engineering roadmap and project priorities

  • Increased commitment from the organization on the future of the company

  • Re-energized organization with innovation mindset & entrepreneurial spirit

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