Adele is an Innovation Manager for GSK - one of the world’s largest healthcare companies.
I met Adele inside the Women in Tech lounge at this year’s Web Summit in Lisbon. I had arranged to
meet her beforehand, and was interested to know the details of her role within GlaxoSmithKline,
more commonly known as GSK. A title like ‘Innovation Manager’ can be very broad within any
industry, and given GSK’s longstanding reputation for innovation, it’s always good to hear directly
from the employees just what the role might mean to them.
It’s clear that Adele loves her job, and feels that the company is making a huge difference to the
quality of people’s lives. She explains to me about the 3 business units in GSK, Consumer
Healthcare, Pharma and Vaccines and about her role in the Consumer Healthcare team.
Her position is within the CH R&D Innovation space, with a focus on product innovation, including
digital health. When she says this to me, it brings to mind thoughts of biometric-tracking wearables
and healing bandages, or perhaps sight-restoring technology – I think the Lisbon sun has been
getting to me.
She clarifies, with her particular interests:
“Innovation, especially in the digital health space, can come in some of the simplest forms, it doesn’t
have to be over-complicated!”
It’s refreshing to know that innovation doesn’t have to be expensive, or even directly related to
complex technologies, to be considered ground-breaking.
“When we look for a new product, we want to make sure that it fits our consumers’ needs and our
company values, above all else,” she says.
This comment sets the tone for our entire conversation. GSK’s values are to ‘help people do more,
feel better, and live longer’: a patient-centric view of healthcare that is often talked about in
grandiose terms, but rarely seems to come to fruition within the corporate sector.
It’s great to meet someone who works for a large enterprise – GSK is the sixth largest
pharmaceutical company in the world, with a presence in over 115 countries – who feels that they,
as an individual, are making a difference.
Adele was visiting the Web Summit in Lisbon to visit the Health-centric exhibitors, and watch the
conversations happening on the 9th November, within the dedicated ‘HealthConf’ section of the
show. She says it’s important for her to keep an eye on emerging products and technologies in the
market, but above all, there needs to be a ‘human’ element.
‘It can’t just be innovation for innovation’s sake – It has to mean something. It has to seamlessly
become a part of people’s everyday lives.’