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Culture is critical when creating an environment where innovation thrives

Posted by
Alistair Henry, Discovery Science


The 18th century saw the birth of modern medicine as we know it. Vaccination, x-rays and ‘germ theory’ emerged as breakthroughs that transformed standard of care for patients. But after centuries of scientific thought being constrained by myth and superstition, innovation in science flourished in the 1800s; scientists embraced news ways of thinking to progress theories beyond traditional frameworks. It was this shift in thinking and culture that helped bring life-altering medicines to the forefront.

Supported by new waves of technological advances, the rate of progress in recent years has been nothing short of astounding. We can now use artificial intelligence to spot the presence of “silent” or asymptomatic fractures in the spine, or malignant tumours invisible to the naked eye. We can even navigate our own healthcare journeys from our smartphones.

At UCB, we recognize that to provide new breakthroughs in healthcare, our people cannot be constrained by existing practices; to really innovate, you need to foster a culture that embraces diversity of thought, technology and dynamic ways of working. In essence, creating an environment to explore what we haven’t discovered yet, whether that’s through increasing partnerships across disciplines to widen our scope of thinking, or integrating computational methods into traditional drug discovery approaches. But, most importantly, we need to give people the space to fail and learn from mistakes to truly break the boundaries of science.

I’m lucky to work with a team of dedicated, passionate individuals who believe there are no limits to what can be discovered in R&D, and who work in an environment which encourages that ambition. UCB works hard to support innovation and inspiration by creating a space where our scientists can explore new questions and methods to find ground-breaking solutions, for patients who are at the heart of everything we do in R&D.

We have a clear view of where we’re going but remain open to different ways of getting there, with an innovation culture behind us, which makes for a very exciting journey.

To learn more about UCB’s incredible innovation culture, visit our dedicated innovation page here.

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