LEO Pharma’s Innovation Journey: An investigation of how facilitating a scientific community can improve exploratory capabilities

Mathias Østergaard & Peter Bredekjær Nielsen

Student thesis: Master thesis


Pressures on pharmaceutical research and development due to increasing costs and stagnating outputs are forcing innovation upon the industry. Hence, this thesis’ aim is to investigate if and how LEO Pharma can facilitate an online scientific community for early research in order to improve their exploration capabilities. With outset in LEO Pharma’s Open Innovation Platform and focus on the concept of Organizational Ambidexterity, we employ the Dynamic Capabilities framework in combination with recent platform business model theory, which allows us to propose implementation strategies based on an assessment of asset needs. Using an abductive action research strategy consisting of in-depth interviews and ongoing collaboration with LEO Pharma, an analysis of the rationale behind facilitating a scientific community was enabled. This included how to overcome barriers for implementation and the organizational transformation needs necessary for commencing such an initiative. During the course of data collection, summarised transcriptions and discourse with internal stakeholders guided the identification of objectives and revealing of key barriers to implementation. This led to uncovering LEO Pharma’s lack of essential dynamic capabilities, which allowed proposing suggestions on how to obtain them. In conclusion, the thesis proposes LEO Pharma to acquire platform and community know-how, as well as data know-how. This is in order to set strategies for fostering the community and to retrieve value from the data generated in the community due to their importance for successful realization. Furthermore, it proposes the outsourcing of technological know-how and assets to carry out the development of the platform, in addition to user involvement know-how to continually develop the platform based on user perspectives. In its entirety, these transformational efforts will allow LEO to improve their exploration capability for future competitive advantage. The findings of the thesis contribute to the existing body of knowledge by providing an example of how to operationalize the dynamic capabilities framework within the pharmaceutical industry. Moreover, it provides insights for other pharmaceutical organizations that can be utilized to understand how increasing organizational ambidexterity, through the application of open innovation, can be achieved.

EducationsMSc in Business Administration and Information Systems, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2017
Number of pages150