Simply the best or slow boat to China?

Hanne  Shapiro

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Simply the best or slow boat to China?

In 2007, the Danish Technological Institute made an extensive analysis of the biomedical sector in Europe by carrying out a number of case studies and drawing up four scenarios for the biomedical companies in 2017. The scenarios were made available to companies in the sector to be used for strategy development and have come to form the basis for new prioritised initiatives in the sector.

What will conditions be like in the biomedical sector in Europe in ten years time? How can biomedical companies best prepare themselves for the future and cope with the challenges that the future holds? These are some of the questions which consultants from the centre for Policy and Business Analysis at the Danish Technological Institute have found answers to.

Through collating a mass of statistical data and analysing existing reports, the consultants have defined and described the sector and identified important trends and challenges for the biomedical companies in Europe.

A series of interview-based studies were carried out of companies in the sector as well as two clusters in Germany and Ireland respectively.

Against this background the consultants drew up four possible scenarios for the sector in 2017:

  • ‘Simply the best’ – a positive scenario showing growth in the sector and a high degree of innovation.
  • ‘Forever young’ – in this scenario the companies’ energies are mainly focused on life-style products and products for use in cosmetic treatment. 
  • ‘Should I stay or should I go’ – a scenario which focuses on a situation where European companies have good access to capital but where the regulatory framework in Europe is not optimal.
  • ‘Slow boat to China’ – a crisis scenario involving massive transfer of activities to Asia.

The scenarios give different pictures of the future and are prepared on the basis of the regulatory, economic, social or technological factors which could have a potentially major impact on the sector, but where there is uncertainty about how a particular factor will develop.

The total amount of knowledge about trends and challenges – and not least the four scenarios – are to be used as a platform for companies and decision makers to work out strategies which can handle complexity and uncertainty and thus prepare and strengthen the companies to meet the challenges of the future in the best way possible.

The analysis was carried out for the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions, which is an EU agency based in Dublin.