By making use of Flash Organisations, the industry could accelerate and magnify its operational success, and consequently stimulate the growth of business

The pharma industry is at the forefront of new management and work trends without knowing it. With work in global pharma companies increasingly decentralised, project-oriented and conducted across time-zones, the industry offers us an insight into what the future of work in all industries could look like.

However, the pharma industry, like many others, does not make enough of its advantages when it comes to project management. By making use of Flash Organisations, the industry could accelerate and magnify its operational success, and consequently stimulate the growth of business.

Flash Organisations are the Stanford University backed model for accessing and utilising talent from around the world. They are essentially short-term project-oriented teams where the best experts are recruited to complete a project. With access to an online expert market, organisations can hire a team of external experts from a global pool, and solve a project by assigning specific roles to them in a hierarchy. Once the project is completed, the team disbands. Such teams already prove invaluable to the pharma industry in launching new products, for instance, but could do much more. Indeed, by making use of online expert marketplaces, the pharma industry could drastically improve its handling of external talent.

We spoke with Nigel Illingworth, an independent consultant to the pharma industry, and part of the COMATCH consultant network:
“Flash Organisations could be applicable throughout the pharma value chain from discovery, through clinical development, launch planning, marketing, sales, supply chain and manufacturing. One specific example could be the planning of a clinical study. Flash Organisations could bring together expertise from around the world to solve all components of these complex problems in parallel: adapting the local site selection in each country to match emerging protocol designs; trading off high cost clinical drug supply plans against the enrolment expectations of varying protocol designs. Another example could be launch planning for a new innovative drug. In global pharma organisations, where work is done more and more remotely, Flash Organisations also help to solve problems of connection and accessibility to expertise. They help structure direct contributions to project outputs and deliverables, using direct input of text, code, analytics, data (whatever the deliverable is made up of), and at a time of day suited to the expert.

“Flash Organisations are driven by the quality of team contributor expertise at the point of contribution. This doesn’t have to be internal staff; indeed a more cost effective approach could be to add independent experts to the flash teams. Tapping into large online directories of high-quality experienced resources enables this to be turned on/off as needed.”

COMATCH is one of the world’s leading online marketplaces for independent consultants. With over 5,500 global leaders, the marketplace offers the pharma industry unprecedented opportunities to access talent, and perfect the working trends they already utilise. Co-founder and managing director of COMATCH, Christoph Hardt commented that “only companies which are able to master Flash Organisations will be successful in the future”.

Toby Toudal Nielsen is director of UK and Nordics at COMATCH. For further information don’t hesitate to contact him at +44-20-34570891 or or visit