Sunday, April 21, 2019 was World Creativity and Innovation Day (#WCID). Observed by the United Nations and around the world, #WCID occurs one day before Earth Day and six days after the birthday of Leonardo da Vinci (the day celebrates the importance of sustainability and multidisciplinary thinking). With the UN calling creativity and innovation “the true wealth of nations in the 21st century”, it is no wonder #WCID has gained traction with individuals and organizations around the world.

At Novo Nordisk, innovation and creativity are values that we strive to uphold on a constant basis. With our Triple Bottom Line and patient-centric approach driving all our actions as a company, creative thinking is what allows us to innovate constantly so we can put the patient first. Even our roots are based in innovation: our company origins begin when Canadian researchers shared their discovery of insulin with our founder, August Krogh. That was almost 100 years ago, but it continues to inspire all that we do today. 

That’s why this day strikes such a chord with us—we believe in the value of creative thinking. And while #WCID is recognized around the world, the day itself is actually a product of Canadian innovation: it was established in Toronto in 2001. Just like insulin, #WCID has roots here.

But we aren’t only interested in our own internal innovation—we keep an eye on other exciting developments from Canadian individuals, organizations and policy-makers, too. Think of companies like Shopify, a Canadian-grown business revolutionizing e-commerce. Or MaRS, an innovation hub in the heart of Toronto dedicated to supporting start-up business and researchers who are pushing the limits of tech, business and health.

One new invention we’re particularly excited by is The Virtual Joint Bleed app. Developed in Canada, the app incorporates augmented reality and will be used by nurses and physiotherapists as a teaching opportunity to patients living with hemophilia. The app is also available for patients to access themselves and will be available in English and French on iPhones and iPads (from the Apple Store), and Android tablets and phones (through Google Play). The Virtual Joint Bleed app is expected to go live at the end of April.

We are also focused on innovative policy in Canada, policy that fosters the development of the life science industry and enables patient access to innovative treatments. Areas like drug pricing reforms can significantly influence the ability of budding Canadian biopharmaceutical companies to become globally competitive. And where the industry lags, patients can be left without the treatments they depend on. We have confidence that Canadian policymakers will recognize the value and necessity of supporting a vibrant and growing life sciences industry, for the sake of patients.

At Novo Nordisk, we see innovation as an opportunity to make patient lives better. It’s what connects everything we do. From creating a workspace that encourages bold thinking and collaboration, to forging partnerships with patient groups and organizations who make a difference in the lives of individuals, we know innovation is far from a one-day affair, but something we can uphold all year long.

Since this post was published, Brian has joined Novo Nordisk in the United States, as the Senior Vice President, Commercial Diabetes.