FreshLeaf Analytics managing director Cassandra Hunt has told cannabis companies to follow five steps – and keep doing them – if they want to be known for innovation.

Speaking at the PharmOut Medicinal Cannabis Conference today, she unpacked Freshleaf’s latest market report and encouraged the audience to pursue ‘differentiation by innovation’.

Hunt said: “The majority of companies focus on offer and product performance, but the ones who get the greatest returns knit together five types of innovation.”

Freshleaf Analytics MD Cassandra Hunt: innovation is not a ‘set and forget’ exercise.

She advised delegates to: 1. Gather some inspirational insights around unmet needs from patients and healthcare professionals; 2. Select your innovation platform; 3. Consider types of innovation that tend to get overlooked; 4. Knit together four types of innovation; and 5. Revisit reasonably often, adding innovation is “not a set and forget exercise”.

“In Australia, we tend to focus on product innovations in delivery systems like wafers and patches.”

She commended Entoura for its funding for veterans platform, MGC for its CannEpil app, which collects real-time patient data, Althea’s commitment to ‘access made easy’, and Canntab’s patented multi-layer tabs as “bright spots of innovation”.

“Innovation doesn’t have to be a heavy drain on resources,” added Hunt. 

Quoting research by innovation consultants Doblin, she said innovation could be broken down into ‘configuration’, including innovation around the profit model, network, structure and business processes; ‘offer’ including distinctive aspects of the product performance and product system; and ‘experience’, including service, channel, brand and engagement. 

Her comments come a week after Little Green Pharma MD Fleta Solomon told delegates at the GCI cannabis summit: “All of our medicines… there is nothing original about them, it’s an oil. In a couple of years we are going to see some fabulous product innovation and delivery technologies that need to be unique and are solving real patient problems.

“This is where the focus needs to be.”

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