Navigating Growth: Insights from our life sciences roundtable
22nd August 2023
Driven by the relentless pursuit of innovation, life science companies often experience intense periods of growth. We recently brought together a group from the industry to share strategies and experiences in three key areas:
– Fostering growth
– Overcoming obstacles to growth
– The rise of shared spaces and collaboration
At MovePlan, we believe in actively sharing our expertise and insight with our network. With this in mind, we wanted to share the insights from the event with some practical advice for navigating growth in the life science sector.
A quick overview of the region first: South San Francisco has a well-deserved reputation as a global life sciences hub, yet it experiences challenges when it comes to recruitment – it’s a hugely competitive industry, and with limited space compounded by other regional factors, it can be hard to attract and retain top-tier talent. Organisations must continually reevaluate their workplace, including their company culture, invest in team-building activities, and prioritise employee well-being if they are to succeed in the talent race. Much of this can be achieved through a well-thought-through lab workspace. Let’s find out how.
1. How to Foster Growth: Key Strategies for Success
Firstly, the discussion focused on the need to balance growth with organisational success. Here we look at what is needed to achieve this:
The need to: embrace efficient asset management.
It’s vital to incorporate efficient asset management systems during times of growth. Properly managing laboratory equipment, intellectual property, and research materials can achieve optimal resource utilisation and boost overall productivity and profitability.
The need to: optimise procurement and storage.
It is critical to optimise procurement and storage practices. For life science companies on a growth trajectory, seeking collaboration with strategic partners and dedicated lab stores can streamline processes, improve supply chain efficiency, and drive cost savings.
The need to: reimagine space usage.
The significance of creatively reviewing space usage to accommodate rapid expansion should not be underestimated. Implementing flexible space strategies allows companies to adapt to growth without compromising research efficiency.
The need to: embrace cold storage strategies.
Given the sensitive nature of biological samples and temperature-sensitive materials, it is important that a well-defined freezer program and a comprehensive cold storage strategy are considered. Safeguarding valuable research assets can protect vital discoveries and reduce wastage.
The need to: balance scientific and operational focus.
There is a common tendency for high-growth organisations to prioritise scientific pursuits over operational excellence. Yet there is also a need to strike a balance between both aspects, providing equal focus and support to ensure sustainable growth.
The need to: leverage external support.
To avoid overburdening internal teams during periods of rapid growth, seek external support or variable assistance. This will ensure operational teams remain efficient and motivated, driving continued progress. For example, for life science companies on a growth trajectory, seeking collaboration with strategic partners and dedicated lab stores can streamline processes, improve supply chain efficiency, and drive cost savings.
2. Obstacles to Growth and How to Overcome Them
Next, we considered how to overcome the obstacles standing in the way of growth:
The need to: address overburdened teams.
Smaller teams face challenges dealing with increased responsibilities during growth phases. Prioritising team support, including hiring assistant lab managers, fosters work-life balance and enhances productivity.
The need to: identify proactive measures for growth.
Adopting proactive measures to accommodate expansion, such as anticipating the need for additional space, support, and resources, is a key approach to success. Having a strategy to structure growth will help manage each step and allow for flexibility to make the right decisions.
The need to: cultivate flexibility in space allocation.
There is continued growing importance in promoting flexibility in space allocation. Setting expectations for adaptability during condensed lab spaces can ease the transition and promote a more agile research environment.
3. The Rise of Shared Spaces and Collaborative Culture
Finally, the discussion around the rise of shared spaces and collaborative culture was particularly insightful. It was acknowledged that:
– The increasing popularity of incubators and shared lab spaces in the life science industry facilitate collaboration, resource sharing, and exposure to diverse expertise, even within larger organisations’ owned facilities
– Emphasising the benefits of cross-collaboration and fostering a sense of community can drive innovation and fuel growth
Shaping a thriving ecosystem
In summary, by embracing efficient asset management, optimising space usage, and fostering a collaborative culture, companies can successfully navigate the challenges of growth. Striking a balance between scientific and operational focus and leveraging external support ensures there is sustainable progress in this dynamic industry.
As organisations anticipate the future, they need to embrace shared spaces, focus on talent retention, and invest in workplace advancements so that they can shape a thriving life science ecosystem for years to come.
If you want to learn more, please contact Lisa and Molly directly on
– or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
To read more about what it takes to successfully relocate a laboratory, read our interview with Sarah Speroff and Molly Frazier here.
To learn more about a recent high profile pharmaceutical move in Seattle, head here.