THE ASTRAZENECA STORY

A crowd-powered strategy

The story of AstraZeneca’s bold ambition to put the company’s strategy in the hands of its 64,000 employees.

Industry

Pharmaceuticals

Employees

64,000

Integrations

Workplace, WeChat

Objectives

Involve employees worldwide in developing 2025 business strategy

At A Glance

23 K

IDEAS

77 K

Interactions

11 K

CONTRIBUTORS

The challenge

Leading by listening

AstraZeneca’s mission is to provide life-changing medicines to patients in need. By 2025 it’s aiming to not only double the number of medicines delivered, but also double its revenue.

To help with this mission, the senior executive team wanted a way to flatten the organization, drive innovation, and put the future direction of the company in the hands of its employees.

Taking full advantage of the creativity of its 64,000 employees across 120 countries, they decided to augment their normal strategic process with a crowdsourcing event aimed at making every voice count.

The challenge was how to enable this level of strategic discussion on a scale that had never been seen before.

THE SOLUTION

Finding ideas from everywhere

To achieve its ambitious goal, AstraZeneca needed something simple. A soapbox from which each of its employees could share their ideas with ease.

Workplace by Facebook had been implemented as a global social tool, and WeChat was already established as the social tool of choice in many Asian markets. Sideways 6 was able to support the integration of both tools, which was a key driver of participation. It also ensured AstraZeneca's employees could share ideas in their native language – something that had not been possible before.

Utilizing existing platforms also meant that employees didn’t have to learn how to use a new tool, and the innovation team wasn’t required to purchase additional licenses from yet another vendor.

​By combining the power of Workplace​ and Sideways 6, AstraZeneca are demonstrating the value of global communication and involving employees in business decisions.
Anand Dass Anand Dass, Director of Workplace Platform Partnerships Workplace by Facebook

The Campaign

Think, transform, together

The AZ2025 campaign launched with a bang. A coordinated communications effort including roadshows, townhalls, promotional videos by senior executives, and more, ensured everyone in the company knew about the initiative and how to get involved.

The campaign’s strong brand identity, built around the tagline; ‘Think, Transform, Together’, was key to raising awareness and creating a buzz. 

Leadership champions were encouraged to stimulate discussion within individual Workplace and WeChat groups and review ideas.

From new starters to company veterans, all generations of AstraZeneca employees were inspired to be a part of the campaign, a part of shaping the company’s future.

Getting senior leadership buy-in,
ensuring they viewed the campaign
as something important, was
paramount to success.
Scott Wilkins Scott Wilkins, Enterprise Innovation Director AstraZeneca

SIDEWAYS 6

Managing the flow of ideas

Inviting employees to contribute their ideas was one thing, but managing the ensuing deluge of ideas was another challenge entirely. That’s where Sideways 6 came in, ensuring that no idea was missed.

For a crowdsourcing event of such scale, flexibility was a key to success. The Sideways 6 platform was tailored to fit AstraZeneca’s approach. Translation features helped ensure that people could participate in their own language; dashboards provided a high-level overview of campaign activity that could be shared with senior management; expert and crowd reviews enabled effective evaluation and prioritization of ideas.

The broad suite of tools will help support the delivery of the next phase of AstraZeneca’s strategic journey.

It’s simple. We couldn’t have done this without Sideways 6. Without their level of support and flexibility, running a campaign at this scale would have been impossible.

Robert Albert Robert Albert, Collaboration Specialist AstraZeneca

THE RESULTS

The road to success

The AZ2025 campaign was an open invitation to every employee to have their say. And they did just that.

Over the course of three weeks, 77,000 ideas, comments and likes were contributed from employees in 70 countries, many of which will go on to influence what AstraZeneca looks like in years to come.

Crowdsourcing and ideation are now very much part of AstraZeneca’s DNA, with sustainable crowdsourcing campaigns remaining an ongoing focus.

Download a copy of the case study

The AstraZeneca Story