New research reveals strong societal support for disruptive innovations

Gregoire Verdeaux, Senior Vice President, External Affairs at Philip Morris International Inc

A new survey by Philip Morris International Inc.(PMI) reveals that despite broad public support for disruptive innovation to address global challenges, issues such as lack of equal access are likely to stall progress. Commissioned by PMI & conducted by ind’t research agency Povaddo, the survey shows 89% of adults across 14 countries say new tech & innovations can play a role in improving public health but 38% feel such innovations are not accessible to all citizens.

Which global issues is new tech expected to address?

The more than 17,000 survey respondents aged 21 and older believe that the development and adoption of new technologies, innovations, and capabilities can enable significant progress against a range of issues over the next 10 years to 20 years, including:

  • Encouraging healthier eating habits (78%)
  • Ensuring quality and affordable healthcare for all (72%)
  • Reducing smoking rates (65%)
  • Eliminating hunger and malnourishment (62%)

“Disruptive innovation can drive progress for the world and achieve things few people imagined possible until recently,” said Grégoire Verdeaux, SVP, External Affairs, PMI. “But when the benefits of that disruption are not equally available to all, innovation fails to achieve its full potential. Pragmatic policy frameworks that anticipate innovations are needed so businesses & gov’t can ensure more equitable outcomes & a lasting impact.”

What are the other highlights of the research?

The international survey also highlights the potential of positive disruption in tobacco harm reduction—with 64% of respondents stating that new technologies and innovations can play an important role in helping replace cigarettes with less harmful alternatives for those adults who would otherwise continue to smoke. These better alternatives exist today thanks to advances in science and technology and significant investments by PMI and other companies.

However, progress is being hindered by public policies that have failed to keep up with innovation. In many countries, the only tobacco or nicotine-containing products that can legally be sold are cigarettes. And in markets where better alternatives are available, adult smokers often cannot access these products or receive accurate information about them.

“With tech advances and scientific validation, we have an unprecedented opportunity to enact a major public health breakthrough—to effectively eradicate smoking faster,” Verdeaux said.

“We can make this the tipping point at which millions of adult smokers are given accurate information about and access to innovative smoke-free products that are a much better choice than continued smoking. But for that to happen, all parties—businesses, governments, public health authorities—must work together,” Grégoire Verdeaux said in conclusion.

How do we change positively?

To deliver positive change quickly and equitably, fresh thinking and concerted action are needed. Findings from the international survey highlight the public’s frustration with policymakers’ performance to date. Specifically:

  • 41 percent of respondents believe that gov’t & public health authorities in their countries have done a poor job of embracing new tech & innovations to improve public health.
  • 47% believe gov’t & public health authorities have done a poor job of ensuring everyone in their country has access to the latest innovations & tech that can improve public health.

What do the respondents think is driving innovation?

Survey respondents point to collaboration between government and the private sector as a catalyst of innovation, placing it just below capital investments by private companies. Asked to select the greatest enablers of innovation, respondents returned these results:

  • Entrepreneurship (76% of respondents say it enables innovation)
  • Consumer demand (74%)
  • Capital investments by private-sector companies (72%)
  • Collaboration between government and the private sector (69%)
  • Competition within the private sector (69%)

Select results of this new international survey are featured in PMI’s latest white paper, Rethinking Disruption, which explores the dynamics of positive disruption and its potential to drive meaningful progress on tobacco harm reduction and other critical issues.

To bring about change and accelerate the end of smoking, PMI is transforming for good, having revamped its product portfolio, purpose, business model, value chain, & practices.