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Mobile apps and services are reshaping economic development. Although they’ll affect everyone, they will have the most profound impact on the people and communities that need the biggest productivity boost—those in developing economies.

Sarah Cairns-Smith

Sarah Cairns-Smith is on the leadership team of The Boston Consulting Group’s Health Care practice and the Americas leadership team of the firm’s People & Organization practice.

Sarah joined BCG in 1996. She is a member of the firm’s global health leadership team, spearheads BCG’s development efforts around the world, and leads its Scientist Network—a group of more than 350 life scientists working at BCG.

She has focused primarily on innovation-related topics for a variety of clients, including foundations, biopharmaceutical companies, and government agencies. Sarah has worked on strategies to accelerate new-product discovery, development, and introduction, and she has consulted organizations that address important world health-and-development priorities. Her work has covered a broad array of issues—in health, across many diseases and in areas such as diagnostics, family health, and nutrition; and in economic development, areas such as sanitation, agriculture, and financial services, including mobile and big data approaches.

Before joining BCG, Sarah worked as a research scientist at Columbia University and as an investment manager in biotech venture capital with Schroders.

Areas of Expertise

  • Product innovation and launch
  • Innovation partnerships
  • Big data for development
  • Mobile technology for development
  • Economic-development strategies
  • Biopharma research and development
  • Personalized medicine and biomarkers
  • In vitro diagnostics and life sciences


  • PhD, biochemistry, University of London, Imperial Cancer Research Fund
  • MBA, Beta Gamma Sigma, Columbia Business School
  • BS, University of London
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