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Breaking down ecosystem silos: Making MedTech innovation easier

Why do 90% of innovations fail? After decades of analysis, massive government support, and the development of countless new techniques and best practices, the statistics are not improving.

At Genesys, we believe a key problem is the siloed nature of the innovation ecosystem. In every aspect of product development, from blue sky academic research in cutting edge technology and development of global regulatory strategy, to tuning an antenna for optimal communication, we have world-class expertise right here in NSW. We have the expertise to be successful but still most innovations fail – why?

The nature of expertise is that practitioners naturally tend to have a focus on their field of expertise. As a result, most product development service providers don’t know much about the critical success factors underpinning the other activities required to make an innovation successful.

The siloed nature of our product development expertise puts the onus back on the entrepreneur to get a multitude of stars to align and often it is just all too much, leading to personal and organisational breakdown.

Genesys believes that service providers have an obligation to make it easier for entrepreneurs to develop active medical devices. To put words into action, Genesys has sponsored the launch of a community to address this concern with a focus on active medical technology (MedTech), which is a microcosm of the wider innovation ecosystem. An active device is one that has an energy source and largely refers to products involving both electronics hardware and software.

The NSW Active MedTech Community was launched by Anne O’Neill (lower right), Director of Enterprise & International Partnerships, NSW Health

The NSW Active MedTech Community is an educational forum designed to educate both entrepreneurs and MedTech service providers in critical success factors covering more than forty different fields required to successfully commercialise a medical device.

Across the innovation community, there is a perception that developing hardware-oriented products is hard, so hard that it scares off a lot of people with otherwise great ideas. And to a certain extent, this perception would be right. There is a lot more work involved with active devices, than for inert medical products.

However, when you break a hardware project down, it’s not all that complex. With the right expert service providers, it’s just a matter of good project management. However, entrepreneurs are usually expert in the field of the product’s application, such as a surgeon who understands a critical issue in their industry and has conceived of a device that could solve the problem.

The challenge for entrepreneurs is becoming an informed buyer of the right service providers

The challenge for such entrepreneurs is not just learning project management skills but becoming an informed buyer of the right service providers. MedTech innovators could be forgiven for thinking they are at the bottom of a pit facing towering learning cliffs in every direction – it’s hard to scramble your way out.

Genesys recently mapped the service providers across the entire active MedTech ecosystems and identified more than forty unique categories of expertise, including industrial design, regulatory strategy, quality systems, intellectual property, financing, software and electronics, to name just a few.

Any given service provider is usually expert in a few areas and not all projects require all forty service types. In practice, an entrepreneur will still end up coordinating the activities of several service providers.

A key issue is that the vast majority of government support for innovation focuses on better connecting university researchers to “industry”, but academic research is just one of the forty categories identified in the Genesys MedTech Ecosystem map.

To reduce the innovation failure rate there needs to be a greater focus on the critical importance of commercial service providers in successful innovation and in identifying new ways of supporting entrepreneurs deal with the multiple areas of expertise.

In sponsoring and helping run the NSW Active MedTech Community, Genesys is helping share the critical success factors of all fields of expertise around active MedTech, and ensuring others understand the factors arising from electronics design.

In addition, Genesys has been implementing a number of initiatives to better support its clients in working with multiple service providers. For example, Genesys has developed a framework of mutual NDAs with other service providers who are ISO 13485 certified for medical device development, so clients only have to sign one agreement to get discussions started.

For major projects that Genesys leads, it has introduced a stakeholder engagement role to facilitate productive interaction with other service providers. We also offer a common project management environment for clients and other service providers to use together.

For more information on our initiatives, contact us.


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