In the past, developing new medical technology required a healthcare institution to make significant time and money investments without the guarantee of a return. As a result, these organizations would shy away from pursuing potentially great ideas, deeming them too much of a risk. But open innovation platforms provide an alternative solution to this common problem, opening new doors for medical technology.
Generally speaking, in the medical field, open innovation is used to identify new ideas, inventions and technology that can improve patient care and lower day-to-day costs. In contrast to traditional startup accelerators and incubators, open innovation platforms create an environment where working professionals can submit an idea in its earliest form by allowing the most valuable ideas to be identified, patented, funded and developed.
How does an open innovation platform work?
Institutions that use this platform—such as Unilever Global, Samsung, and Edison Nation Medical—call on inventors to confidentially submit their ideas to teams of experienced evaluators, legal professionals and commercialization experts. These companies have a variety of means through which an invention idea can be commercialized, including startup accelerators or incubation models—both of which provide access to mentors, decision-makers and global distribution—or, in the case of Edison Nation Medical, through the licensing or incubation of top ideas and the sharing of any subsequent revenues the company is able to generate from these activities.
The goal and purpose of open innovation is to build an environment where individuals and organizations can collaborate to achieve mutually beneficial solutions. In this setting, potential innovators receive efficacy evaluation and product development support along with financial backing, all without the risk of having an idea stolen or personal capital lost. With this platform, inventors will have the resources and information needed to bring their ideas to life.
“Research in open innovation in recent years has clarified how a wide range of economic principles and innovation practices can be used to harness the collective energy and creativity of large numbers of contributors,” according to a recent article in MIT Sloan Management Review. “This may take many forms — open-source software, open apps platforms, prize-based contests, crowdsourcing and crowdfunding, distributed contributions to shared goods and repositories, and so on.”
In the medical technology community, open innovation can help catapult professionals with the best understanding of a problem to actually empower them to create a solution— and the need is truly great. For all the cutting-edge tools that are available today, healthcare companies still tend to rely on outdated technologies on the administrative side, which can slow down innovation. Bridging this technology gap won’t be without significant cost, effort, and commitment on the part of healthcare systems—a task not every organization will be willing or able to tackle. But open innovation platforms may be able to provide that missing link.
Editor's note: Mr. Grajewski will be the keynote speaker for the upcoming MPO Summit in Salt Lake City, Utah. His presentation will expand on the topic of this article: Giving a Voice to Those at the Forefront of Healthcare Delivery: Bringing Open Innovation to Healthcare Invention.
About the Author
Bobby Grajewski is president of Edison Nation Medical, a healthcare product and medical device incubator and online community for people that are passionate about healthcare innovation. Prior to joining Edison Nation Medical, Grajewski, a serial entrepreneur, co-founded two online companies (Heritage Handcrafted and eCollector) and spent five years in venture capital and private equity both in the middle market (J.H. Whitney Capital Partners & Kamylon Capital) and at a larger leveraged buyout firm (Permira Advisers) investing in companies across numerous industries. Grajewski holds a M.B.A. from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, a M.P.A. from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, and a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University.