The process followed by MedInnovate is heavily inspired by Stanford BioDesign, as well as by DesignThinking, Outcome-driven innovation and LEAN development principles. 

Fellows run through a dedicated process to allow for the idenfication of business opportunities aligned with the need of stakeholders in medical practice. This outcome-driven process is proven to be successful through a variety of start-ups and innovations generated by programs such as Stanford BioDesign or BioInnovate Ireland.

MedInnovate Process

At the beginning of the fellowship, a four-week workshop introduces the necessary know-how in regard of observations and needs finding, an in-depth training and lectures from the clinical teams and the respective specialities, as well as a general training for teamwork and the goals of the fellowship program. Throughout the overall fellowship duration, fellows get the chance to build up and meet a network of mentors and experts from industry, clinical practice, and academia. 

After the kick-off workshop, teams run through a framework for needs-driven innovation, where information for each step of this process is described shortly below. Throughout the fellowship, teams and individual fellows are mentored by experts and specialists.

Step 1: Identification
Interdisciplinary teams start with full clinical immersion, where the individual fellows and teams observe the daily practice and identify unmet clinical needs. Within roughly eight weeks of clinical immersion, fellows observe patients and healthcare professionals in a range of clinical settings including (e.g. diagnostic clinics, surgical and interventional procedures, post-operative care and rehabilitation). Through the observation of healthcare professionals and their interactions with patients in a clinical environment, this poses a unique opportunity to observe and document the day to day challenges. The goal of immersion is to observe and identify potential problems in clinical practice, which can be hints for unmet clinical needs to be developed further.
Step 2: Evaluation
In a next step, identified clinical problems and needs are evaluated and filtered based on various factors in order to reduce the number of needs with the goal of identifying those with the best combination aiming at a good business opportunity. Factors for evaluation include e.g. patient population, burden of proof, clinical feasibility, regulatory pathway, market opportunity, and so on.
Step 3: Conception
Based on a ranking of all categorized needs with respect to certain categories, concepts are identified for several needs to allow for an evaluation of both the clinical need as well as attached solution directions. The ideation phase is heavily driven by brainstormings and creativity sessions inspired by DesignThinking in order to identify solution directions which can be evaluated and validated.
Step 4: Validation
The individual concepts are then validated with healthcare providers, potential investors and mentors, such that business cases can evolve. In view of this validation, feedback is generated for prototypes which can also be used to refine concepts in view of a product development later on. This allows for the potential commercialization of a specific medical technology subsequent to the MedInnovate program.

By employing this process as a constant interaction with the actual healthcare professionals, defined concepts and solutions have a high probability to be aligned with the stakeholder’s requirements and the benefit for the patients, such that a commercialization route is viable.