The Global Health Innovation Guidebook

If you are interested in developing products or services to address global health needs, congratulations! A great adventure awaits you. Most people who commit themselves to a path in global health find the work inspiring and rewarding, especially when they help bring about real, lasting impact. However, they also report that their quest can be frustrating and all-consuming, with no guarantee of a successful passage.

Last week, Stanford University published, online and free, the Global Health Innovation Guidebook, a bright, easy-to-read and substantive guide for students working on health problems. It includes insights and lessons to help innovators succeed on their journey from an idea to the implementation of a health solution.

You can download this must read book for anyone pursuing the process of entrepreneurship in healthcare just clicking on the file below.

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Barcelona, first European iCapital

Last March 11, during the 2014 Innovation Convention, organized by the European Commission, Barcelona was named the first European Capital of Innovation. The Catalan capital has prevailed over finalists Grenoble and Groningen in a contest that also involved Paris, Espoo and Málaga. The winning project highlights the predominant role of the city in promoting new technologies and bringing together government bodies and citizens, in order to enhance sustainable economic growth and improve the people’s welfare. The award, endowed with € 500,000, will be used to expand and scale Barcelona’s efforts in innovation.

There is no doubt Barcelona has a lot to offer to its people and visitors: it is a great city to work in, to live and to enjoy and discover the beauty of life. The city is continuously reinventing itself and this creates and attracts talent. Outside, the Barcelona brand it is very positive as well.

However, the city it is suffering from the economic downturn and unemployment rates associated with Spain. How do local experts value the innovative capacity of Barcelona? Does the city deserve de award? Is Barcelona ready to become a world-leading region in innovation such as Silicon Valley? What it lacks?

Barcinno, an online platform to share the stories, knowledge & events of Barcelona’s startup and tech communities, made a round among different change makers, influencers and innovation practitioners to hear their story. They are Catalans, Spaniards and Internationals working at different sectors divided across three pillars: knowledge, government and industry. Jorge Juan Férnandez, Head of Academics at Moebio was among the experts interviewed.

The publication resumes the four big needs addressed by experts that Barcelona should solve to become an innovation hub and highlights the strengths of some of its clusters to create new opportunities for innovation. The report is divided in two parts. The first one is accessible here. The second one, here.

Apple’s plans to redefine mobile health

The lure of wearable technology and its application to health is tremendous. So tremendous that even the richest company on the planet, Apple, can’t resist it.

The company’s interest in healthcare and fitness tracking will be displayed in an iOS 8 application codenamed Healthbook capable of tracking several different health and fitness data points. Which data will the app monitor it is not clear but over the last weeks, speculation and mockups have intensified. Some say it will track bloodwork, heart rate, hydration, blood pressure, physical activity, nutrition, blood sugar, sleep, respiratory rate, oxygen saturation, and weight.

Healthbook will read health and fitness data from wearable devices such as the iWatch Apple is also developing. The smart watch will serve as an accessory to the iPhone and other iOS devices, giving users easy at-a-glance access to common functions without having to take their larger devices out of their pockets or bags. It will also incorporate a number of sensors and biometrics. Rumors have suggested that the iWatch could also serve as a control device for home automation and there are reports suggesting it could come in multiple sizes for a customized fit.

Getting the “iWatch” and this app into the hands of consumers may take some time. Apple is not only on its own timetable for this product, but it will likely need to follow the schedules of governments. The company has begun meeting with the FDA regarding medical applications and last February was seeking people to test health related software.

Seven years out from the revolutionary iPhone’s introduction, Apple’s entry into the health and sensor world is not a matter of if it will happen, but it comes down to how long it will take for the company to implement its vision of reinventing mobile healthcare.

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Recreation of a screenshots of the Healthbook. Credit: 9to5mac.com

 

Findings needs to improve healthcare

There’s a quiet revolution going on in the field of medical device innovation across the world led by people who are creating affordable and elegantly designed devices that add value to existing medical processes and make them simpler, cheaper and more accessible.

To create those products, these change-makers first have to identify unmet medical needs within a clinical setting and then develop new business opportunities.

The 2013-2014 d·HEALTH fellow teams have ended their clinical immersion experience in neonatology, neuro-rehabilitation and arrhythmias. During two months of intensive observation on medical procedures and routines, each team has compiled a list of over 300 needs and currently they are in the process of narrowing these large lists down into the top needs to take forward into brainstorming and invention.

This video resumes how was their clinical immersion experience at three top hospitals in Barcelona.

Neonatology Team includes: Arnau Valls, Marc Rabaza, Susan Feitoza and Mattia Bosio

Neuro-rehabilitation Team includes: Markus Wilhelms, Immaculada Herrero, Àngel Calzada and Marc Benet

Arrhythmias Team includes: Lalis Fontcuberta, Mateu Pla, Roger Benet and Alfred Ramírez

We can train you, but we can’t change your DNA!

Google is famous for having spent years hiring people focusing on GPAs, brand name schools and interview brain teasers. In a recent article at The New York Times, Google’s head of people operations, Laszlo Bock, detailed what the company looks for now. And increasingly, it is not about credentials.

Succeeding in academia or having studied at a prestigious university isn’t always a sign of being able to do a job. However, intellectual humility, i.e., the ability to step back and embrace other people’s ideas it is a sign of open-mindedness that allows people to learn.

The great fallacy of the Information and Knowledge Society is that what matters is knowledge. It’s not true. The key assets are skills. Skills are what transform knowledge into something of value. To excel in tomorrow’s job market, those who think better and have the skills to use their knowledge to the best possible use, in different contexts and with different goals, enjoy a competitive advantage over those who don’t.

Coding, creating a business plan, prototyping… all of them can be taught. How to be optimistic, to have a “glass half-full mentality”, to stay motivated, feel passionate, be very patient and very persistent to face the challenges of entrepreneurship not. The latter is the kind of people we seek for Design Health Barcelona, people who want to create and drive their own future. Because, as Herb Kelleher, the successful entrepreneur co-founder and former CEO of Southwest Airlines once said:

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A collection of worth watching videos

This week we have found quite a few fascinating videos on the Internet.

First, the World Economic Forum has made public a collection of videos summarizing the lectures that took place this year at Davos. They examine ideas such as self monitoring with digital health, how can robotics and assistive technology help us to live well in later life or how can we improve the access and affordability of simple medical devices for people living in rural areas on less than four dollars a day. But also how big data is redesigning how we learn, how to empower new talent and breakthroughs in different scientific fields.

The video below is about product innovation for emerging markets but you can access the complete collection here. It is, definitely worth watching!

It is also highly recommend to visit the Center for Integration of Medicine & Innovative Tecnology (CIMIT)’s video gallery. There you will also find amazing videos about innovations in healthcare, including the next technology wave in the sector as well as reorganization of healthcare delivery and how to detect unmet needs to later develop new solutions. We have highlighted one about the importance of routine simulation in modern healthcare but all of them are available here.

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Now is health entrepreneurs’ time.

Are we living in the best time in history to be a healthcare entrepreneur? An increasing number of experts say yes. The last one, Zen Chu, the founder of HackingMedicine and the current Entrepreneur in Residence at MIT. In an article published last week he explains what makes current times the most exciting ones to start a new business in healthcare:

  • Broad realization that technology can be used to scale medicine at a broader systems + population health
  • Changing healthcare reforms in the US is aligning incentives for better systemic healthcare
  • Large entrenched healthcare institutions are having a tough time adapting versus more agile startups
  • Start up costs have plummeted, so it’s more capital efficient than ever
  • The ubiquity of mobile computing and low cost diagnostics and sensors make health data liquidity and tracking easier than ever
  • Rising middle classes and health infrastructure in emerging economies are expanding access and demand globally

Chu’s article is one of the gems we have found on the Internet this week but not the only one. The slideshare below includes the top 10 technology and business model changes poised to disrupt the medical technology industry. It is worth having a look to it.

Victor McCray’s recipe to reduce risk in business

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Credit: Ocular Dynamics

Every business venture, regardless of economic climate, market conditions, products, personnel and capitalization, has risks. Assessing those risks is the first step to later start taking measures to reduce them.

Victor McCray has plenty of experience managing risks and he shared it with Design Health Barcelona fellows at a recent videoconference.

Victor is a prominent figure in medtech, both a physician and an entrepreneur. As CEO and Co-Founder of Ocular Dynamics, a Silicon Valley based company developing a polymer contact lens coating for patients with dry eye disease, McCray knows what he is talking about, and fellows took full advantage of their time with him, covering a wide range of topics. If you keep reading here you will also learn Victor’s secret to manage entrepreneurial risk.

 

In the news

Getting featured in the media is always great: it puts you on the map so more people knows you, can establish new connections, gain more credibility…

Over the last few weeks, great journalists from local and mainstream radio, TV and newspapers have written beautiful stories about Design Health Barcelona. We are extremely thankful for them. If you want to read, watch or listen any, here are some of them!

Print:

ARA: “Diversity is the future of team and companies” (in Catalan)

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El Punt Avui: Talent Incubator (in Catalan)

El Punt Avui-1

Barcinno: Innovation in Barcelona (in English)

Mobile World Capital: 10 start-up accelerators to help you develop your mHealth projects (in English)

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Radio:

RNE: Story at Eureka radio program (in Spanish)

TV:

TVE: National News Program (in Spanish) (from 39:13 on)

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TVE: Local News Program (in Catalan) (from 14:56 on)

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Entrepreneurship in Spain: state of the art (by two d·HEALTH Barcelona Faculty members)

Launching a new enterprise has always been a hit-or-miss proposition. According to the decades-old formula, you write a business plan, pitch it to investors, assemble a team, introduce a product, and start selling as hard as you can. And somewhere in this sequence of events, you’ll probably suffer a fatal setback. 75% of all start-ups fail.

Recently an important countervailing force has emerged, one that can make the process of starting a company less risky. The “lean start-up,” methodology favors experimentation over elaborate planning, customer feedback over intuition, and iterative design over traditional “big design up front” development. Although the methodology is just a few years old, its concepts have quickly taken root in the start-up world, and business schools have already begun adapting their curricula to teach them.

The lean start-up movement hasn’t gone totally mainstream, however, and we have yet to feel its full impact. Design Health Barcelona Faculty member Mario López de Ávila (@nodosenlared) has published a report featuring the state of the art of Lean Start-Up entrepreneurship in Spain. The document, accessible here, includes chapters about central aspects of the Lean Startup approach such as prototyping, experiments, metrics and business models. The latter has been written by Design Health Faculty member Javier Megias (@jmegias), who has recently given a lot to talk about after publishing the Spain Start Up Map, an excellent infographic that includes the Spanish startup and investor community.

Congratulations to both of them!

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Credit: Start-Up Map (by Javier Megías -@jmegias)