This year’s Biodesign Alumni Annual Event featured a panel discussion with the iRhythm team. The San Francisco-based company has changed the way cardiac arrhythmias are diagnosed through their cloud connected wearable biosensing technology. Panel members from iRhythm included Founder and former CMO Uday Kumar, Derrick Sung (Executive VP, Strategy & Corporate Development), Mark Day (Executive VP of R&D), and iRhythm’s CEO Kevin King, who brought the company public.
As Biodesign alumni are well aware, the fellowship year is over in a blink of an eye. As the fellows ventured out for their externships and had a moment to reflect on the year to date, the SBAA asked six fellows:
If you could go back in time and give one piece of advice to yourself right before the fellowship started, what would it be?
The responses showed a diversity of backgrounds and personalities, although a common theme does shine through – go out of your comfort zone and take full advantage of the experience. The fellowship provides plenty of opportunities to learn a new process, discover new ways to work, and create enduring relationships with incredible people.
The 2014-15 fellowship has passed the halfway mark and the three fellowship teams are deep into concept refinement and testing. This year’s cohort comprises six physicians and six engineers with a mix of clinical, business, and research backgrounds. Each of the twelve fellows arrived at Biodesign with some prior work in medical devices and each carried certain expectations about the process. In this post, six fellows discuss their prior expectations, the surprises they encountered, and how their expectations have shifted during the year.
SBAA asked these six fellows to answer the following question:
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned about the medtech innovation process since you started the fellowship?
Their responses are below.
Plans for Sustainability: My Vision for 2012
As I reflect back on the work of Biodesign Alumni Association for 2011, I am struck by one thought – we made it. Under the exceptional leadership of Evan Anderson (Fellow ‘03-‘04) and his founding team, the Biodesign Alumni Association was formed in 2009 and quickly developed into what it is today. 2011 was a particularly outstanding year for the group. Read more
|Photo courtesy of Iris Tan||Three of the Biodesign founders, (L to R) Ginger Graham, John Abele, and Bob Croce, graciously took the time to visit and speak with the Biodesign fellows a few weeks ago. From the depth of their combined wisdom and experience came many pearls about career, medical device innovation, and life.|
It was slightly disconcerting to me, and possibly other aspiring medtech entrepreneurs, that Bob, Ginger and John had not nailed down medtech entrepreneurship as a career choice early in life. The sort of certainty that seems to be a requirement, or at least is greatly encouraged on university applications (think about all those essays starting with “My first-ever toy was Legos. I’ve wanted to be an engineer since before I could crawl.”) seemed suspiciously absent when they set off on their journeys. John sold light bulbs. Ginger wanted to be a veterinarian. And Bob had no idea what he wanted to do. Read more
Mid-Year Reflections from 10th Class of Biodesign Fellows
Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.
– Leonardo da Vinci
The fellows are now over 4 months into the Biodesign Innovation Fellowship, and we have been striving to put Leo’s words into practice. Reading or just talking about how to innovate new medical technologies is not enough. We must do.
Each of us came into the program with a unique set of experiences and expectations. Reflecting on our progress thus far at about the midpoint through the year, the fellows were tasked with answering the following question:
In one paragraph: what was the most challenging aspect of transitioning from your previous life (engineer, physician, or researcher) to jumping into the Biodesign innovation process?
“Both optimists and pessimists contribute to our society. The optimist invents the airplane and the pessimist the parachute.” — G.B. Stern
I’ve heard it said that one of the most valuable skills an entrepreneur can have is an abnormal capacity for optimism. This makes sense: in an environment fraught with incredible risk, large-scale uncertainty, and emotional distress, there may be nothing more valuable than optimism and perseverance. Founding or leading a start-up consumes your life, in essence it is your life, and you absolutely need to believe that your immense effort will someday translate into something tangible. But though profound optimism is a priceless asset, a team composed entirely of optimists may be one that is incomplete or flawed. Read more