on June 27, 2024

The Heart of Innovation: Navigating Authentic Demand in Med Tech

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In the latest episode of the Women in Medtech Podcast, Colleen Patterson, Barbara Strain, and Abby Norfleet explored the intricacies of innovation and authentic demand in the medical technology sector. The episode centers around the book, The Heart of Innovation: A Field Guide for Navigating Authentic Demand, and highlights key insights on the true meaning of authentic demand and the challenges of bringing innovative products to market.

Authentic demand, as discussed by Colleen, is when a product seamlessly integrates into people's lives, becoming an essential part of their routine without a second thought. Barbara Strain emphasized the importance of identifying real customer needs through value analysis and voice-of-customer insights. She pointed out that many companies fail because they cling to their original ideas without truly understanding their stakeholders or adapting to evolving needs. “It’s the no duh moment, the things we’re not even thinking about that, well, of course, I need that.”

The conversation also touched on the critical difference between invention and innovation. Inventions are merely new creations, while innovations bring transformative changes, altering behavior and improving lives. Abby Norfleet highlighted the pitfalls of developing products based on personal biases rather than broad market needs. She stressed the importance of listening to diverse voices and continuously validating assumptions to avoid costly failures.

One notable example of failing to address authentic demand was shared by Colleen. During the pandemic, TCX invested heavily in a line of AI-driven robots and solutions aimed at maintaining safety in healthcare settings. Despite the products' technical success, they failed to gain traction because end-users resisted the change, highlighting the importance of considering user receptiveness and behavior changes in innovation. “But they never took off, and the reason why is, when we looked at our feedback from that event unanimously, every single person who tried it... said, 'I just don’t like it.'”

The episode wrapped up with a discussion on the necessity of debiasing in the innovation process. Barbara explained how removing demographic biases from the evaluation process led to more diverse and effective solutions. The panel emphasized the need for ongoing customer engagement and adaptation to maintain relevance and drive successful innovation.

For those looking to deepen their understanding of innovation in Med Tech, this episode is a must-listen. Subscribe to the Med Tech Business Academy to stay updated on future episodes and insights.


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