The cost pressure in the health care system is constantly increasing, and so is the need for efficient and effective treatment solutions. And this is exactly where innovation comes into play, but it needs methodology to be able to raise the potential.
High demands of the medical technology industry
Medical technology is a fast-growing and innovative industry. The demands of the industry are high. Germany, for example, wants to position itself as a leading provider of medical technology in the international market.
These requirements can be met by professional innovation management and innovation methods. The environment in which the industry operates is characterized by complexity in the sense of technologies, certifications for market access or clinical trials, for example.
On the other hand, however, innovations in particular offer the opportunity to offer better solutions, to meet the high demands of the health care system and thus to drive growth.
Innovation potential in medical technology 1: Technology intensity and opportunities through technology transfer
The research effort is extremely high. R&D encompasses many disciplines such as medicine or technology. Many different technologies and sciences interlock in medical technology, such as sensor technology, imaging, analytics, hygiene, biotechnology, materials or manufacturing technologies.
Due to this extensive spectrum, the potential of learning from other industries in terms of technology transfer is very high. This requires open innovation in practice - opening up the innovation process and networking with partners from the industry as well as from other industries.
Innovation potential in medical technology 2:
Process and system solutions and new business models
It is not enough to act on the basis of technology alone. The trend is towards process and system solutions where the entire treatment process is covered. There is also great potential for new business models with service providers based on solutions such as pay-per-use or leasing.
This also requires new models of innovation. Open innovation softens the boundaries to other industries. Cooperation with relevant stakeholders creates new options. For example, the integration of information technology or biotechnology companies can take a step towards becoming system providers.
But in order to really go one step further, you need to fully understand the players such as customers, users and patients, as well as the processes and requirements.
Opportunities through professional innovation management
Research and innovation form the foundation for business success in medical technology. Professional research and innovation management, as already practised by most companies, makes it possible that
- high efficiency in technology development is achieved through know-how and technology transfer.
- market logic, and medical technology is developing into a system provider through new business models, for example.
These two points require above all an opening of the innovation process with a focus on networking and cooperation:
- Research cooperations, technology transfer and cross-industry innovation open up broad access to new technologies.
- Close cooperation with practitioners to anticipate and understand applications, processes and requirements.
- Collaborate with stakeholders in the development and delivery of solutions to define new business models.
In the search for innovative methods for the high demands of medical technology, the lead user method proves to be very optimal.
Lead user method for medical technology
The Lead User Method is a solution approach to integrate particularly progressive users and innovators - the Lead users - into the creation process. A Lead user has the following characteristics:
- The Lead user is one step ahead of the mass market in terms of his needs and his level of information.
- The Lead user benefits greatly from the innovation that has to be developed.
- The Lead user is often an innovator and inventor himself.
Furthermore, the Lead User Method integrates innovators from analogue areas. These are advanced users or pioneers of problematic or analog fields. The topic is abstracted, mostly on a technological or application level, in the sense of who has a similar problem or topic. For example, the lift manufacturer deals with braking technologies, looks for experts in other industries and finds what he is looking for in aviation.
High innovative power through the Lead User Method
With the Lead User method, the search field is defined at the beginning, for which new innovations are searched for. The basis for this is research and analysis of trends and needs. After identifying suitable Lead users, ideas are generated in joint workshops and spun into innovative concepts.
And it is precisely this approach that brings great advantages in the development of innovations in medical technology:
1. Access to new solutions
Through the integration of Lead users and thus experts from analogue areas, you also gain access to new solutions and technologies. Working together and looking beyond one's own nose opens up a powerful horizon of solutions.
Through the integration of experts and Lead users from analogue, i. e. also non-industry-specific, areas, creativity increases exorbitantly and one experiences access to new technologies, which one would not otherwise have had on the radar.
A big advantage is that you don't have to start from scratch when developing the technology and solution. Lead users have access to technical application know-how and can thus accelerate the innovation process.
2. High understanding of the market leads to innovation success
By involving customers, users, but also stakeholders from the application environment and upstream and downstream areas, you gain an extremely high understanding of the needs and drivers.
And since medical technology products have a very high degree of application complexity, this is precisely the success factor for successful product innovation. After all, most new products fail due to a lack of understanding of the customer's and user's needs and processes, resulting in a lack of acceptance.
The Lead User Method helps to identify precisely this broad spectrum of applications with all the needs, wishes and risks and to incorporate them into the new products.
3. Networking with actors as a basis for new business models
The integration of customers, users, stakeholders and experts leads to new insights and points of contact, which form the basis for a new business logic or business model.
On the one hand, multifunctional perspectives give you new ideas. On the other hand, networking in the workshop also creates a strong network for access to know-how or for cooperations for further development, implementation and marketing.
Example Ivoclar Vivadent: Development of a new dental ceramic
The aim of an innovation project at Ivoclar Vivadent was to develop a new dental ceramic. The customer's needs were well known and the final product was also clear. But there was no way to get there, namely the technical solution.
In the course of a technology assessment, six different technologies were compared for the solution. The decision was made to choose the best technology for the requirements, but it was not yet sufficiently mature for the application.
In order to develop and build up the necessary knowledge, a Lead User project was started with exclusively Lead users from analogue areas. In the course of the project, a new, innovative technology process was developed to mass-produce the new product.
Conclusion: Innovation with methodology in medical technology
Medical technology is a very strong and relevant industry with high growth potential. Innovation is the key to success, but it is also a major challenge, because the demands of the industry are complex and high.
In order to profitably exploit the innovation potential, the right methodology is needed and this is exactly where the Lead User Method helps. The Lead User Method provides access to the extensive needs of all stakeholder groups and to new solutions and technologies, which form the basis for new product innovations as well as new business models - in short: an innovation with methodology.