Leaders in Innovation Share Exponential Impacts of Collaboration

cavendish panel

Last month, The Innovation Institute facilitated a panel discussion on collaboration for health care innovation at the Cavendish Global Impact Forum, hosted by Cleveland Clinic in collaboration with Cleveland Clinic’s Medical Innovation Summit. The discussion focused on how collaboration can dramatically accelerate and scale the exponential impact of innovation.

Panel members included:

Barry Didato, Chief Investment Officer, The Innovation Institute, Moderator

Scott Parazynski, M.D., NASA Astronaut/Inventor

Emily Fowler, Co-Founder, Hero X

Ryan Kelly, Ph.D., Director, Commercialization & Technology Transfer, Innovation Lab

The panel of experts shared their unique insights and real-life examples that are advancing innovation where it is needed most. Scott Parazynski, M.D., explained that we can only know so much about or own disciplines. Therefore, we need to partner with other people who can help us get to a higher level. “In the space program that I know deeply, it wasn’t just about the seven crew members onboard that mission; it reflected literally thousands of people across the country: engineers, scientists, flight controllers, and instructors who came together with a common mission to do something wonderful,” he said.

When Parazynski served as chief technology officer for a major medical research institution, he said that their success stemmed from the fact they were very good at pulling together people from many different educational backgrounds, technical and engineering specialties, neurosurgeons, ICU nurses, material scientists, business people, and IP experts. “We would look to identify significant unmet needs and together, we found some extraordinary opportunities as we pulled our brain power and other capacities together to solve problems,” he said.

He said that he believes life’s greatest lessons happen in non-traditional settings. “Take risks. Get out of your comfort zone, and seek other partnerships to get to the next level,” said Parazynski. He shared that as a climber of Mount Everest, he saw the need to find a better way to keep climbers hydrated up the mountain and back, so he came up with an idea to solve this problem, and he has been vetting it with the Innovation Lab in Newport Beach, Calif.

Parazynski says he believes that all of us in the health care industry have both an opportunity and obligation to innovate. “We need to ask key questions and look for ways to limit pain and suffering, create better outcomes, and make procedures more simple and straightforward,” he said. “Get back to the multi-disciplinary approach, talk to whoever touches the patient flow, especially nurses who are at the frontlines; they come up with great solutions,” he added.

Parazynski talked about the importance of philanthropy to support innovation. He said that the National Institute of Health has fueled innovation primarily, but that the problem is that new innovators with great ideas, but no track record, are limited when it comes to funding.

Emily Fowler said that today crowdfunding is a great way to raise money for new, promising ideas. However, her primary focus for the talk was competition and how it is supported by collaboration. She used the example of the $25,000 Orteig Prize, which was rewarded to the first aviator who could fly non-stop from New York City to Paris. Many participated and collaborated, but Charles Lindbergh won the prize in 1927 in his Spirit of St. Louis aircraft.

Fowler shared that the chance to win money is a motivator for many, while others are driven by the opportunity to collaborate and build relationships with a shared purpose and goals. But, she finds that the biggest reason people innovate is admiration, pride, and the impact someone can have with a breakthrough invention.

Fowler talked about the concept of only paying for success. Some people could start a company with a purpose to create something and it could take them years and a lot of money, without results. Whereas, in a competition like the Ansari X Prize, which was inspired by the Orteig Prize, you could offer a prize of $10 million for the first non-governmental organization to launch a reusable manned spacecraft into space and get more than twenty-six motivated teams who spend more than $100 million, resulting in new technologies in pursuit of the prize, and a winner. She says that when the Tier One project headed by aerospace engineer Burt Rutan was announced as the prize winner, the media attention generated over 12 billion impressions, which helped with speed to market. “Prizes are the exponential tool to help you get there, and they are a great way to add to your innovation portfolio,” concluded Fowler.

Ryan Kelly said collaboration is in our DNA. He explained how the The Innovation Institute is set up as a collaborative of seven health systems whose employees and physicians are motivated to feed their pipeline of innovation for a chance to earn royalties and have an impact. “We collaborate with our alliance partner Cleveland Clinic where we have access to their collaborative network of health care organizations and companies we can partner with to bring our ideas forward,” said Kelly. “We also rely on our relationships with corporate sponsors who serve as opinion leaders and resources to draw from,” he added.

In exchange, Kelly said they get a first look at their Innovation Lab’s portfolio to see where they might help to take ideas to the next level. Deloitte offers its delivery solutions and efficiency of care, Boston Scientific provides their medical device knowledge, and Dell brings their strong analytics platform to the table. Through their nationwide collaborative network, Kelly said that The Innovation Institute has the advantage of being able to draw upon clinicians in community health care settings where patients are being seen to learn about problems, shortcomings and gaps, and to encourage ideation around them.

“This discussion was a great example of how collaboration among like-minded people can bring forth rich ideas that we can all learn from,” said Didato. “We learned that going to the source to see the problems is a good starting point for innovation, and we were reminded that people throughout history enjoy the excitement of competition as a motivator to bring about breakthrough results.”

cavendish panel

The full panel discussion can be watched here:


About the Panel

Barry Didato is an expert in investments, mergers & acquisitions (M&A), startups, and has a global business perspective; Emily Fowler led the skunk project that became HeroX, and she pioneered Visioneering, a brainstorming process that generates world-changing ideas through incentivized competitions; Dr. Ryan Kelly, an immunologist, specializes in the process involved in taking therapeutic, diagnostic, medical device, and health care IT innovations from concept to commercialization, and currently works in alliance with Cleveland Clinic Innovations; Dr. Scott Parazynski is a five-time NASA space shuttle astronaut, accomplished physician and innovator in the field of telemedicine; and Semih Sen has vast experience in health care project development, start-ups, innovation and financing on an international scale.

About Cavendish Global

Cavendish Global provides family offices and their foundations (from North America, Europe, Asia, the GCC and Latin America) with a discrete, peer-to-peer knowledge expansion and relationship building environment, combined with the innovative resources required to help develop and implement their individual pro-social impact investment, grant making and sustainable philanthropy programs within health and the life sciences. For more information, visit http://cavendishglobal.com.

About The Innovation Institute

The Innovation Institute is an independent, for-profit LLC structured to cultivate innovative solutions to transform healthcare delivery. The Innovation Institute is owned by non-profit health systems. This collaborative taps into thousands of physicians, employees, and industry business partners to incubate and commercialize new medical products and ideas. Comprised of three distinct elements – an innovation lab, an investment fund, and a shared services group (Enterprise Development Group), The Institute strives to “do more, with less, for more people.” For more information, visit lab.ii4change.com