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Tuesday 5 July 2022

No pain, no sale.

Developing a new product is risky. Trying to push your technology in a market is even more riskier!

People will only like your solution if they like their problem.

If they don’t think their problem is that bad, they won’t pay you to fix it.

If in doubt, insist on the pain.

Tylenols outsell vitamins!

 

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Are you a business owner who is looking to develop new products?

Tuesday 11 January 2022

We understand the risks involved in developing a new product. That’s why we want to help you reduce those risks by providing you with our expertise and guidance so that your product development process goes smoothly.

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Process or output?

Monday 10 January 2022

I often meet directors and vice presidents who question their product development process (PDP) or Stage-Gate. They blame failure to bring innovation to the market on poor process. These C-suites (often very well-educated individuals) tend to forget just one thing: To innovate you must take action!

How many product development projects are currently (sitting) in your portfolio? How many projects or products have you delivered in 2021? What is your success rate? These are the  hard questions you need to ask if you want to improve every year.

The product development process is a mean, not a destination.

Improving your Stage-Gate Process should not be your No.1 priority for 2022. SO GO AHEAD AND DELIVER ─ projects or products of course!

Think OUTPUT not PROCESS!

Patrick Sirois

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Wednesday 1 December 2021

Consumer product companies with consistently successful product innovation, like SodaStream and Dyson, appear to have two factors in common.

A study by Booz & Company on the attributes that are going to make a new product successful in the market. The authors present the case of SodaStream which is actually a huge success with its new products for several years. A short article that presents the essentials of their discovery!

The entire article of Strategy + Business:  www.strategy-business.com

Patrick Sirois

psirois@triode.ca

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Wednesday 1 December 2021

An interesting article about the "power" of failure with great examples. We have to accept failure to succeed!

People with a ‘growth’ mindset, however, who believe that success is based on effort and continual learning and that intelligence can change, are able to use failure as a learning experience in order to improve over time.

Viewing the possibility of failure as an adventure rather than a catastrophe allowed Dutch entrepreneur Pauline Speelman to start her own company after being made redundant.

See on holland-herald.com

Patrick Sirois

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Wednesday 1 December 2021

Innovation isn't easy! If you want to stand out from the competition you may be tempted to change your customers’ behavior. Why should they buy your product or service? That is the question. You must give them a very good reason.

Effective innovation provides a simple solution to a problem or satisfies a customer’s need. Generate opportunities for innovation by visiting your customers and interacting with those most loyal ─ and with the competition, too. Monitor trends and above all, try not to fall in love with your idea!

Patrick Sirois

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Wednesday 1 December 2021

Suzanne Pellican, chief design strategist for Intuit Small Business Group, presented at a Back End of Innovation 2013 a few weeks ago in Mountain View, California.

Over the last five years Intuit has knitted innovation into the core fabric of the company using Intuit’s innovation driving process “Design for Delight” aka “D4D.” Using design theory as an innovation process through their D4D approach, the company has created an organic innovation culture.

D4D doesn’t just give customers what they ask for, it aims to go far beyond their expectations – seeking inspiration from many different places, from comparable industries to extreme perspectives. Training over 180 Innovation Catalysts within their organizations where these sparks of innovation has helped facilitate the D4D behaviors across Intuit’s 10, 000 employees all across the globe.

Check out Pellican’s BEI 2013 presentation below:

http://www.slideshare.net/IntuitInc/back-end-of-innovation-2013-how-we-innovate

Which action can you take from Intuit's practice and and implement in your company?

Patrick Sirois

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Wednesday 1 December 2021

Learning from someone else's failure is the best way to improve your pratices. But remember: You have to Fail often in order to Succeed. So embrace your failures!

Patrick Sirois

@psirois, @failwatching

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Wednesday 1 December 2021

The Top CES Trends as seen by Tech Geek and GroupM Chairman-DEO Irwin Gotlieb.

4K TV, Wearable Tech, Connected Homes and Auto Innovation

The annual Consumer Electronics Show tour hosted by GroupM's Irwin Gotlieb not only stands out for its longevity but for the media agency chairman-CEO's innate passion for all things geek.

Mr. Gotlieb started coming to CES's predecessor, Comdex, in 1979, and has watched first-hand as companies like Microsoft and Motorola went from being major players to barely attending the show. "CES is not just about what's here, but what's not here," he said on one of his tours at this year's CES.

Here's a look at the five biggest CES trends according to Mr. Gotlieb.

4K TV

Whether or not 4K TV sets, which pack four times the resolution of current HD TVs, will get traction with consumers any time soon was the big question on the show floor, with cost still a big concern this year despite improvements in manufacturing processes. But the picture quality is certainly impressive. Mr. Gotlieb called out LG's 77-inch 4K curved OLED TV as the best screen at CES. Organic light-emitting diodes provide far better contrast than usual LED TV technology, Mr. Gotlieb said, but also become "horribly expensive" for large screens.

He also pointed to Sharp's 85-inch LED TV on the 8K standard, which Japanese broadcasters and government want to use for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

While many in the TV business were skeptical this week 4K's near future, Mr. Gotlieb said 4K will move more quickly than HD adoption.

Curved TVs were also all over the show this year. While they're promising for consumers that want big-screen sets in relatively small apartments, curving to offset limited peripheral vision from sitting too close, curved screens can be counterproductive otherwise because of increased reflectiveness and the additional space required, Mr. Gotlieb said.

Connected Home

Part of LG's connected home display at CES

Part of LG's connected home display at CES

LG's vision for the connected home will let users receive text alerts about running low on milk or the time left in the washing machine cycle. You might even text the LG Hom-Bot Robot Vacuum when you're almost home from work so it returns to its base and gets out of your way.

For marketers, connected homes with user profiles could give them the ability to target advertising to individual members of the household. Brands can also make recommendations on products based on usage -- when a printer is running out of ink, for example, or when a lamp needs a new light bulb. Mr. Gotlieb predicted that for many products, eventually the "brick and mortar shelf won't exist any more."

Wearables

Wearables were a major theme at CES, helping to fuel a 40% increase in the space occupied by fitness related products, according to Mr. Gotlieb. There were plenty of grumbles about current designs to be heard from attendees but optimism about the future too. "Wearables aren't ready for prime-time," Mr. Gotlieb told one tour. "They will absolutely change your life in three years."

Donning his own Google Glass set, Mr. Gotlieb said the question was whether consumers who get used to wearables will miss them when they take the devices off. He said he does miss Google Glass that way.

Autos

After years of trying to do everything themselves, automakers have finally begun to do deals with outside companies for dashboard apps and navigation, setting off a race between Google and Apple to tie up the big companies and offer consumers new benefits. And General Motors, Honda, Audi,HyundaiGoogle and chip maker Nvidia have formed the Open Automotive Alliance, which will work with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to create an industry standard for connected cars and in-car mobile app ecosystems.

Lexus and Audi used CES to tout their latest advances in self-driving cars, while GM described weather and music apps for its dashboard and plans to begin building 4G LTE hotspots into its vehicles.

"The car is likely to become your most powerful mobile device," Mr. Gotlieb said.

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Wednesday 1 December 2021
Innovation means more than just new products or services. It means improving the process of creating those products, or selling them, or experiencing them, or even improving the ways we manage the people who do all of the above. Perhaps my favorite definition of innovation is Scott Berkun’s: “Innovation is significant positive change.”

That change can apply to products and processes, or it can apply to people.

Recently, the Institute for Corporate Productivity published a study surveying some of the top companies and people in the fields of management and innovation. They examined some of the best people management practices at organizations known for innovation and found several ways that those companies develop and manage their human capital. In summarizing their findings, here are 10 human capital practices that drive innovation:

  1. Use Technology to Collaborate and Share Knowledge. Collaboration drives creativity and innovation, and social media and conferencing technologies can help bring people together (or virtually together) more often for that collaboration.
  2. Promote Innovation as an Organizational Value. The most innovative companies didn’t just luck into hiring creative people; they placed creative and even average people into creative cultures.
  3. Include Innovation as a Leadership Development Competency. Part of building an innovative culture is having leaders who value creativity, and are creative themselves.
  4. Tie Compensation to Innovation. The jury is still deliberating the influence of incentives on creativity, but their use in organizations sends a signal that innovation is valued. That signal is an important part of culture building.
  5. Develop an “Idea-finding” Program. As we’ve discussed elsewhere,

    ">it’s not enough to have great ideas. Innovative companies build a system that taps into the collective knowledge of everyone and lets everyone promote good ideas.

  6. Fund Outside Projects. It might sound counterintuitive to allow funding to develop projects that are technically outside your organization, but as market boundaries continue to blur, strategic innovation partnerships become even more important.
  7. Train for Creativity. Creativity isn’t innate. Creative thinking skills can be developed and the most innovative companies fund training programs to develop them.
  8. Create a Review Process for Innovative Ideas. Even the best ideas don’t come fully formed. There is a process to refining, developing and identifying the ideas with the most market potential. Creating a review process allows this to happen and signals that innovative ideas are valued.
  9. Recruit for Creative Talent. Especially at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The war for talent is slowing shifting its focus from quantitative minds to creative ones.
  10. Reward Innovation with Engaging Work. Research demonstrates that companies that are able to identify their most creative employees can enhance their creative ability by providing them autonomy to work on projects that are naturally interesting to them.

These ten practices might not be a prescription for how to shift a stuck culture to a creative one, but they are a good start. Consistently innovative companies are engaged in some or all of these practices. Perhaps it’s time to take a look at your own firm and see how many you’re engaged in.

David Burkus —  April 10, 2013

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Wednesday 1 December 2021

Vijay Govindarajan and Jatin Desai published, last September, an interesting article on innovation intent :

Innovation intent answers the question, “What will innovation give me that nothing else will?” It clarifies strategic direction for your innovation focus and efforts.

To help clarify innovation intent, pose these questions to your most senior leaders:

1. How much more cost savings can we squeeze out of our current business? Are the incremental savings worth the time spent by managers?

2. How much more top-line growth can we achieve out of our current business? Is the cost of new-customer acquisition going up?

3. To generate real wealth, how many share-increasing-tactics remain to be tested beyond the ones already tried, such as buy-backs, spin-offs, and other forms of financial engineering?

4. To achieve scale, how many more mergers and acquisitions can be absorbed before altering the business model and losing strategic focus?

5. How different is the business model and the value proposition it offers compared to others in the marketplace?

Innovation intent must be vividly clear for everyone in your organization, especially at the top. The intent must be concise to help drive alignment to business initiatives and must help articulate specific employee behaviors necessary at all levels for an innovation climate to take root. When designed correctly, innovation intent is clearly linked to and driven by the business strategy.

To read the complete article: HBR, September 2013

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Wednesday 1 December 2021

innovation_productHBR has recently published a really interesting post on the potential non-customers is generating innovation in an organization.

Some of the most successful and disruptive innovations stem from a company’s ability to tap into demand from non-customers in its market category. The challenge, of course, is to identify whythese people aren’t customers already. Once you know why potential customers aren’t buying your product, you can develop innovations to make your product more appealing to them.

The key is to segment according to reasons for not buying products in your category.  These typically fall into one of six categories:

- Economic:  People lack access to cash or credit
- Functional:  The product does not help people achieve what they want to achieve
- Educational: People don’t know how to use the product or even what it can do
- Access: People can’t buy the product because it is not readily available to them
- Social: The product doesn’t conform to religious or social norms
- Emotional: The product triggers negative emotions.

See on HBR

Patrick Sirois

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Wednesday 1 December 2021

Innovation is the main reason why business succeed. Why? Because innovation means change and if you embrace change, there's more chance your competition will become obsolete.

But innovation has many pitfalls. The main three are:

1. Risk. Innovators must embrace risk. One has to take the decision not having all the cards in his hands.

2. Experience. Being involved in the same industry or the same company for several years is a formidable trap. Just take the time to think of the most innovative companies in recent years. How many innovations are "homegrowned"? Think of Tesla, Uber, Go Pro. Why leaders in these industries (IE. GM, Taxi Cies, Canon) are not THE innovators? Because we all live with paradigms!

3. The love at first sight. Falling in love with his idea or invention is probably the biggest risk that threatens the innovator. The later should constantly ask himself: Who will buy my product or service? How much is he (she) willing to pay? And more importantly, what problem I want to solve?

You recognize yourself in one of these situations? Get out of your comfort zone and dare to take a few more risks!

Patrick Sirois
www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.


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Wednesday 1 December 2021

Most of the entrepreneurs that I coach have plenty of ideas. Most of the companies that I work with have more ideas than $$. So what should you do with those (many) ideas? Here's a clever seven-step technique for developing ideas you can actually use to solve business problems. Brainstorming is only the first step to innovation!

1. Define the problem and solution space. The aim here is create boundaries in the idea-generation process. What customer problem are you trying to solve? "Constraining the problem and solution space forces idea generators to delve into an area," note the authors. "The result is typically a much broader range of ideas that are on target and have real potential to move forward toward impact."

For example, Innosight recently attempted to solve a problem involving the distribution of drugs for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB). Along with their partners, they decided to focus on the drug supply chain. This boundary allowed Innosight to deemphasize other problematic areas (drug development, diagnosis, geopolitics).

2. Break the problem down. Use a visual technique, like diagramming. For Innosight, this meant mapping each part of the MDR-TB drug supply chain. They then were able to literally see all of the barriers to effective distribution. All told, they identified 12 barriers.

3. Make the problem personal. How do you make a business problem personal? By getting down in the trenches and observing the individuals who are affected by the problem (and who would also be affected by your proposed solutions). "The goal is to make it as real as possible to the people who will be generating ideas," they write.

4. Seek the perspectives of outsiders. In other words, don't solve the problem in a vacuum.  In this case, Innosight and its partners sought out public health experts, retail supply chain managers, and technology experts. "Having supply chain experts in each breakout group allowed us to make connections very quickly between specific chokepoints in the MDR-TB system and other supply chains where similar problems have been solved," they note.

5. Diverge before you converge. You want to breed some conflict into your discussions. Otherwise--as we all know--a meeting can quickly devolve into a time waster, where precious minutes are lost on the first ideas to be voiced, rather than what might be the best ideas. The solution? "Start by asking participants to write down as many ideas as they can individually for five to 10 minutes. In our experience, the technique has two benefits. First, it gives introverts--who may be shy about sharing their suggestions in a larger group setting--a chance to maximize their contribution. Second, having lots of ideas on paper before the discussion begins prevents the group from rallying around any specific solution too soon."

6. Create "idea resumes." An idea resume is one-page document listing the following attributes: how customers will learn about it or access it; what resources or processes are needed to make it a reality; and how the solution will achieve economic sustainability. The benefit of idea resumes is that (when they're finished) they allow all involved parties to scan and share ideas, in a way that invites "apples-to-apples" comparisons and "ensures that ideas are evaluated on their merits rather than on how well they are pitched."

7. Create a plan to learn. Your ideas, no matter how pristine they appear on their "resumes," will all contain assumptions that need testing. So the seventh step is to design these tests, and to spell out what you aim to learn from them. "And for businesses hoping to translate ideas into action," note the authors, "this is where the real work begins."

See the original article on http://www.inc.com/ilan-mochari/7-steps-ideas-into-action.html?cid=sf01001

Patrick Sirois

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Wednesday 1 December 2021

Product management is an organizational lifecycle function within a company dealing with the planning, forecasting, or marketing of a product or products at all stages of the product lifecycle.

product manager investigates, selects and drives the development of products performing the activities of product managementWhile the function of product manager is still in its infancy in some organisations, most large companies already have their product managers within their teams. Think Exfo, Steris or Stryker Medical, to name a few.

But what is a product manager?

Product Manager led the product meets the needs of the market throughout product life cycle, ensuring giving profit to the company. - Indian Product Manager

Here is an interesting graph that shows what is a Product Manager:

Who are the Product Managers

 

 

Genevieve Pelletier
gpelletier@triode.ca

 

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.




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Wednesday 1 December 2021

The 5 principles of Design Thinking for better product / service strategy

A survey of CEOs revealed that 80% of them thought they were delivering excellent service to their customers but only 8% of the customers agreed with them!

This is likely because business people often define customer service as problem solving, and despite the importance of that aspect, it is definitely not the whole story.

Current research shows that better service design can help businesses attract new customers, keep them for longer and create more value for them. The principles of Design Thinking demonstrate how putting the customer first can push a business forward.

  1. User Centered

    user_centered_triodeAnalyze who your customers are and what they want. This goes beyond simple statistical data, which doesn't actually tell you much about the people behind the dry facts. Instead, focus on what your customers need and want. For instance, Nike understands that its customers are not just buying shoes; they are buying into a healthy lifestyle. The company created a product called Fuel Band which connects the shoe to GPS and social sharing so that users can measure their training and compare it with how their friends are doing.

  1. Co-Creative

    co_creative_triodeWork with all the stakeholders to create the best possible product. Stakeholders are executives, employees and customers. The customers must be involved in the process in order to produce the best possible solution to their problems. Don't forget to ask the customers what they are searching for and what features would convince them that they have found it.

 

  1. Sequencing

    sequencing_triode How is the mood of the customer affected by the product or service? Is the service too slow, causing the customer to lose patience? Or, is it perhaps too fast, overwhelming the customer and leading him to give up on the service? For example, Hailo is a taxi firm app which allows customers to easily find a trusted cab service and eliminates the need to pay in cash. The developers have clearly thought about how to create a service which makes the customer feel calm and happy so that he is more likely to write a positive review of the cab ride and to use the service in the future.

  1. Evidencing

    evidencing_triode Some services are invisible and you don't notice you are enjoying them unless someone points it out. Customers don't want to be reminded they are getting something from you only when the bill arrives. It's like mints on the pillow at a hotel room. You take for granted that the beds are made and don't even think of it until you are reminded by the chocolates placed on top of them. Storytelling can be used to prolong the experience and help consumers visualize intangible services.

  1. Holistic

    holistic_triode Keep the feelings of the customer in mind at every point in the service process. The customer's final experience is based on a series of small experiences throughout the process and is not limited to purchase. Look at pre- and post-purchase experiences to get it right. Consider offering a free gift AFTER purchase when the customer no longer expects it.

 

Incorporating Design Thinking into your development process is a fantastic way to create better products and services that will make your business profitable. The most effective way to do this is to hire Design Thinking experts who will train all employees in the basics and give more advanced training to a more select group who will lead the others in the application of the principles of Design Thinking.

 

Patrick Sirois

 

Note: This article is part of a series of articles about Design Thinking and its benefits for medical device companies and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM).

 

Triode helps you reduce the risks you face with new product development in complex, regulated industries such as medical devices and transportation equipment. We identify potentieal problems early on, help you mitigate them, and work with you side-by-side to define, execute and deliver successful projects on-time and on-budget.

 

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Wednesday 1 December 2021

Design Thinking: The latest Innovation Process.
So what Is Design Thinking and who thought of it?

Design thinking is a creative process which focuses on solutions instead of problems. It combines contextualizing problems, generating insights and executing solutions. While scientific thinking concentrates first on all the possible problems, design thinking focuses on problems and solutions simultaneously. In the corporate world, ideas are compared with customer expectations and technological feasibility to produce the most optimal product whether its a new medical device or a new customer experience.

DESIGN-THINKING-GRAPH-TRIODE

Herbert A. Simon, in his book, The Sciences of the Artificial (1969), was the first to consider design as a way of thinking. He proposed that creative thinking had to be based on an open and evolving solution, without specific final goals.

In the 1980s, Nigel Cross recognized that in this type of thinking the most important element was the designer's instinct. What seems like intuition is in fact analytical thinking and abductive leaps. Picture a designer standing on one side of a big hole and trying to reach the other side. According to Cross, he is not simply jumping and hoping to land on the other side. Instead, he builds a bridge with his creative reasoning which he then uses to walk safely across.

Richard Buchanan influenced the academic study of design thinking greatly in 1992, when he connected it with innovation. He listed four primary disciplines where design thinking is used:

  1.  Symbolic and visual communication (what we call today graphic design)
  2.  The design of material objects (product design)
  3.  Activities and organized services (service design)
  4.  The design of complex systems or environments for living, working, playing and learning (policy/urban planning design)

Note that not all the disciplines mentioned by Buchanan have a classic "design" element to them.

At the same time that design thinking was becoming a topic of discussion, a movement called participatory design was gaining momentum. In this approach, all the stakeholders such as partners, employees and manufacturers participated in the design problem. The disadvantage of this approach was that it ignored the feelings of the end-user. Although usability was taken into account, the emotions of the customer were ignored, especially if they conflicted with the goals of the designers. User-generated design was an improved method which veered away from efficiency and focused on the user's experience and needs.

Design thinking has since broadened into human-centered design, which takes into account everyone involved in the product and its effect on holistic community development. Design thinking provides organizations with a deeper understanding of their consumers as individuals, increases the volume, breadth, quality and relevancy of ideas and accelerates the speed at which ideas develop.

Now you probably ask: What’s in it for me?  This will be part of upcoming blog posts.

 

Patrick Sirois

www.triodemedicaldevice.com

Note: This article is part of a series of articles about Design Thinking and its benefits for medical device companies and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM).

 

Triode is a consulting firm specialized in product strategy. We help our clients to reduce delay and risks in product development with a better understanding and identification of customers needs (Market analysis and Voice of the customer) and makes a difference with a product plan.

 

Sources:

 

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Wednesday 1 December 2021

Inadequate instructions, component issues, and assembly errors—those are but some of the causes behind recent medical device recalls and serious warnings announced by the FDA.

Here are some of the major medical device failure events since January:

7 Recent Medical Device Failures Catching FDA's Eye | Qmed.

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Wednesday 1 December 2021

A short animation explaining the basics of service design by Yosef Shuman.

Why was this made? Service design is based on research, developing ideas and testing experiences.

http://vimeo.com/88455206

Triode is a consulting firm specialized in product strategy. We help our clients to reduce delay and risks in product development with a better understanding and identification of customers needs (Market analysis and Voice of the customer) and makes a difference with a product plan

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Wednesday 1 December 2021

Want to innovate? Start by asking questions... and make sure you listen.

Ask questions to your customers ... you may find new opportunities!

Ask about your product / service.

Understanding your customers and their behavior is crucial. We often strive to get inside their minds to understand what they buy and how they buy it. It may be more important, however, to take the time to understand their problems. This requires a level of thought and empathy that goes beyond the mere discussion.

Identify issues (friction points) of your customers and you have made a step towards the creation of an innovative product that meets their higher needs!

For this reason, companies must constantly seek "feedback" from their customers. Their answers should be used as inputs to the development of new products.

Ask about your competitors.

Ask-questions-to-your-customersIn order to effectively improve your customer experience, it is also useful to consider your competitors. Understand how you rank against the competition gives you a unique perspective when it comes to innovation. In today's economy, this awareness is crucial for the survival of your business.

To improve your product lines, you must ask about your competitors!

What do they do better? What are their weaknesses? What distinguishes you? Through a review of the issues, you can get to understand where your business can improve. By asking questions about your competitors, you can learn how to put your business apart from the pack and focus on innovation.

In the end, innovation is far from being out of reach of SMEs. By asking the right questions, you get answers that force you to think about your future, and you can focus the work on projects that have a future... and avoid the “flavor of the month".

The most important questions are those we DARE TO ASK!

Patrick Sirois

Triode is a consulting firm specialized in product strategy. We help our clients to reduce delay and risks in product development with a better understanding and identification of customers needs (Market analysis and Voice-of-the-customer) and makes a difference with a product plan.

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Wednesday 1 December 2021
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Wednesday 1 December 2021

Very interesting slideshow posted by MDDI last week:

It's not just Obamacare that is influencing the medical devices world. These five individuals and organizations are also changing our industry and how we perceive it.

View Five MedTech Influencers you should know (slideshow) here.

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Wednesday 1 December 2021

If you are going to create a product that fulfills the needs of the customer, you have no choice but to listen to what the customer has to say. Steve Jobs had been known to say that all of Apple's breakthrough innovations have come from listening to customers. However, he did also say that focus groups and customer surveys did not yield the same results. That's because those tools are useful for tweaking existing products, but they won't help you innovate.

imgres source: www.marketing-demystified.com

Customers only know what they like and don't like from the products that are already out there. They can't possibly imagine emerging technologies or extremely innovative ideas. Asking them what they want is going to yield mundane results that won't translate into a superior product. Instead, ask customers how they want a product to make them feel and what they want it to do for them.

In order to create value in your customers' lives, you need to understand who they are, how they live and what they want. Figuring out what their values are helps you understand what objects and services are important in their lives. If appreciation for beauty is a core value for your potential customers, a focus on the appearance of your product is in order. If freedom is an important value, the product should free up the customer's time for other pursuits.

Also crucial to the Voice of Customer process, is the mapping out of the process a customer goes through in the consuming of a product or service. First, there is the pre-decision thinking, then the actual purchase - whether online or offline, and finally, the actual consuming of the product. By talking to the customer, observing him, and pretending to be him, you can come up with ways to make the product more valuable.

Many entrepreneurs believe that they have figured it all out, and that they know what value they provide. But in fact,

" target="_blank"> the customers are the ones that decide whether your product has value - and what it is. That's why Voice of Customer is so crucial.

Patrick Sirois
www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.



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Wednesday 1 December 2021

Voice of the CustomerA crucial part of a successful product strategy is understanding what the customers' needs are. This process if called Voice of the Customer (VOC) and should be conducted as soon as possible in the product development.

Information should be gathered from a variety of sources, including individual interviews, contextual inquiry and ethnographic techniques. All of these involve in-depth interviews with potential customers, focusing on their experiences with current products and/or alternatives. After the interviews are conducted, VOC professionals compile a list of needs and organize it into a hierarchy according to the needs expressed by different types of customers.

Market studies have been around for a long time but they are typically labor intensive and ineffective. Companies sent out annual or twice a year surveys with a ton of questions to their customers. Most customers get tired just looking at it so response rates are low. Analyzing the surveys which were returned is a big undertaking and do not reveal much information.

The Voice of the Customer solution takes customer feedback and organizes it into a unified approach which describes the customer experience across multiple channels. It then derives insights from the feedback and presents it the the company in an easy to digest and actionable way.

VOC is still in its infancy; the market is currently between $400 million and $600 million in revenue. But the market is expected to grow as more companies recognize the value of obtaining valuable data which helps them develop a strategy for satisfying their customers' needs. VOC is an affordable solution, since technology allows data to be collected easily. So VOC is not limited to the large enterprises, and small and medium sized businesses are discovering its benefits as well.

Patrick Sirois
www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define your product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.



 

 

 

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Wednesday 1 December 2021

You’ve developed a great new product and are ready to launch it to the world. Any good business strategist will tell you that before you launch, you need a product strategy. A product strategy is defined by businessdictionary.com as “a plan for marketing a good that is founded upon an analysis of the nature of the intended market, how much market share is to be achieved, how the good is to be marketed and how much profit is anticipated. Most business marketing directors will develop a clear and realistic product strategy prior to the launch of a new product into its intended market.” If that sounds like a lot of work and a big investment, you’re not wrong. But the benefits far outweigh the inconvenience.

DESIGN-THINKING-GRAPH-TRIODE

What are the benefits of investing in product strategy?

Company strategy - A product doesn’t stand on its own; rather it is part of the development of an entire company. It’s important to figure out how each product marketed by the company fits into the growth strategy of the company. This helps with allocating resources and prioritizing projects.

Ownership of the process -  Development, marketing and company strategy are all involved in a product’s launch and that can cause chaos. A well-thought out strategy assigns ownership of the process to one of the departments, ensuring that decisions are carried through.

Collaboration - A product strategy spells out how the various departments will work together to reach the final goals. When the process is clear and known to everyone, collaboration is simple and conflicts are easily resolved.

Uniqueness - Each product must follow a different process, so a unique strategy is necessary for each one. For instance, a breakthrough product will require a determination of whether there is a need for the innovation, while a mature product will benefit from being optimized for efficiency.

Foundation for other corporate processes - A successful product strategy serves as a basis for other corporate decisions, such as budgets and HR.

Product strategies are not just for large businesses with equally large budgets. Not matter what size your business is, investing in a product strategy at the outset will ultimately save you time and money. It will ensure you create a better product, succeed at marketing it and move closer to your big picture corporate goals.

Patrick Sirois
www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define your product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.



 

 

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Wednesday 1 December 2021

A famous saying quoted by many CEOs is that “gambling, divorce and innovation are the best ways to lose money.” But recently, businesses have started to see the benefits of design thinking for making money through innovation. CEOs start to see that design thinking leads to happier customers, which of course leads to more sales.

Today’s companies are undergoing three major shifts, with the help of design thinking:

  • A shift from business to customer-centricity;
  • From product to services development;
  • And a change in mindset from entirely analytical to imaginative.

One company which can demonstrate return on investment for design thinking and a shift toward service development is tech manufacturer Xerox. Xerox was close to bankruptcy a few years ago, until design thinkers were brought in to transform the company completely. Xerox started to offer holistic facilities management for companies, encouraging paperless offices. They continued to market office supplies and provided round the clock cover both for their services and their products. Xerox reduced its manufacturing costs and grew its customer base, including a large contract from the UK government.

Pingit Barclays' app

An example of customer-centric design which provides ROI is the Barclays Pingit app. This app allows customers to make payments to anybody in their contact list without needing their bank details. They can also receive payments without having to reveal their details and will get an SMS when the transaction has been made. The added convenience and security lead to customer satisfaction and more online payments.

Unilever, Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor, and the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition used an imaginative approach to find the best way to sell clean water and health and nutrition products. They set up a fake company in Kenya, which sold the products both in kiosks and through delivery services. The salespeople were given scripts to test different ways to reach customers effectively. The organizations discovered that quality water was the driver of sales, that their customers trusted brand names, that the women in the family were the main purchasers of healthy products and that deliveries at the weekends made the most sales. They utilized all of this information to set up a successful business. This is a good example of Design Thinking Principle #4: Evidencing.

As design thinking has made inroads into twenty-first century businesses, more companies are jumping on the bandwagon and healthcare organizations like the Mayo Clinic and GE Healthcarehave found innovative ways to make healthcare both more patient-centric and more efficient. For more information on how design thinking can play a part in your organization, see our previous post, Bringing Design Thinking into Your Organization.

 

Patrick Sirois
www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.



 

 

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Wednesday 1 December 2021

Bringing Design Thinking into Your Healthcare Organization

Healthcare organizations like the Mayo Clinic, Procter & Gamble and GE Healthcare are integrating design thinking into their company culture, in order to boost innovation and bottom lines. A 2003 Danish Design Center study showed that over a five-year period, companies using design thinking had a 40% revenue boost over companies who had not made the transition. But how do you bring design thinking into your organization?

Large healthcare organizations can benefit both from hiring in-house design thinkers and from training their entire staff to think like designers. Training workshops are geared toward changing the corporate culture and the way individual employees think about problems and solutions. Employees use various techniques, such as comic book reading, writing a haiku and mapping patient experiences, to open their minds to new ways of thinking.

The first steps in design thinking are often uncomfortable for businesses. Employees are used to thinking of solutions and not concerning themselves with the process by which they reach them or taking into account the full user experience. But when management is on board and supports the efforts of the training team, employees quickly learn to enjoy the sessions and to see how design thinking can help the business grow.

Introduction to Design Thinking Workshop by DesingThinkingSG Introduction to Design Thinking Workshop by DesingThinkingSG

In the United States, Proctor & Gamble facilitates design thinking workshops that bring together employees from across its departments, including R&D, market research, and purchasing. Employees are taught to use design methods such as visualization and prototyping to solve real problems for the company. As a result of these workshops, P &G has seen a significant rise in ideas and products inspired by design thinking.

 

 

GE Healthcare has an in-house team of 60 working on solving healthcare issues, utilizing the principles of design thinking. Employees are rewarded not just for finding solutions, but for the traits that led them there, including clear thinking, inclusiveness, and imagination. The team has found creative ways to make medical procedures more pleasant for the patient, reducing stress and improving overall health.

For some companies, an in-house team or internal workshop is not the answer. Instead, they bring in consultants from design thinking companies, who specialize in training employees to consider themselves designers. They bridge the gap between the process-driven and the design-driven and show all staff members how they can truly innovate and improve healthcare for patients, doctors and supporting medical personnel.

Patrick Sirois
www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.



 

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Wednesday 1 December 2021

Design thinking case study: GE Healthcare

We have talked about the origin and the principles of Design Thinking in past blog posts. But how do a company really use the design thinking approach to redefine a service or a product? Here an interesting example at GE Healtcare.

Medical procedures can be scary for patients, and medical personnel are often wrapped up in the technical aspects and emotions can easily be ignored. To improve the user experience for both patients and doctors, GE Healthcare has set up a team of 60 design thinkers.

The first step in the GE process was to observe each step in the process of a medical procedure. Often, when users are asked to describe the process, they leave out crucial parts of it, because they don't notice they are doing certain things, such as fumbling with wires and tubes. Once the process is mapped out and the problems are pinpointed, it's time to look for solutions.

Source : Linda Alexander Source : Linda Alexander

Empathy for the patients was the first step toward understanding how they felt during the process.

The team came up with the idea of making medical equipment look more like everyday objects, to reduce the disconnect. An MRI machine was designed to remind patients of open hands, in order to install calming feelings. The inside of the device can be decorated subtly with patterns and shapes, so patients have something to look at while the exam is going on. Some MRI devices offer the patient a choice of various musical backgrounds, visual scenery and mood-lighting. Offering the patient a choice gives him some control in a scary and uncertain time.

Bob Schwartz, General Manager of Global Design and User Experience at GE Healthcare, partnered his design thinking team with students from the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD) to innovate specifically in the field of breast cancer.

One innovation was a hospital gown that looks more like clothing and can be worn around and outside of the hospital without embarrassment. Another design eliminated the need for intravenous poles, encasing the device inside a transportable bag. This makes it easier for cancer patients to be mobile inside the hospital.

Schwartz has said that the success of his team is due not only to creative thinking, but to an organizational atmosphere, in which ensembles of people work together and hierarchy is non-existent. The team uses techniques such as ideation and theatrical improvisation to get the creative juices flowing and to spark their imagination.

 

Patrick Sirois

www.triode.ca

 

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.


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Wednesday 1 December 2021

In the twentieth century, much emphasis was put on introspection: the process of looking inwards to understand ourselves. In this century, people are instead focusing outwards, trying to develop empathy toward other individuals and groups. Empathy is a useful concept for living a better life, solving political concepts and dreaming up more creative business ideas.

Design thinking is actually predicated on empathy. Innovators try to understand who their clients are and what they want in order to produce a product or service which is actually useful to them. For example, 20 years ago it was common for social service experts to design programs they thought the system needed. Unsurprisingly, it transpired that these were not the programs that the clientele was in need of, so they didn’t succeed. Now, design thinking and empathy are used to design programs which actually fit the needs of the people they serve.

istockphoto.com/15241510 Source : istockphoto/15241510

Empathy is particularly important when thinking about design for healthcare. Medical services can be scary and uncomfortable, so it’s imperative that understanding of the patients’ fears and needs is at the basis of design for medical devices, clinics, services etc. And empathy is not limited only to the unfortunate (i.e. the patients) but should be extended to the medical personnel, including doctors, nurses and medical secretaries. When their job is smoother, the patients and the system as a whole benefit.

At Triode, empathy with others starts with the simplest of concepts: conversation. Discussing problems and needs with CEOs, employees of different departments, current and potential customers and the public at large can all help in understanding what type of product or service is really needed. The Mayo Clinic talked to both patients and doctors about the medical clinic experience  and redesigned their exam rooms entirely, to include separate spaces for exams and for consultation.

Once the various needs are outlined, the next step of the design process is the product strategy, which aims to solve as many of the issue as possible with an innovative product or service. When goals are defined, it’s time to brainstorm different concepts and test them out in order to evaluate them. Empathy is crucial at this level as well, since evaluation must be done by the potential users in order to determine whether the problems outlined have actually been solved. Only once they have been, is it time to move on to development and production.

Patrick Sirois

www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.

 

 

 

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Wednesday 1 December 2021

A case study from the healthcare industry at Mayo Clinic

Design thinking is a vital tool in fostering innovation and delivering services which make the consumer feel good about his or her experience. The Mayo Clinic has an entire lab devoted to utilizing design thinking for improving people's interactions with the healthcare system.

The Mayo Clinic's Design Research Studio observes patients, interviews families, and conducts traditional consumer research. It also visualizes, models, prototypes and tests possible health care delivery solutions,  in order to create innovations that will transform health care delivery. Using the approach of design thinking, researchers decide early on in the process whether a prototyped solution should be developed into a product or abandoned. This leads to more efficient use of funds and the transferring of knowledge from one project to the next.

Photo of a Jack and Jill exam room Design Thinking in action - Mayo Clinic

One of the most impactful innovations was in the redesign of the clinic's exam rooms. The rooms had not be redesigned in 100 years, despite drastic changes in physician-patient interaction, tools, technology and processes. The Design Research Studio experimented with different models in actual physician-patient meetings. The researchers discovered that despite the fact that much medical care consists of discussions between patient and doctor, the exam rooms were not pleasant spaces for conversations due to the abundance of medical equipment. And doctors wished for more flexibility in moving medical equipment around the room, but were limited in space because of the abundance of furniture.

This problem led to innovative clinic rooms called Jack and Jill rooms. A room for conversations between doctors and patients is comfortable and tranquil, extending discussions and allowing for more effective consultations which can include family members as well. The adjoining exam rooms (reached through a connecting door) are more conducive to examinations, since there is more empty space and devices can be moved around.

Design Thinking Process as put by the Mayo Clinic

The Mayo Clinic has found a way to put the patient at the center of medical care. The concept of a human-focused design process makes for a more positive experience for the patient, which in turn leads him to visit his doctor more often, listen better to instructions and discuss concerns more freely.

 

Patrick Sirois
www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.



 

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Wednesday 1 December 2021

Article from Medical Device Business 


From a zipper-like wound closure device that can be peeled off at home to a telemedicine robot, there are plenty of ingenious devices included as finalists in this year’s Medical Design Excellence Awards.

It is worth noting, however, that the array of finalists reflect many of the major trends presently taking place in the medtech space, including a greater focus on patient experience, more minimally invasive technology, doing more with less—much more. (The awards winners will be announced in June at MD&M East in New York City.)

Here are six top medtech trend insights gleaned from the MDEA judges’ comments:

1. Attention to Patient Experience

One would think this is a given. But with device companies selling to health practitioners versus patients, over the years, many devices were designed more for clinicians than the patients whom they were used on. The Affordable Care Act, however, has changed Medicare reimbursements to incentivize health providers to better manage patient populations. In addition, patients are generally becoming more vocal about medical technology, and, in recent years, patient advocates have made plain their desire for everything from easier-to-use insulin pumps to ICDs that provide open access to the data they gather.

One of the things I’ve seen specifically is an attention to the patient experience and the benefits for patients. I think this is extremely important because at one time or another we’re all patients, says George Walls, director, product and market development, for ZOLL, an Asahi Kasei Group company.

Given that, I think it’s really important for us as the medical device community to really focus on the patients, the outcomes, and delivering them in the best way that’s usable for the physician and that’s economical for the healthcare system. I think if we keep our eye on that target that irrespective of what happens around us, collectively as an industry we’ll be successful, Walls says.

Freestyle
An MDEA finalist, the FreeStyle device from Abbott Care can boost the efficacy of diabetes care while helping patients avoid expensive complications. It's a great example of the type of intuitiveness and ease of use that people take for granted with smartphones—but still sorely lack with medical devices. Demand for such easy-to-use devices will likely continue to grow in the medical space.

Tor Alden, principal of HS Design, noticed more simplicity among this year’s entries, and the idea of getting the product to the patient as easily and quick as possible.

So with robotics or delivery device systems, anything to shorten the path from product to patient. The bigger trend is empowerment for patients, Alden says.

Another trend that dovetails with patient experience is the uptick in telemedicine, which has been long hyped but has yet been slow to take off until recently. The vast majority of U.S. patients—74% according to a Cisco survey of thousands of Americans—would seem to prefer avoiding office visits with doctors when possible. “They do not want to wait an hour for a 7-minute face-to-face visit; they would rather have this visit in the comfort of wherever they are, at home or on-the-go, and have this visit via secure video or another type of communication,” explained prominent cardiologist Eric Topol, MD, in a recent blog post.

2. Greater Use of Minimally Invasive Technology

There has recently been an uptick in technologies that make possible minimally invasive procedures. Such devices are popular with hospitals in that they help reduce procedure time, while decreasing complication rates and minimizing readmissions, says Stephanie Kreml, MD, principal at Popper and Co. “A lot of these devices are trying to target ergonomic issues and process flow issues to allow procedures to be shorter and to decrease the overall cost of care,” she explains.

In addition, minimally invasive technologies are being employed to treat patients that would have been untreatable even a few years ago. For instance, not long ago, there was little doctors could do for an elderly and frail patient with aortic stenosis—narrowing of the aortic valve. More robust patients could be treated using conventional valve replacement, which involves open heart surgery. But now, even frail, inoperable patients can receive a new aortic valve, thanks to the debut of transcatheter heart valves.

MicroCutter
The MicroCutter XCHANGE 30 stapler from Cardica Inc. (Redwood City, CA) is the smallest-diameter articulating stapling device on the market. The device is less than half the size of competing models and offers almost twice as much the articulation, enabling it to potentially access anatomy that was previously impossible to reach with a stapler.

Transcatheter heart valves illustrate a broader trend—the expanded use of catheters to deploy medical devices. St. Jude and Medtronic are developing tiny leadless pacemakers that can be implanted in this manner.

There is also an uptick in innovations related to endoscopes, which enable surgeons to probe deep into the body through minimal incisions. In addition, laparoscopes, which are similar to endoscopes, but have a camera and lighting attached, are widely used to treat disorders sound within the abdominal and pelvic regions.

3. Doing More with Less

The demand to reduce costs also has health providers demanding medical devices that allow them to do more with less.

“I think medical device fields are getting more competitive, and there’s less available resources now than ever before. So I think it’s actually making the good products and good device makers more lean and makes them produce more better, efficient devices,” says Jonathan Lee, quality improvement director at Scripps Mercy Hospital.

It’s bad time, and it’s also a good time, Lee says.

4. Revamping Old Technologies

The medical technology market is teeming with “me-too” products. Many new products are similar to those of competitors or even previous generation devices. But we are entering an era in which it is no longer profitable for device firms to charge substantially more money for products that are only slightly better than the previous-generation technology. Device firms are increasingly revisiting and revamping their products, says Mary Beth Privitera, director of the Medical Device Engine at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. She cites products that are redesigned to make them easier to use, and the debut of products that address “big problems throughout the hospital system, such as patient transport, moving things in and out.”

Yadin David, founder of Biomedical Engineering Consultants LLC adds that there has been significant integration of legacy systems with new innovation. David notes that many of the entries in this year’s MDEA contest were improvements to products that were assumed to be proven technologies.

5. Consumerization Continues

Medical devices are also increasingly resembling Apple devices. There’s good reason, too, according to Mary Beth Privitera, director of the Medical Device Engine at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

One of the things with the iPad is its very, very user driven. It’s user centric. The user can manipulate information in the way that they want to present it, Privitera says.

She says “medical devices are catching up to that trend, where they’re enabling the healthcare providers to go in there and be able to manipulate the information that they want to see real-time in a manner that they want to.”

Pascal Malassigné, professor at Milwaukee Institute of Art&Design points to a specific OTC product whose packaging also seemed Apple inspired. A finalist in the MDEA competition, the product’s packaging seems Apple-inspired. “ I have a feeling that the design team behind it looked at the Apple product. You get this beautiful book and package itself, and it’s basically a ceremony when you open the box,” he says. “You have the first layer of perhaps a brochure or an item is there. You lift that first tray so to speak, and then you’re going to have another layer of information. And then finally the product is going to be at the end. So nothing was basically left out. The product is absolutely exquisite from a user point of view.”

6. Big Data Picking Up

Data-driven healthcare has emerged as a trendy expression referencing the use of Big Data in medicine. In recent years, however, the medical marketplace has been relatively slow in adopting cloud-based and data analytics technologies to help crunch medical data.

That is changing, however, if the judges’ comments are any indication.

One of the things I see very clearly is the amount of data ... driven into healthcare, in particular in healthcare provider arena, what’s called the point of care. There’s so much information, and there’s a need for so much integration that the products we’re coming up with now are much more intelligent, have more embedded knowledge and processing power within it, and allowing the caregiver to have more efficient use of their skill, David says.

There’s a trend toward being able to capture data in a way that other products that are currently on the market don’t do, says Raj Khandwalla, MD, board-certified cardiologist practicing with the Cedars-Sinai Medical Group (CSMG) and Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute.


This article was posted in Medical Device Business by Chris Newmarker and Brian Buntz on April 17, 2014


At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.


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Wednesday 1 December 2021
source: hubpages.com source: hubpages.com

How often have you purchased a new product and had trouble figuring out how to use it? How many products do you have in your home whose myriad functions you barely take advantage of? When a product is easy to use, we barely notice, but when it’s hard to use it can be really frustrating.

Product managers, designers and developers know their product so well that they can’t imagine anyone would have trouble using it. They forget that the average consumer doesn’t understand their terminology or follow their logic. It’s essential to bring in third parties to get an objective view on how well the product works and how easy it is to use.

In order to avoid developing and marketing a product that users will be frustrated with, usability testing must be conducted early in the development process. The earlier issues are identified and fixed, the less expensive these fixes will be. Each product has a list of specified tasks that a user should be able to undertake. For instance, if you are developing a location-based mobile app, users should be able to easily download the app, connect to GPS and search for and find relevant information. Usability testing can tell you whether users succeeded at these tasks and whether they were able to complete them in a reasonable amount of time. A survey of users will uncover whether they were satisfied with the product and allow developers to identify changes required to improve user performance and satisfaction.

Another reason to conduct usability testing is to see whether people use your product in ways you didn’t anticipate. If users find a new way to use the product, you can improve that feature and emphasize it in your marketing efforts.

In medical devices, usability testing is especially important because of the risk to human life. When mistakes are made in using these devices, the users are usually accused, but often the blame lies with the poorly designed product. Developers of medical devices need to consider who will be using the device, how much experience he has and where he will be using it. Usability testing will lower the number of user errors, reduce risks to patients, lower training costs and reduce cost of support and service.

Patrick Sirois
www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.



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Wednesday 1 December 2021

We’ve been talking about Voice of the Customer and how it can glean insights which help improve and innovate products and services. But who are the customers when we talk about healthcare? Actually, there are two types of customers. Despite the fact that in many healthcare systems, patients do not pay directly to care providers, the patients are still considered customers. The nurses, doctors, technicians etc. are also customers of the healthcare industry and their voice needs to be heard as well.

source: www.infor.com source: www.infor.com

There are a number of methods to obtaining VoC data in healthcare. One way is to follow a patient or doctor through an entire process to see what works and what aspects need improvement. Observing how the customers react to and experience the healthcare process will highlight weaknesses and earmark them for improvement.

Another method is to capture the emotions of the customer experience (known as Emotion Based Design). Instead of recording the customer’s attitudes and opinions, the VoC professionals note the emotions felt by the customer during each step of the process. Patients generally fill out an experience questionnaire and focus groups or interviews are conducted to get a better feel of the patient’s emotions. The goal is to find the touch points in which the patient is actively involved and map high and low emotions to the various touch points.

Next, a patient and staff engagement day is held, where the problem is identified and everyone cooperates in brainstorming ideas. New ideas to improve the process can they be tested in reality and analyzed to see if they are successful.

The advantage of this method is that the customer is involved with the design all the way through the process and not just before and after changes are made. In this way, issues can be dealt with as they come up and not after a final product has been completed that then has to be reworked. The more customers are involved with the process, the more likely it is to be accepted. The customers (i.e. nurses, physisians in this case) take ownership over the innovation and promote it to others, so that it achieves long-term sustainability.

Here’s an example of how VoC can be used to improve healthcare: Observation of patients in an emergency waiting room shows that they are frustrated with long wait times, and surveys after the fact confirm that this is a huge problem. VoC experts investigate processes going on all around the hospital and discover that the root of the problem is in a staff shortage in radiology, which causes test results to come in slower and leads to a backlog in emergency. They recommend a shuffling of the staff schedule in radiology in order to solve the problem.

By involving both internal customers (healthcare professionals) and external customers (patients) in the innovation process, organizations can improve the process of healthcare and improve patient satisfaction. When medical procedures are pleasant, people are more likely to visit clinics and hospitals as soon as they feel something is wrong. This leads to early detection of diseases and an improvement of the overall health of the population.

Patrick Sirois
www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.



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Wednesday 1 December 2021

A short video (3 minutes) that clearly explains what is Design Thinking.

As suggested, the 1 + 5 steps process is describded:

1. Set up a creative working environment

2. Talk to your stakeholders (i.e. users, distributors, customers, etc.) and create the empathy map

3. Define the problem

4. Start to generate ideas to solve the defined problem

5. Choose your favorite idea and start to prototype

6. Test the prototypes and comme back to the empathy map and iterate.

 

Patrick Sirois
www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wednesday 1 December 2021

 

Following these five guidelines will help your project team become a lot more agile and improve your success rate.

Patrick Sirois
www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.


 

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Wednesday 1 December 2021

- Google PrésentationsI have always thought that innovation management should be simple. Most of the CEOs I talk to agree with this approach, yet, when we start to dig into their innovation process.....it's a mess. The process is often complicated and owned only by one department, or even worse, one employee. It is often driven by templates, reports and metrics, despite the fact that not two innovation projects are similar.

Since all projects are different, it makes no sense to use the same process for each one. That would be like training for a 100 meter race the same way you would train for a marathon! We all understand the absurdity of that in sports, but for some reason, in business we try to systemize everything.

Returning to innovation management, it’s obvious that we cannot use the same process for a breakthrough technology as we use for a product improvement project. The problem is that most processes are designed with the full blown project in mind, thus inducing a lot of waste into the system.

What if, at the start of a new project, the team leader would define both the scope of the project and the proper process? This would ensure optimum resource usage and adequate process for the challenge.

For instance, for a low risk project, the project team would have more freedom and project management would therefore be leaner. (Of course, this only works if your team members are accountable.) For a riskier project, the team would report more frequently to the management and the project process would be more collaborative.

In short, adapt the process to the challenge you want to tackle instead of forcing a cookie-cutter process on to the challenge.

Triode believes that each company should develop their own innovation process and we are there to support you in the choice of the appropriate tools and processes. We adapt our quote based on your needs!

Patrick Sirois

www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.


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Wednesday 1 December 2021

Innovation_How to become fast and furiousThese days most companies are actually technology companies. Think connected watches, driver less cars and automated assembly lines. And in technology, speed is the name of the game; the quicker a company can innovate and produce a product the better it fares in competition with others in the same industry.

If you are responsible for product innovation at your company, you probably feel a lot of pressure on your shoulders. To pick up the pace of product innovation, since hyper-competition is a reality for most of us.

Why is there so much pressure to innovate quickly? According to Forrester Research, Forrsights Budgets and Priorities Tracker Survey (2012), the top 3 drivers for innovation pace acceleration are:

  • Rising pressure to reduce costs (70%)
  • The need to improve the capabilities of your product/service (70%)
  • Increasing expectations from customers (68%)

And speeding up the innovation pace benefits your business in many ways, primarily:

  • Delivering product that customers actually want
  • Short-cutting your competition
  • Generating more revenue rapidly

Unfortunately, most new product development projects are hit by delays. According to Forrester Research, the reasons for these delays are as follows:

  • Unclear or changing requirements (53%)
  • Quality issues (36%)
  • Delayed decisions (27%)

In order to avoid these setbacks, you need to be efficient and stop working in silos. Work as a team instead to accomplish more in less time.

One of the top three success factors is getting the timing right. If you wait until you have all the answers to get moving...it is usually too late.

The second success factor in innovation pace acceleration is continually listening to your customers. After all, you (should!) design products to meet their needs. And it is quite challenging to question your "current" customers about their "future" needs!

Lastly, the small steps approach is always better. Look for small wows instead of chasing THE big home run.

Keep these three principles in mind and you will see your innovation speed up and with it the ability to compete with the best companies in your industry.

Patrick Sirois
www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.



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Wednesday 1 December 2021

lippincottWhen the CEO of the company that invented the Coca-Cola swirl and the Starbucks logo agrees to share some of his secrets, we should all listen carefully. Rick Wise of Lippincott writes about how his company melds creativity and practicality to make the most out of the design thinking approach.

Wise’ first strategy is to hire employees who are multi-faceted: his executives are a little bit creative and his designers are good businesspeople. Next, he looks at ways to bring these employees’ various interests and talents into the workplace. Whether their hobbies involve photography, fashion, or writing, a truly creative business will find ways to incorporate them into the creative process. In this way, experiences and emotions are brought into the work environment and the development process.

The Lippincott business model is based on democracy and collaboration. Meetings are open to any and all staff members who wish to express their opinions and brainstorm. After the initial ideas are batted around by a large group of people, the responsible department focuses the discussion and narrows down the possibilities. The company is careful to treat strategists and designers equally, including paying them equal salaries, to make it clear that both aspects of the process are equally important. Collaboration between the two disciplines is not mandated and broken down into tasks in a project management system; instead employees decide themselves how to divide up the work on a case-by-case basis.

The rules at Lippincott are purposely not rigid. Day-to-day operations allow for a lot of flexibility so that creativity can properly flourish. On the flip side, employees are treated to the big picture of goals and budgets so they know where the limits are.

Lippincott has had much success with these methods, using them to help clients go in new directions and broaden their outlook on the products they produce. How can your business incorporate these methods to foster creativity and ask “what if” instead of “why” and “how”?

Patrick Sirois
www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.



 

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Wednesday 1 December 2021

Triode - Innovation EngineHow do you develop the right product for the future today? This is not an easy task, so many companies simply throw as many features as possible on to the product and hope for the best. This method is of course ineffective and not economically sound.

Luckily, there is a better way. Innovative companies launch successful new products over and over by asking themselves (and their customers) some key questions.

 

  1. Key information to the right people
    Does your innovation engine connect the right information to the right people? Does your R&D team know where the market is shifting? Do your sales reps know what technology you are working on, such that they can trigger the right questions to your customers? Does management know the top 6 innovation engine indicators to measure?
  1. Is communication two-way or one-way?
    Does your team exchange information (two-way!) constantly with you customers? Don’t just talk with your current customers. Talk to prospects, ex-customers and your more unusual customers. The unusual customers are usually the ones who have a feel for what's next in your industry, so pay close to attention to what kind of product they say they want.
  1. Is your innovation team reflecting on the RRR?
    Reduce the number of projects or features and increase your bang for the buck from each one.
    Reuse project components. Usually much of the testing and validation is already done and proved to be compliant.
    Recycle, whenever you have the occasion. Throwing a new interface in the hands of a nurse in an emergency room is not always (never!) a good idea.
  1. Does your product solve a real customer problem?
    Start by identifying customer problems, then find innovative solutions to solve them. Make sure your solution presents a clear advantage compared to your competition. Don’t simply go with the first solution your team comes up with. Instead, analyze various ideas until you find one which works well and which can be implemented economically. While you are working on solving the problem, don’t forget to circle back periodically to check that the problem still exists and hasn’t been rendered irrelevant or been solved by another company.
  1. Did your innovation team prepare a comprehensive product roadmap?
    Roadmaps are not optional in an innovation strategy. A comprehensive roadmap will ensure you manage risk proactively and will demonstrate your company's approach to future iterations and product development. Roadmaps are guides to keep everyone on track and in the loop, but they are not instruction manuals. It is sometimes necessary to deviate from the original plan or add extra steps.

Only 25% of new products are commercially successful. In order to perform better, start by asking yourself and your team those five questions. Although these questions are straightforward, it does require time and effort to answer them properly. However, they will ultimately save you time and money and contribute toward the innovation of truly awesome products.

Patrick Sirois

www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.

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Wednesday 1 December 2021

I am always fascinated by how little companies know about their customers. Lack of knowledge about customers’ wants and needs is especially prevalent in B2B and B2B2C businesses.

source: www.featurepics.com source: www.featurepics.com

In a Business to Business model, knowing what your customer wants and, more importantly, knowing what your clients' customers want, will lead to a better understanding of the market and more bang for your buck in the innovation process. Instead of taking the loudmouth approach, and prioritizing the project that has the most noise surrounding it, prioritize projects the market will later want. When you innovate with the future in mind, you easily create market traction.

In order to better understand your market needs, it is useful to conduct user research. As opposed to market studies, user research will bring back real data from the real world and, as a result, transform insights into tangible outcomes.

The greatest challenge of user research is to get strangers to talk freely about their needs and wants within a matters of minutes! User research is a science in which you interview a variety of people to learn more about their habits, needs, attitudes and reactions.

One must learn to suspend critical, judgmental and know-it-all attitudes and activate empathy to better understand customers' behavior. For example, a medical devices company was looking to innovate a product for use in hospitals. Triode's staff spent many hours in a hospital to better understand some of the stakeholders' behaviour with the new product and to validate a change in the software interface. We discovered that nurses don't have time to read instruction manuals or even instruction placards, so any changes needed to be seamless for the users.

When you have exact knowledge of the reality, you are able to address risk head on and reduce time to market and cost of innovation.

Patrick Sirois
www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.



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Wednesday 1 December 2021

At a recent international management event, a renowned NYU professor claimed that the Voice of customer (VoC) is dead. In his tirade against VoC he said that he now relies on "customer interviews." Am I missing something here or is he?

What this gentlemen may have missed is that Voice of Customer is a strategy that comprises many tools and techniques including customer interviews, ethnography, customer journey mapping, etc.

At Triode we strongly believe that VoC techniques can lead to a better understanding of your customers and therefore result in a clearer product strategy. We define "customer" as the stakeholders who influence the use or the purchase of your solution.

So as you can imagine, Voice of customer has nothing to do with "asking what the customer wants"!

Customers want to talk to the people who will innovate for them. We recommend sending a team of two interviewers. Engage your entire team, treat VoC as a culture instead of an event, and you’ll win in the long run.

This does require new methods, motivation, and mind-set. Commercial people have been trained to sell, and technical people to solve. Both must be avoided during interviews.

Now is the time to SEARCH, NOT SELL OR SOLVE!

If you sell during VoC, customers know you’re not really interested in them. If you solve, you're shortcutting the process at the risk of missing something else. In either case, you’re wasting precious time better used to understand customer needs.

Needs and pain points are what you're looking for during a Voice of Customer visit. Sorry Professor Nadan, VoC is not dead!

Patrick Sirois

www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.


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Wednesday 1 December 2021

Much of the discussion at this year’s AdvaMed conference concerned the financial aspects of medical devices production. Pricing, consolidation and innovation were among the main topics of conversation.

As a result of websites like Amazon and TripAdvisor, both consumers and healthcare professionals have learned to expect that they can compare products based on value and price. Currently, the medical device industry is not organized in such a way that purchasers can compare features and understand the differences in prices. In fact, there is a 40% to 60% variation in price on the same spine, cardio and joint product across 3,000 providers. The FDA is trying to solve this problem with its unique device identifier but additional measures are necessary to minimize the variation.

Another change in pricing is the switch from a fee-for-service model to a fee-for-value-service. Providers expect device makers to share in the risk of testing out a new product and will pay more if they get better results. Hospitals and other healthcare providers are interested in improving outcomes and lowering costs, so they don’t want to pay full price for devices which don’t deliver.

Recent years have seen a trend of consolidation across the entire healthcare industry, with big companies buying out smaller ones and hospitals preferring to purchase from a small number of suppliers. But this does not mean there is no room for smaller companies in the medical device industry. Large companies are helping hospitals become more efficient but it is the little companies which are innovating new technologies.

Companies which succeed in coming up with breakthrough technologies that also lower costs are the ones that will be bought out by the bigger companies and whose products will reach the mass market. While large companies should focus on raising efficiency and lowering costs for healthcare providers, the smaller ones should continue to emphasize innovation.

Patrick Sirois

www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.


 

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Wednesday 1 December 2021

Recently, during a Design Thinking workshop, attendants started to talk about the issues facing their organizations. It did not take long for the stage-gate process to be the main topic under discussion. Some mentioned that they were considering killing the stage-gate process since they found it too bulky, too complicated and a big time-waster for their company.

The stage-gate process became popular in the mid 80's when the book Winning at New Products was first published. Many companies embarked on the stage-gating process in the hopes of creating the next breakthrough product or technology. However, a number of articles and empirical evidence show that the stage-gate process does not prevent failed launch, nor guarantee success, and in fact creates a lot of waste in the product development process.

Why doesn’t stage-gating work?

The stage-gate process is built around EXECUTION. But the innovation process should first be built around EXPLORATION and only focus on EXECUTION in the last 2-3 phases. In other words, innovation is not linear but the stage-gate is. That’s why most the of the so-called "innovation projects" start with a solution, when in fact they should start with a need to be filled, a pain point and "seizing the white space" as described by Mark W. Johnson in his book Seizing the White Space: Business Model Innovation for Growth and Renewal.

To innovate, companies must fulfill unmet customer needs in their current markets, serve entirely new customers or create new markets and be able (i.e. agile enough) to respond to tectonic shifts in market demand, government policy, and technologies that affect entire industries.
True innovation needs some room to explore and let the original ideas morph into a completely new solution as you discover unmet needs and customer constraints. At this point, trial and error is important to increase market knowledge and improve success rate. This is one stage which most engineers have difficulty with!

It becomes obvious that the stage-gate is not flexible enough for the new business reality that spreads knowledge more easily than ever. You cannot rely on new technology or the last product you developed. You have to increase the pace - and to do so, you need to attack on many fronts simultaneously.

Unfortunately, our engineering background values procedures and controls, which is exactly what the stage-gate process focuses on. I agree that the last few steps of any innovation process should be built around procedures and controls. At that point, you need to focus on getting the product out the door. But the first few stages should focus on customer knowledge and how to leverage your capabilities (technology, manpower etc.) to fill those unmet needs. The first few steps require going back and forth and learning as you go....which is hard to accept for an engineer!

So what's next? Who knows!? But I can tell you that the stage-gate is losing its grip and that you need let go of the procedures and controls if you want to speed up your innovation rate.

At Triode we have tools to help your team pick up the innovation pace. Do not hesitate to email me at psirois@triode.ca if you want a copy of our tools. These can be used privately but are not for public sharing.

Patrick Sirois

www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.


 

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Wednesday 1 December 2021

Medical solutions for aging populationThe population of the world is aging. People are living longer and staying healthier for more years. In developed countries, 23% of the population is above 60 and that number is expected to increase to 32% by 2050. The healthcare needs of this population are different than that of the rest of the population, and creative solutions are necessary to serve it.

In order to serve an aging global population, medical device companies are developing diagnostic and other devices focused on disease prevention. These devices will have low profit margins, because most medical care for the elderly is paid for by governments and not by individuals. In order to succeed in this market, companies must streamline their processes to lower costs and increase efficiency.

In fact, in the future, a larger portion of medical device spending will come from the government at a lower cost margin. Companies will be able to protect their margins by justifying the health outcomes of their devices and by continuing to invest in research and product development. Since physicians will have less say in purchasing decisions, the discussion will focus on price unless a clear health outcome can be proven.

A new trend in medical devices for the elderly is the use of telemonitoring. Telemonitoring can be used for managing chronic diseases and disorders, tracking sleep patterns, medication use and vital signs. These devices reduce the cost and hassle of clinic appointments as well as visits to the emergency room. Telemonitoring is especially cost-effective for vulnerable populations such as the elderly.

Companies which focus on designing efficient and profitable products for the aging population will retain their competitive age in the future.

Patrick Sirois

www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.


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Wednesday 1 December 2021
source: www.scholarshipsnews.com

We’ve discussed the many merits of design thinking, and now it’s time to get started on your very own design thinking session. Doing this for the first time can be daunting, especially if staff is not yet on board with the process. We’ve collected some practical tips for running a successful brainstorming session, which will give birth to new and innovative ideas.

 

  1. Turn off all distractions, including phones, tablets and computers. Let everyone know that in this meeting there is no multi-tasking. Everyone’s full attention must be focused on the brainstorming.
  2. Explain – and explain again – what the purpose of the session is. Ask everyone present to give it their best shot and be dialed into the solutions suggested no matter what their official job title is.
  3. Let staff know that not being creative – or not being strategic – is not an excuse for checking out. Stress that a successful design thinking session requires the melding of these two strengths, and that each participant brings his or her positive qualities to the table.
  4. Give everyone a chance to voice their thoughts. Although this may lengthen the meeting considerably, making every person in the room a part of the process is crucial. You never know where the best ideas will come from. Also, hearing each person makes it easier to divide the staff into smaller groups later on.
  5. Don’t judge or let anyone else judge any ideas. Even the silliest-sounding ideas may eventually lead to a breakthrough. And you want staff members to feel that this a safe place to express themselves, so no one keeps quiet out of fear of ridicule. You could miss the best idea if someone is too shy to speak up.
  6. The leader of the session should give the floor to others as much as possible. Design thinking is not about keeping control in the hands of the boss. Instead, it’s about opening the floor to everyone so that different perspectives can be heard and melded into one brilliant idea.
  7. Someone should be taking notes so you don’t lose all the innovative suggestions made in the session. But tracking progress should be done as unobtrusively as possible, so that it doesn’t interfere with the free thinking of the group.
  8. Note which staff members are not participating actively. They probably think that due to their job title they have nothing to contribute to the session. Encourage them by asking for their opinion directly or have them work in a group where they won’t be overshadowed.
  9. Toward the end of the meeting, start narrowing down the ideas by usefulness and feasibility (while not dismissing any ideas in a hurtful way). Make final selections of which ideas to pursue further.
  10. After the meeting is over, celebrate its success by highlighting what great ideas came out of it and how they will save the company time and money or provide the customer with a much improved product. Let participants know that their contribution was important and that you look forward to their help in the next design thinking session.

Triode team includes certified facilitators in Design Thinking that can support you in your efforts.  They will host several workshops in the coming weeks.

Patrick Sirois
www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.



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Wednesday 1 December 2021

Industry stakeholders and consumer advocacy groups have influenced the US government to shift the focus of US healthcare to quality rather than quantity. In order to protect patients and promote public health, legislation has been put in place which ensures that devices are identifiable and secure at all points. This increase in regulation poses some challenges for the medical device industry:

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

This law, which went into effect in 2010, includes a $20 billion tax on the medical device industry, in order to reduce the deficit caused by increased spending on healthcare. In 2013, an additional 2.3% excise tax was added. These taxes are taken from revenue and not from profit, so they are a substantial burden to medical device businesses. According to the MoneyTreeReport, VC funding of medical device startups fell to $2.1 billion in 2013—down 17% from the previous year. Smaller companies will be most affected, due to the high costs of R&D. This may lead to consolidations of companies into a few large ones, which will be protected by their large range of products.

510(k) Submission Process

The current submission process to the FDA was created more than 35 years ago and allows devices that are similar to others already on the market to be approved with almost no testing. This system has been found to be flawed, and plans are underway to develop a system which ensures safety and effectiveness throughout the lifecycle of a device. About 60 policy changes are being considered, including risk management, design controls and risk-based stratification.

Unique Device Identification (UDI) System

New legislation mandates that most medical devices distributed in the US must include a unique device identifier, to establish security and consistency and identify a problem device more quickly. Companies must gather data about each device and submit it to the FDA’s new Global Unique Device Identifier Database (GUDID).

Organized management will help businesses deal with the new regulations. Proper record keeping will help companies submit their devices to the FDA quickly and speed up the process toward putting the device on the market.

Some of the challenges are discussed every year at the MedTechWorld MD&D East conference. If you did not have a chance to participate this year, let us know! We can share some valueable information.

Patrick Sirois

www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.


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Wednesday 1 December 2021

Does your new product development process begin with “Generate Idea” on the left, perhaps with a light-bulb icon? Whose idea is it - yours…or your customers? Maybe focusing on your own ideas is wrong!

Your innovation process is backwardDo you start with your own solutions to assumed customer needs? Talking to the VP of R&D of a well-known Canadian company recently, he told me that having been involved in the business for more than 15 years, "they know" what the customers want! I predict that within a few years, this company will be outrun by one competitor, perhaps a startup which has spotted an emerging need in the market just by looking at it with fresh eyes. Think Nest for the thermostat industry.

When do you look for customer needs? Do you wait until the end, to see if customers buy your solutions (new product/service)?

What if we flipped that process around and started with your customer needs instead? The advantages of the inverted process are:

  • More efficient R&D
  • More effective sales and marketing. These departments will know exactly what to tell your prospects and customers down the road.
  • You will outpace your competitors by developing truly unique solutions that no one else has solved yet.

Triode team is involved every day in Voice of customer phase. If you don't know where to start digging in the customer needs, just give me a call and I will help your team clarify the process.

Patrick Sirois

www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.


 

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Wednesday 1 December 2021
source: www.careerbuilder.com

If you follow this blog, you know that we like to get things done....despite the usual consultant approach! We like to deliver results, not reports!

We bet you like to get things done as well, so we offer these four tips for improving your company’s innovation process and getting things done faster and better:

  1. Get customer feedback quickly and often
    Do not hesitate to show "work in progress" prototypes, mock-ups, sketches or ideas to your customers. Validate your assumptions early in the process and define product requirements based on their feedback...not your most experienced engineer’s evaluations! Product developers are too close to the product to see where it needs improvement, but customers who already use similar products are an excellent source of objective and useful feedback.
  2. Make meetings matter
    Meetings should be used to make important decisions....not to get everyone up to speed. Regular communications should be fast and constant, using email or a product management software. Meetings can then be reserved for decision-making.
    The most efficient meetings have strict agendas which are adhered to, without going off onto tangents.
    Only the people who really need to be invited to the meeting should attend, so that time is not wasted explaining things to those less involved, or allowing each person to have a say. Instead, after the meeting, send a summary email to all those peripherally involved.
    Schedule meetings for less time than you think you need. This will help you finish the meeting faster and waste less time. If you schedule a meeting for a full hour, you will end up stretching it out for the whole time. But if the meeting is scheduled for half an hour, you are more likely to finish in 45 minutes. Also, don’t wait for latecomers. Start the meeting on time and let latecomers catch up on their own.
  3. Collaborate as much as possible
    Product development is like juggling with fire torches. You have to keep moving! Unlike other types of projects, you don't often know what the end result will be until you have it in your hands. Collaboration between all departments, even with employees who don’t see themselves as designers, helps develop creative and high quality innovation.
  4. Context is king...at least for your team
    Understanding the framework of what everyone is doing is key to success throughout the product development process. By asking a few questions to your team members, you will quickly get a sense of the potential roadblocks to your project. Ask yourself: What in your existing context will help you realize your ambition, and what is likely to get in the way? Approach the innovation process holistically and make the organizational changes necessary before you start the actual process.

Following these four guidelines will help your project team become a lot more agile and improve your success rate.

Patrick Sirois
www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.


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Wednesday 1 December 2021

In recent years, the market for medical devices has grown substantially in China, Mexico and Brazil. Many medical device companies are looking to these emerging markets for consistent revenue growth.

HealthcareChina is currently the third largest market in the world for medical devices and likely to become the second largest soon. 31% of the devices in use in China are imported from the United States. The Chinese are willing to pay premium prices for medical devices from Western countries, which they consider to the safest and most reliable. There are many governmental restrictions on medical devices in the country, so it does take some extra effort to enter this market.

Mexico’s economy has been improving exponentially, and as a result, Mexican healthcare organizations have begun importing better quality medical devices from countries such as the US. Mexicans are particularly interested in American devices, due to their high quality and reasonable prices. Also, Mexico serves many American patients who cross the border to receive less expensive healthcare than they can get in the US, and these customers prefer American devices. Since Mexico does not have high tariffs or import licenses, it is a good market for American companies seeking to broaden their customer base.

The Brazilian government is investing significant funds in improving its healthcare. Local companies are developing medical devices but there is still a large market for imports. Unfortunately, this market is harder to penetrate than Mexico’s, because the government has imposed high tariffs on imports. But both the government and private healthcare organizations are in the market for innovative and high quality devices and most of the major American medical device companies have already penetrated this emerging market.

In order to enter any of these markets, medical device companies must become familiar with local regulations and procedures. They must also rethink their current business models and distribution channels, which may contradict local regulations. They may have to establish local operations in order to be admitted into the country. They should also consider how their products will compete with or complement locally produced devices. But they can capitalize on the reputation of American medical devices to maintain profit margins and succeed in these markets.

What are the impacts of the emerging markets  for your company?

Patrick Sirois

www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.


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Wednesday 1 December 2021

When you observe and interact directly with your customer, you get much richer information than with a simple survey. It’s true that this requires more effort on your part, but it is ultimately a much more effective way of gathering data and will help you reach real innovation. Companies who choose efficiency over effectiveness are making seven basic mistakes:

  1. They are simply not interested in their customer’s voice. They don’t ask customers anything at all and they make their decisions in a bubble. This “strategy” is clearly not effective, as it often leads to developers “solving” problems no one has or working on a problem without realizing which solutions will be rejected by the customers.
  2. They use surveys exclusively. The problem with surveys is that they are hard to get right: sound surveys and survey processes are the basis for gathering useful conclusions. Surveys often provide data points without giving you actual facts. Without facts, how can you innovate successfully?
  3. Their surveys provide a false sense of security. By asking customers only whether they like the products, companies are lulled into the false sense that they have loyal customers who will remain loyal no matter what. But customer loyalty is a fickle thing; customers go where the best products are and will quickly forget about any company which doesn’t innovate and isn’t cutting-edge. Single-question surveys can be effective, but only if the question asked is “What can we do better that would improve your experience?”
  4. They survey too much. Some companies think they will get accurate data by asking survey questions with every interaction the customer has with the business. However, too many surveys is likely to lead to customers answering based on their tolerance level for being asked the same questions multiple times. And of course, the customer experience is eroded by these extraneous survey requests. Customers may start to feel cynical about the surveys and cease to believe that their opinions really matter.
  5. They influence the results (intentionally or accidentally). Surveys often come with an added hint that the company expects positive results. For instance, they may say, “We hope you enjoyed this product. Please let us know how much by answering these questions.” If the customer is told to give positive feedback, the results will be far from objective. Timing surveys to coincide with positive experiences is another way in which surveys are skewed and inaccurate results are encouraged.
  6. They don’t visit the customers in their own environments. As much as you can learn from surveys, you can learn a lot more from seeing how your customers interact with your product and talking to them while they are doing it. Surveys cannot provide qualitative data in the way that Voice of Customer analysis can.
  7. They draw the wrong conclusions. In order to be effective, companies must really listen to each individual customer and record his personal story. Only when customers are really listened to, can qualitative data be properly analyzed and accurate conclusions reached. Paying attention to what customers are saying is obviously more time-consuming than sending out surveys.The effectiveness of the Voice of Customer analysis clearly trumps the efficiency of surveys.

Patrick Sirois
www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.


 

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Wednesday 1 December 2021

 

Patrick Sirois

www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.

 

 

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Wednesday 1 December 2021

Everything you do before starting an innovation project is called the “front end.” Some call this the fuzzy front end…because they’re unsure of what should happen. Most managers have a tendency to manage the fuzzy front end like all other phases, with impatience and expectations of quick results.

 

In order to successfully manage the front end phase, avoid these common mistakes:

1. Cutting costs and expecting savings: Of all the places to scrimp in business, the front end may be the worst. At this phase you generally spend tens of thousands of dollars on market research, in-depth interviews and travel costs. These activities help lower the risk associated with your future projects and cost pennies compared to development investments you will need to make later on. For most projects, you’ll easily recover this front end investment.

2. Fear of ambiguity: Some companies ask teams to make financial projections far too early, or worse, to commit on project cost and timeline without having the proper credentials. Others use the front end to “validate” their pre-conceived solutions. It’s seen as a failure if the team changes scope or kills the project...but it’s better to fail now as opposed to later. The main function of the front end phase should be learning.

Successful teams often pursue a market without a solution but with an open mind. I’ve heard teams say, “We’re interviewing and have no idea what our product will be…but we’re learning a lot!” THAT IS PERFECT! These teams will usually be rewarded. Winning teams can quickly change course and adjust based on what they learn.

We tend to avoid surprises in business...but innovation is built on surprises and new learning. Seek surprises and reach success!

Patrick Sirois

www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.


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Wednesday 1 December 2021

At the recent AdvaMed conference, held in Chicago in October 2014, many of the speakers discussed changes in the medical device industry, especially regarding FDA and reimbursement procedures.

In past years, the FDA was much criticized, but this year the agency was praised for instituting changes that resulted in improved collaboration and faster review of new products. Mike Mussallem, CEO of Edwards Lifesciences, believes that the FDA is now committed to bringing innovative healthcare to Americans and that this has reduced tension between medical device companies and the agency.

In fact, two representatives of the FDA - Dr. Jeffrey Shuren, director of the Center for Devices and Radiological Health at the FDA and the agency's commissioner, Margaret Hamburg – spoke about encouraging companies to conduct their first human trials in the United States. Until recently, the industry has relied heavily on human trials conducted overseas.

Now that the FDA is no longer the enemy, the medical device industry is at loggerheads with insurance companies over reimbursements. Insurance companies are reluctant to adopt new technologies even if they are convinced that they are superior, due to the high costs for both providers and payors. Companies have actually become more selective in approving new products, which poses a challenge for patients and for medical device companies.

On the positive side, this selectiveness has led medical device companies to abandon the practice of adding a few new features to an old product and selling it as a new one. Providers and payors are reluctant to approve devices unless data demonstrates that they provide real healthcare value – i.e. by reducing costs, improving clinical outcomes and/or raising patient satisfaction scores.

Medical device companies are now being forced to focus on quality and value of products. They must solve real problems in the medical industry. For instance, heart readmission rates are unreasonably high, so the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have begun fining hospitals if their patients are readmitted within 30 days. A groundbreaking medical device which would prevent recurring heart episodes would surely be adopted by both providers and payors.

As we move toward 2015, medical device companies can take advantage of the new openness at the FDA to push forward with new and innovative products that provide real value to the healthcare system. However, they must be careful to provide concrete data that these products are innovative and high-quality, in order to convince providers and payors to approve them.

Patrick Sirois

www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.


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Wednesday 1 December 2021

Students at the

" target="_blank">Stanford d. school were challenged to design a less expensive incubator for babies born prematurely in Nepal. The students traveled to Nepal to meet with families and doctors and see the problem for themselves. During the trip, they were exposed to the angst of parents who were not able to save their premature babies. This mission of empathy helped them define who the users were and what their problem was. The students discovered that there were in fact many donated incubators in the hospitals, but surprisingly they were mostly empty. They realized that less expensive incubators would not actually solve the problem, since most premature babies were born far from hospitals, in rural areas, without access to incubators regardless of their cost.

The students changed their perception of what was needed and began to think about how babies in rural areas could stay warm for long periods of time. They used pictures, videos and storytelling of their experiences visiting Nepal to pinpoint the exact problem and brainstorm solutions. They stopped thinking of the doctors as their users and started thinking about desperate parents who need to give their babies a chance to survive. With each innovation or prototype that was suggested, they went back to the question on their whiteboard: Are we helping parents in rural areas save their babies’ lives?

The design which was eventually chosen was for an infant warmer, which looks like a mini sleeping bag. It is made of material which holds in heat, so it can be thrown into a pot of boiling water to get hot and will retain the heat for a few hours. The baby is wrapped tightly inside the warmer, with a special hood to keep the face exposed which still heat the baby’s head. The baby is kept warm for the amount of time it takes for the parents to reach the nearest hospital, even if it’s a few hours away.

The students who undertook this project didn’t stop with a prototype. They formed a company called Embrace and started manufacturing the product, which sells for a mere $25. Embrace now has programs in 11 different countries and has helped over 50,000 premature and low birth weight infants. And all it started with the design thinking process.

Patrick Sirois

www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.


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Wednesday 1 December 2021

In the last decade, we have seen a trend of healthcare provider consolidation, in addition to the trend of increasing regulation we spoke about in a previous post. In order to provide higher quality care at lower costs, hospitals are being acquired by major healthcare organizations and physicians are joining these larger organizations. The stricter regulations and slim profit margins make it harder for small healthcare or medical device organizations to flourish. Hospital acquisitions and mergers are on a rise, and the number of hospitals which belong to a larger healthcare system has gone up as well.

Previously, medical device companies focused on building relationships with individual physicians, but with the consolidation trend, they must begin to focus on marketing to group purchasing organizations (GPOs). In order to direct sales to GPOs, companies will have to prove the value of their devices both clinically and financially. Selling should be strategic, which facilitates proactive organizational account planning and team-based selling.

The future will also bring decreased margins and increased competition. Larger healthcare providers who purchase in bulk will demand lower prices, causing margins to fall. With independent hospitals joining larger systems, the customer pool will shrink, increasing competition between medical device companies. This may lead to hospitals demanding even more, such as better support or trial periods for devices.

Medical device companies can prepare for increased consolidation by developing relationships with large healthcare systems, creating products which provide clear financial and health outcomes and re-organizing their sales departments to focus on team-selling.

Massachusetts Medical Device Industry Council (MassMEDIC) is one example of consolidation. Do you have another example in mind?

Patrick Sirois

www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.


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Wednesday 1 December 2021

DT brings clean drinking...In 2007, Paul Polak established Windhorse International, a private company with the goal of creating social ventures benefitting 100 million people or more. The first project of this innovative company was Spring Health, aimed at bringing clean drinking water to underserved populations in India. The idea was to sell clean and healthy water from tanks in rural villages where the free water was contaminated. A pilot project was established in a village called Orissa because of the high percentage of bacterial contamination in the water. The pilot immediately ran into trouble, with potential customers preferring to continue drinking the contaminated dirty water and refusing to pay for the clean water.

Polak and Jacob Mathew, CEO of Spring Health, used the principles of design thinking to understand who the customer was and how he could best be served. In conversations with villagers, they understood that the local population was not sufficiently aware of the dangers of the local water supply. A series of long conversations with a local woman whose husband suffered from chronic diarrhea revealed that the village doctor had told her the problem originated in his excessive tea drinking. In fact, he was suffering from the bacteria in the water and was drinking tea because it was the only food he could keep down.

Polak and Mathew realized from this in-depth interview that their customers were unaware of the benefits of their product and that the key to success was convincing them that the local water supply was unsafe and that paying for water was in their best interests. They initiated a program in which families could test their water and compare it with the Spring Health water, by leaving samples of both in petri dishes overnight. When they saw the bacteria which emerged in the local water, they gained a new understanding of its dangers. Spring Health also marketed their water as a money-saver. They showed families that between fees for medical treatment and loss of income, they were spending more than they would if they bought clean drinking water.

These strategies worked and the Spring Health customer base grew, but they soon realized that there was an untapped market consisting of Harijan households. These families were considered by the other villagers to be of a lower impure caste and their houses were more run down than the others. Upon investigation, it transpired that the Harijans had initially bought water, but once a water tank was emptied and purified after a Harijan accidentally touched it, they stopped buying water in order not to cause trouble. Once again, Spring Health had to apply design thinking in order to understand its customers. Once they realized they couldn’t sell water to the Harijans from the village tank, they instituted a water delivery service which brought the water directly to the Harijans’ homes. This service was so popular that soon other villagers were requesting delivery despite the higher cost.

Spring Health is a truly innovative company. In addition to utilizing a deep understanding of its customer base to solve logistical issues, the concept of social change through a for-profit model is a truly original idea. Since Spring Health earns revenue it is able to expand and reach more people without having to rely on donations or grants. The company currently operates in 200 villages but has the potential to reach 100 million people – or more – and contribute greatly to the health of poor rural populations around the world.

Patrick Sirois

www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.


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Wednesday 1 December 2021

How do your customers interact with your product? What problems do they encounter in its use? The best way to find the answers to these questions is by “shadowing” them as they use it. This means following them around, filming, photographing or taking notes on how they use the product.

While it’s true that you can ask customers about their experiences with your product, people don’t always tell the truth about their actions and thoughts. In addition, the customer may not notice issues even though he is experiencing them. He may not realize he is using the product wrong or that he is working slower because of a particular obstacle. Shadowing gives a more accurate picture of how people are using an item and where they encounter difficulties.

Developers of products often assume that anyone with common sense can figure out how to use it. This may be untrue because people are fallible, developers are much more knowledgeable than the average user or the product is not user-friendly for a specific group. For instance, a medical device company may produce a device which dispenses arthritis medicine. What they may not realize, until they see a patient using it, is that arthritic hands are unable to properly dispense the medication. Or a device used by healthcare professionals may have insufficient lighting, leading to human error.

In order to develop a safe and effective product, it is necessary to watch people from the target market try to use it. For medical devices, this could mean simulating the environment of a hospital or physician’s office. A patient-centered device might be tested by going to people’s homes and shadowing them to see where they use the device (kitchen, bathroom, bedroom?) and what issues they come up against as they work with it.

When shadowing users it is important to pay attention to various touchpoints and track whether the same problem crops up numerous times. You may see a few distinctive patterns, based on the user persona or on the way he chooses to use the product. This allows you to segment and analyze your users to understand how to best serve various types of customers.

Shadowing is an extremely effective strategy which can replace or be coupled with customer surveys. It’s important to find flaws in the design early on in the process, to prevent throwing away money on creating a product which is not user-friendly. Create a prototype and shadow some typical users to understand real-time interactions and rethink design issues before production begins.

Have you ever asked to users to create their own film or photographies? This Design thinking method helps to understand the user experience. A variant used by the Triode team!

Patrick Sirois
www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.



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Wednesday 1 December 2021

When Airbnb was just a small startup, its founders participated in Y Combinator’s program for startups to improve their position and refine their pitch to investors. They sat with design thinker Paul Graham and tried to figure out why bookings were so low for the properties available for rent on the site. Joe Gebbia, co-founder and CPO at Airbnb, describes their sudden epiphany:

“We noticed a pattern. There's some similarity between all these 40 listings. The similarity is that the photos sucked. The photos were not great photos. People were using their camera phones or using their images from classified sites.  It actually wasn't a surprise that people weren't booking rooms because you couldn't even really see what it is that you were paying for.”

According to Gebbia, previous to this revelation, the founders had focused on technical solutions for any problem. They were sure that better coding could improve the website and bring in more business. But suddenly they realized that the problem was not technical and could not be fixed with better programming. Instead, they decided to visit the properties in New York City which were listed on the site, and replace the low-quality photographs with professional pictures. In just a week, revenue doubled and the company realized it was OK to do things that weren’t scalable.

Gebbia realized that Airbnb would only succeed if employees went out to meet customers in the real world and worked to solve their problems. He recalled an experience he had had in design thinking, where the designers of a medical device actually lay in a bed and had the device applied to them. This experience led the designers to understand what it felt like to be a patient and what was uncomfortable about the device. Gebbia incorporated this technique into Airbnb’s culture. Every new employee is sent on a trip to one of the properties listed on the website and documents the experience. He or she answers structured questions and shares the answers with the entire company. In addition to the helpful feedback the employee provides, the trip also makes it clear to each new recruit how important the customer experience is to the company.

Airbnb now has more than 800,000 listings worldwide and over 20 million users since 2008. Design thinking turned the company around and made it into the success it is today.

Do you have in mind success stories based on a better understanding of the customer experience? It's always amazing to see how a simple visit to a customer can have a major impact on the company success!

Patrick Sirois
www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.



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Wednesday 1 December 2021

The most important factor in the success of a new product or service is how the customers feel about it. Development teams need to have a clear view of what is important to customers in their industry and in general so they can create a product which meshes with these expectations.

Customer interviews and shadowing are good methods for finding out how customers feel about your existing products or prototype. But to get a feel for what customers want in broader sense, send your team out on a service safari.

The idea is for people to go out “into the wild” and record their impressions of various customer experiences. They can focus on experiences in your industry or they can look for any type of customer service interaction. Impressions can be recorded in a low-tech way, via pen and paper, or in a more hi-tech way, with video, Dictaphone or smartphone.

The goal is for employees to put themselves in the customer’s shoes and gain insights into what makes for positive and negative customer experiences.

As developers wander "the streets" looking for customer service experiences, they should pay special attention to these issues:

  • How many stages make up the service? Which stages are positive and which are not?
  • Who is involved in delivering the service? What does each person do?
  • What objects are used and interacted with?
  • What information are customers provided with? Is it sufficient?
  • How do the people involved in delivering the service contribute or detract from the experience?

John Lewis, a UK department store, is known for its excellent customer experience. If you sent your team into this store and asked them to record all aspects of customer service, they might come back with insights such as: salespeople and customer service representatives are truly invested in the success of the store, they are empowered to make decisions so issues can be solved quickly and simply, and they ask customers for their feedback and write it down. These insights could then be used for the product you are developing – your team could think about how to empower customer service personnel and make customers feel that you care about their opinions.

Firsthand research will always be more powerful than making assumptions about what customers want or relying on Big Data. Send your team out into the field and let them be the customers for a little while. They will come back with lots of great ideas on what works and what doesn’t. Like other methods of identifying customer wants and needs, this is a small investment which will pay off in the long run.

The data gathered can be analysed using the «Mapping of the user journey» method. Triode team has used this Design Thinking tool recently.  Make sure you use an appropriate tool to analyze the data otherwise you will lose the valuable information.

Patrick Sirois
www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.



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Wednesday 1 December 2021

Here's a few indications that it is:

  1. The "i" word is often heard in meetings and in hallway discussions
  2. Innovation is considered as a long term investment strategy
  3. Creativity and new ideas
  4. Failure is not considered as an "end" but rather as a "start"
  5. Innovation is considered as a clear differentiator
  6. The company's project portfolio is balanced between "innovation" and "operation" initiatives

What else would you add to this list?

Patrick Sirois
www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.



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Wednesday 1 December 2021
Theses days the "i" word is used in many ways. Still, innovation is the best way to get noticed and grow your business.
So why should you innovation?
  1. To survive
  2. To flee the red ocean
  3. To increase profit margins
  4. To take advantage of new opportunities
  5. To renew with growth
  6. To improve business revenues
  7. To be different
  8. Because cost cutting is not enough any more
  9. ...

About you, why should you innovate?

Patrick Sirois
www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.



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Wednesday 1 December 2021

Most business consultants tend to focus on the "how" (i.e. Processes, tools, pratices, etc.). At Triode we try to focus on the "What". What is needed in the market? What if your current customers did not need our product or service anymore?

With a disruptive hypothesis, you don't make a reasonable prediction like "if I charge the battery, the phone will work". Instead, you make an unreasonable provocation. For example: "What if a cell phone didn't need a battery at all?"

The difference between prediction and provocation, has previously said by George Bernard Shaw, is the difference between "seeing things as they are and asking, 'Why?,' or dreaming things as they never were and asking "What if?"

In our fast-changing world, when business certainties are no longer certain, the ability to imagine things as they never were and ask, "What if?," is an essential part of every executive's skill set.

Patrick Sirois
www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.



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Wednesday 1 December 2021

Wearable tech is a much talked-about trend, but the demise of Google Glass would seem to suggest that it’s not here just yet. Google Glass is an internet-connected eyewear that was tested and marketed for two years. In January, Google announced that it would stop marketing the product to consumers and focus on creating a more polished and less expensive version of Glass.

What went wrong with Google Glass?

  1. According to Forbes, the design of the glasses was not attractive and caused much derision. Tim Brown of IDEO says that all new technology is clunky and that Glass will succeed only when consumers can see themselves actually wearing the glasses in public. He says the major flaw in Glass is the design, and that more innovation is necessary to come up with a design which customers will like.
  2. Another suggestion by Forbes is that consumers were disturbed by privacy issues, since the app recorded personal information without making this clear to users.
  3. NBC news says Glass was viewed by consumers as a freakish device. The marketing of Google Glass did not convince “regular” customers that it was a product they should buy. Customers saw it as an experiment - something for companies and techies to try out - but not something they should invest $1500 in.
  4. No one knows what to do with Google Glass. Although Google has suggested uses for many professionals, from policemen to surgeons, it’s not clear where and when it would be acceptable to wear the glasses. The potential for using Glass in the workplace is there, but it’s not yet understood or accepted by consumers.
  5. Google Glass had a poor battery life, petering out after 3-5 hours. In this age of smartphones and tablets, battery life is a hot issue. If something can’t be used all day long and be recharged only at the end of the day, it’s not likely to be widely used.

Some experts are touting Google Glass as a failure which was actually a success. They say that innovative technology requires experimentation and the fact that the first version was not a commercial success is unimportant in the grand scheme of things.

Google Glass has set the stage for new innovations and there may be profitable applications for the Glass technology in other forms. It’s even possible that Google Glass has laid the groundwork for new technology a few years down the line which will become just as mundane as smartphones are today.

Patrick Sirois
www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.



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Wednesday 1 December 2021

An excellent product or service best serves all the people who interact with it. The majority of these people may be customers, but other stakeholders may include business owners, employees, investors, partner organizations, suppliers and a particular community. When you list all of your product’s stakeholders and map out the interplay between the groups you discover pain points which can lead you to explore new opportunities.

How does stakeholder mapping work?

  1. Identify all stakeholders. Brands are often not aware of some of their stakeholders or forget to mention them when asked. A fair amount of research may be necessary to compile a complete list.
  2. Once the stakeholders have been identified, the motivations and interests of each group must be clarified. Why did customers choose to try your product? What solution do they need it to provide? Why are investors funding your product? What is their desired ROI? Why did the development team create this product? What is it hoping to achieve?
  3. Map out how the groups are related to each other and how they interact with one another. This is the point at which to use visual representations to construct an easily digestible overview of the stakeholder ecosystem. Pay special attention to where interactions are not going smoothly, such as investors who are at loggerheads with business owners or customers who are dissatisfied with product support. Communication breakdowns and motivations which are not equaling performance should be clearly delineated.
  4. Analyzeyourstakeholdersmap. Groupvariousstakeholderstogetheraccordingtoshareinteresttoseewhichinterests aremost crucialandthink abouthowtheycanbesatisfied.Focus onshareholdersyoupreviouslyignoredandreconsiderhowtheir issuesreflect onthe perceptionofyourproduct. Rateshareholdersaccordingto importanceand placetheir pain pointsatthe topofyourlistofnecessaryimprovements.
    Healthcare stakeholder map - Durak

Now that you have a stakeholder map which clearly shows which problems need to be solved, use design thinking strategies to turn these issues into opportunities for innovation. Consider whether the product itself needs a redesign or whether there are issues in customer service, pricing, marketing etc. which can be transformed in order to increase the product’s success. Use the stakeholders map to inform decision down the line too. But don’t keep using the same map forever; internal and external changes require a new map every two years.

Triode has a couple of examples of stakeholder mapping. If you want a copy, please contact us!

Patrick Sirois
www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.



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Wednesday 1 December 2021

One of the key principles of design thinking is that it is customer-based. Before attempting to innovate a product which will best serve your customer, it’s important to understand how a potential customer becomes an actual customer, and how he interacts with your brand throughout the entire process. There are several touchpoints in the customer journey, from initial interest to purchase to use of the product. Examples of touchpoints in the customer journey are visiting the website, reading an email newsletter, going into a bricks and mortar store, reading the product manual and contacting customer service with a problem. For each touchpoint, you want to know how the customer felt, what he liked and didn’t like and how he would improve the product or the customer experience associated with it.

In order to document the customer journey, you can conduct interviews with new and loyal customers, asking them about their experiences at various touchpoints and mapping it out. Alternatively, you can ask customers to map out their own experiences, either by writing up descriptions or by creating videos.

Once you have gathered information from a sufficient pool of customers, map a few different journeys, according to buyer persona. You might have one journey for a web customer and another for someone who purchased in an actual store. Or you might find that women interact differently with your brand than men. Create a visual representation for each persona so employees can easily envision each of these journeys. Provide enough detail to provide real insight into the journeys, and don’t forget to include the emotions that the customers experience.

When you break down the customer experience into individual stages you can analyze each stage to pinpoint problems and look for innovative solutions. If customers are turned off by the product manual, it’s time for a redesign. Perhaps the language needs to be simplified or illustrations need to be added. If customers complain about not getting enough help from salespeople, you will want to retrain staff to give superb service. And if customers say your website is confusing and unattractive, rethink the design and create a site that is simple to navigate and beautiful to look at. You may also discover the product is not meeting the expectations of the customer or working as smoothly as expected, and a new and improved product is necessary.

A mapped out customer journey is an opportunity to look at how your brand and product are perceived by customers. Remember the objective: Truth is not important here, so there is no point in dismissing customer reactions as unfair or untrue. Instead, look at these perceptions and see how they can be overturned, either with improvements to the product itself or to the process of customer service. Create a customer journey which is filled with joy and excitement over the purchase of an excellent product which will answer the customer’s needs and turn him into a brand evangelist.

Triode can help you design your interviews or analyze the written descriptions and videos of your customers experience. Feel free to contact us for any support you may need.

Patrick Sirois
www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.



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Wednesday 1 December 2021

Proponents of big data leverage it to connect to customers and respond to their needs. The way they do this is by surveying as many customers as possible and - based on those surveys - defining what works and what doesn't. Big data can indeed provide some insights into customer behavior and needs, but it doesn't have the ability to go beyond improving what you have already created.

This is because big data provides information from the masses, most of whom will not think creatively about your product or service.

Henry Ford famously said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” Average users will think in average ways about your product. And that will lead to your company developing another average product.

On the other hand, innovation, by definition, consists of launching something new to the market in order to please (and sometimes surprise) your customers and answer market needs. This is best done by surveying your biggest fans, who are using your product religiously and have tons of ideas about it.

Extreme users are willing to experiment and some of them have already improved on your product in a way you never dreamed of. Because they tend to have radical personalities they are able to come up with radical ideas and appreciate extreme innovation when presented with it. And they often represent what your mainstream client will be like in a few years.

One technique we use at Triode is Design Thinking. Most of the time, by interviewing 15 to 20 "extreme" users we are able to identify insights and design solutions that will meet market needs...with only 20 interviews! This saves your company time and money and provides you with much better ideas than you can get from big data.

So instead of going for the masses and conducting surveys with 100-200 customers, why not try something new today?

Patrick Sirois
www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.



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Wednesday 1 December 2021

A big part of market research is asking customers direct questions. Surveys and questionnaires are an excellent tool for finding out what your customers want and need and getting their feedback on your product. Unfortunately, most companies ask their customers the wrong type of question, so they miss out on lots of critical information.

In general, questions can be divided into three types:

  • Closed-ended questions – These are questions in which the answers are limited. The most common closed-ended questions are multiple choice. If you ask your customers whether they prefer silk, chiffon or cotton fabrics you will not find out that some of them actually love linen.
  • Directed questions – In this type of question, the answer is hidden inside the question itself. Phrases like “Do you agree that…” or “How difficult did you find…” let the reader know that you expect him to agree or to focus on the difficulties. When you ask these types of questions, the results will necessarily be skewed toward the answer the customer was prompted to give.
  • Open-ended questions – Open-ended questions are the least popular type of question in market research, probably as a result of a fear that customers will balk at taking the extra time to answer them. However, these are the questions that lead to a real understanding of the customer mindset.

Open-ended questions will not fit into statistical data, but they do provide insight into opinions and behaviors that are entirely new to your company. These questions support innovation initiatives since they provide multiple perspectives. Your development team may assume that they are serving a customer with three specific pain points, but an open-ended question might reveal a few more pain points the team did not even consider. You may be deliberating between a number of features for your next upgrade, while customers answering open-ended questions tell you that they are interested in a different feature altogether.

Asking open-ended questions which allow customers to tell you what they really think about your product, your brand or the entire industry is an opportunity which should not be overlooked.

Patrick Sirois
psirois@triode.ca

www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.


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Wednesday 1 December 2021

A survey conducted by Emergo Group indicates that sales growth in 2014 was lower than in 2013. A number of factors may have contributed to this negative change.

Firstly, the European economy has been in a slump for several years now. This has affected companies which export to Europe as well as German medical device companies which specialize in the export. However, economists are optimistic that 2015-2016 will bring positive changes to the European economy. In fact, business activity picked up in February 2015 in the 19 countries that use the Euro. This is good news for the medical device industry.

Another factor is the downturn in Brazil’s economy. Brazil has the largest and most established medical device markets in Latin America and a low per capita expenditure, allowing room for expansion. But its economic recession has limited export opportunities and affected medical device companies around the globe.

A strong US economy has helped offset some of the issues with European exports, but the strengthening of the dollar has made American devices more expensive for overseas buyers. Since the United States accounts for 38% of the total medical device industry worldwide, this is a significant factor.

Large companies reported that they are most challenged by regulatory changes and pricing pressures. Regulations in China, Russia, Japan and Brazil have tightened, leading to greater difficulties in exporting medical devices.

Although experts predicted that the US excise tax would affect the industry significantly, most companies did not make any changes based on it. Larger companies were more likely to downsize than smaller ones, but overall the effect has not been great.

Despite the issues, medical device companies are optimistic about their prospects for 2015-2016 . 75% of those surveyed expect positive change in the coming year. Companies in North and South America and in Asia are the most optimistic. European companies are still facing challenges posed by their economic downturn and are less optimistic.

Patrick Sirois
psirois@triode.ca

www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.


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Wednesday 1 December 2021

The medical device industry has been led by the United States for many years. According to Forbes, the sector employs 400,000 Americans directly and provides jobs for almost 2 million more people. The medical device industry is one of the few American industries with a net trade surplus.

Unfortunately, regulations and taxes are negatively impacting the industry and causing firms to either shut down or move abroad to Europe.

In an effort to force companies to focus on quality rather than quantity, legislation to ensure that all products are identifiable and secure have presented challenges to the industry. Delays on the part of the FDA and the U.S. Patent Office lengthen the approval process and cost the companies large sums of money.

The most crippling legislation for the industry is the 2.3% excise tax. This tax comes out of revenue instead of profit despite the fact that medical companies invest large amounts before they see their first cent of profit. Between research, development and navigation of the regulatory process, a company needs revenue of $1 million in order to make a profit of $100,000. $23,000 owed as excise tax is almost a quarter of the company’s profits!

Medical device companies tend to be fairly small, with 50 employees or less. Many of these companies are laying off employees to offset their extra costs. And they are talking about other solutions, such as increasing their prices. Since most of the users of medical devices are senior citizens, these costs will be rolled back to the government, who will have to pay more for healthcare.

The American government may be making a mistake in squeezing the industry. Medical device companies are at the forefront of innovation and provide products which are essential to the health of the nation at all. Forcing them to leave the country or raise their prices cannot be a positive move for the country’s economy.

Patrick Sirois
psirois@triode.ca

www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.


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Wednesday 1 December 2021

Design thinking opens up new avenues for innovation that your company had not t

hought of before. Instead of overthinking, over-analyzing and focusing on minimizing risks, design thinking allows you to stop deliberating and start acting. On the other hand, design thinking can sometimes lead to under-thinking. Just because something is possible, does not make it a good idea.

A good product strategy is based on a clear understanding of what your company stands for: who you are and what you do. Any ideas which are implemented have to fit into the wider strategy. This is why design thinking does not replace product strategy, but should instead work within its framework.

The first stage of design thinking requires brainstorming without judgment. This is an excellent way to inspire innovative ideas, but after this initial stage, decision makers have to narrow down the ideas to actionable ones which fit into the greater product and company strategy. When creating new business models, it is critical to consider alternatives, trade-offs and opportunity costs.

There is no plug-and-play strategy for integrating design thinking into your company processes. Instead, each company needs to figure out how its internal processes can support design thinking. Before embarking on a design thinking initiative, decision makers should be able to answer these questions:

  • What resources will be available so innovative ideas have a chance at succeeding?
  • What metrics will be used to determine whether a project has been a success?
  • How will ideas produced by the design thinking process be analyzed?

Design thinking is not a magic pill which will make all your company’s problems go away. It cannot replace product strategy and overall brand strategy, but it can be a tremendous help in unlocking the creativity of your staff and bringing innovative ideas to the consumer.

What kind of changes have you made to your organization to better position the design thinking as part of your product strategy? Triode can offer design thinking training and help you to include it to your current product strategy!

Patrick Sirois

www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.


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Wednesday 1 December 2021

 

Innovation and agility are "a must" in business these days. Regardless of the industry you are in, innovation is key to success. Why? Because CHANGE is the only constant.

Some of the pitfalls you are probably encountering today are:

• Trying to release big, to cover as many customer features as possible
• Working laboriously on a 3 to 5 years roadmap
• Tracking all changes and debating every decision at gate meetings
• Waiting until you are sure (i.e. until you have all the answers) to launch a new product project
• Talking to your customers once...and delivering a few months (or years!) down the road

This approach doesn't work anymore! It will slow down your innovation process and likely result in the competition getting ahead of you.

Here’s how to change your innovation process to get better results – faster:

• Start talking (engage!) with your customer on a continuous basis
• Take real action based on what you learn with your customers
• Embrace change, it can result in great opportunities
• Build the right product. At Triode, we often say "Products must mean something for someONE"
• Use the right method for the right product (Forget the "wall-to-wall" Stage-Gate process)

Accelerated innovation does not mean you're cutting corners. It just means you are doing more of the right thing and waisting less time. Example of tools to accelerate innovation in the health care industry has already been discussed.

Patrick Sirois

www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.


 

 

 

 

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Wednesday 1 December 2021

When testing medical devices (or any new products) for usability, it’s important to test both the device and the manual/instructions that go along with it. Usability testing is meant to pinpoint sources of confusion, information that is missing or out of order, instructions that are open to interpretation and information that prompts unexpected behavior.

Usability testing is often performed twice: once at the early stages to look for design flaws and again at a later stage to test users’ ability to perform necessary tasks. Once usability goals have been determined, select tasks for testing and choose testers. For a medical device which is meant to be used by patients, the selected testers should be novices who have never used a similar device before. They should not have any particular knowledge about the device or its use and should not be especially skilled at reading comprehension or language skills. If the device is meant for use by medical personnel, the testers should belong to the profession for which the device was designed.

The next step is to set up the logistics. Video recording or screen capture is an effective way of seeing how testers use the device and testing whether they are able to use it properly. In order to ensure that each test is the same, the introductory explanations should be scripted and the procedure followed in the same order each time. The setting should also be the same for each test, with attention paid to lighting, temperature, noise and similar factors.

Having a designer present at the test can have a positive effect on the development process. Developers sometimes have a hard time believing that “regular” users don’t understand how to use the device they have developed, but seeing it with their own eyes will drive home the point. However, it is important that the designer not jump in and try to help the testers.

Once users have completed the test, they should also fill out a questionnaire about their experiences using the device. A review of the tests and the answers to the survey is then conducted to create a report on usability: missed steps, glaring errors and what the users said about ease of use. This data can then be used to make design changes to the device itself or to modify the instructions so they are clearer to the average user.

During Triode  last usability testing session for a medical device developer, we have found that a device function was not used by the nurse because the instruction label was hidden by a component. By changing the label position, the instruction for use is now available and the nurse can follow it easily.

Patrick Sirois

www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.


 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wednesday 1 December 2021

 

Over the last few weeks we have talked a lot about market analysis and Voice of Customers (VoC) in this blog. But if you want to get a good return on investment from your VoC, you must take action. How do you go about doing this? This post provides some tips about the next few steps after a market analysis.

  1. Recording - During the Voice of Customer phase, you should record (with audio and/or video) what's being said and how your customers are using your product or service. This will help capture insights so they don’t get forgotten down the road.
  2. Capture findings - Once customer visits are completed and you get back to the office, fill an 11x17 page that we call "One page customer statements." It helps capture the essence of what was said and the customers’ behaviors onto one single page, thus facilitating the analysis. (Note: email me at psirois@triode.ca if you want a copy of our tool. It can be used privately but is not for public sharing.)
  3. Dots and Patterns - At this point, you usually have 30 to 50 itemized statements or behaviors. Analyze the one page report and try to look for patterns (similar behaviors, unmet needs, pain points, etc.). We call this phase "Dots and Patterns." Look for high and low emotional points to identify successes and problematic touchpoints.
  4. Insights – By now, you should be able to draw some insights from your analysis. Insights are discoveries that you might be able to leverage when you create solutions.
  5. Ideate – Start thinking of creative solutions to solve problems and improve the product. Brainstorming may yield a large quantity of ideas but it is important to narrow the solutions down to only high-quality ones.
  6. Value proposition - The last step in this process is to come back to earth and define what the value proposition is of each idea, to determine for yourself and for your management team that the business case makes sense. During this phase, you must consider 3 things: the customer, the product (or service) and the project.
  • The customer: Define who your customer is, what he wants, what his fears are and what substitutes are available (i.e. what do people currently do instead?).
  • The product: What will the benefits of your product (service) be? What emotions do you want the customer to feel when using it? What are the major features of your product (service)?
  • The project: What do you need to do in order to develop the product (service)? How much will you need to invest? What will the target margins be? How many units do you need to sell (monthly, yearly, etc.)? How long will it take to develop the solution?

I am always amazed by how many companies conduct market studies and leave it there. There is little point in undertaking these costly exercises if no action is taken afterward. Voice of Customer surveys should help you reach your business goals, but in order for that to happen, you must analyze results and develop practical solutions and improvements.

Following the steps outlined above will help you take action and get from a Voice of Customer or market analysis exercise to money in the bank.

Patrick Sirois

www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.


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Wednesday 1 December 2021

Companies invest millions of dollars each year developing new products and trying to increase their revenues and profitability. Some of these products succeed but unfortunately most are failures. Product launch activities have a lot to do with the success rate of a new product on the market. A successful launch is based on these four strategies:

Plan adequately

Product launch must be planned early. If you start thinking about launch only when you are ready for production, you are starting way too late. Launch strategy must be planned at least 4-5 months prior to launch date, so that you have sufficient time to envision and plan your marketing activities. Plan what information you are going to release and when you are going to announce it, who you want to be talking about you and how you can create a product which people will want to talk about.

Rely on quality

Poor quality is a sure path to failure. Quality should be a priority from the beginning of any new product development project. Pressure to release a product quickly may convince business owners it is a good idea to launch a product despite the fact that it is not completely ready, on the assumption that improvements can be made later on. Unfortunately, if customers try a product and don’t like it they will not try it again and the product is likely to die an untimely death. It’s better to wait until the product is perfect even if it delays production. Keep in mind that even perceived quality could be an issue. Fitbit Force is an example of a perceived quality issue which killed a product. The Fitbit company was forced to recall the Force product following reports of users experiencing skin irritation.

Allow adequate budget

Inadequate funding of marketing activities during launch phase could sink a project fast. Marketing dollars must be part of the project return on investment calculation from the beginning of the project. Map out the budget of your entire business to determine how much you can spend on marketing. Research the best ways to reach your target market so you don’t end up wasting valuable marketing dollars. Once your product succeeds, set aside a portion of the profits for your next product launch.

Realistic forecasts

New product launches almost never attain sales forecasts. Unfortunately, a large number of new product projects would not receive the green light if sales forecasts were more realistic. Sales forecasts for new and innovative products are more likely to be unrealistic since they can’t be based on past performance. To get as close as possible to the actual sales potential, look at the number of consumers in the target market, percentage expected to buy the product, anticipated timing of purchase and patterns of repeat purchases.

What are your best practices for product launch success? Do you have examples to share with us? The Triode team would like to hear your success stories!

Patrick Sirois
www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.



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Wednesday 1 December 2021

I have led many innovation projects over the last 17 years and I have come to understand that a large number of new product development projects go south because of poor definition and/or lack of customer understanding.

A good way to avoid this problem and ensure a decent start to a project is by beginning with the end in mind.

Before we start any work, we like to ask a few questions of our client to better understand his business objectives and his constraints. That allows us to better define project risks and come up with an improved project strategy as a result.

The questions we ask include:

  • What are your customers' current work flow and pain points?
  • Do you know the ZMOT (Zero Moment of Truth) of your customer's work flow? (For more information on ZMOT, check out this

    " target="_blank">video.)

  • How does your product compare to your competition's products?
  • How has your product usage changed over time?
  • How will you measure the success or failure of this project? What needs to be achieved in order to consider the project a success?

Once we determine the answers to these questions, we are in a better position to define the final goal and the best path to success. This allows us to choose the techniques required to reach that goal and the right customer segment to target.

Many consultants have one toolbox and they will apply it to every company whether this is the best process for your need or not. You know the saying, when the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail! Make sure your innovation process is geared toward creating solutions that work for your company, not your competitor’s.

In conclusion, before you start the process, invest in properly defining the problem and the desired outcome. The best way to do this is by speaking to your customers early on, so you know what you are aiming for. Then keep your desired end result in mind at every stage of the innovation process, so you reach that goal via the straightest path.

Patrick Sirois
www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.



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Wednesday 1 December 2021

Claire Wood from New Balance explains in 3 minutes what is her role as a Product Line Manager.

Patrick Sirois
psirois@triode.ca

www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.


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Wednesday 1 December 2021

Researchers and product developers spend billions of dollars looking for solutions to chronic pain, diseases and diagnosis methods. But, perhaps unsurprisingly, much of the medical innovation in the industry is a result of ideas imagined by medical professionals. Doctors and nurses who come into daily contact with patients are often the ones who best understand what concerns the patients and are motivated to find solutions.

Almost 20 percent of approximately 26,000 medical-device patents filed in the United States from 1990 to 1996 were filed by physicians. Pathologist Stephen C. Wardlaw and endocrinologist Robert A. Levine invented a simple device for performing complete blood counts. Urologist Dr. Errol Singh invented a device which improved the process of catheterization for men.

Nurses are concerned primarily with improving patient care and mitigating pain. As a result, they too have taken part in coming up with ways to enhance healthcare. In 2003, two registered nurses, Terri Barton-Salinas and Gail Barton-Hay, developed ColorSafe IV lines. An intravenous therapy product line was invented in 1990 by the mother-daughter duo Betty M. Rozier, an entrepreneur, and Lisa M. Vallino, a pediatric emergency nurse.

Nurses and physicians often have innovative ideas but don’t have the knowledge, skill or free time in which to develop the product and bring the ideas to life. Some medical device companies have realized the wealth of ideas in the medical profession and have defined new ways to partner with healthcare professionals in order to innovate through collaboration. These companies consult with physicians and nurses to find out how they wish they could solve certain problems. They test the proposed solutions and consult with other caregivers, patients and stakeholders. If the product is deemed to be effective and marketable, the company develops it and sells it to a medical products manufacturer. Because this process originates in a reaction to a day-to-day medical care challenge, the resulting product is patient-centered.

When the medical device industry views the patients as customers and looks for solutions which will ease their pain, add to their comfort and cure what ails them, they naturally turn to medical professionals. Nurses and doctors are on the front lines of healthcare, interacting with patients on a regular basis, and they are the ones using various devices in hospitals and clinics. Their ideas and informed opinions can contribute greatly to the medical device industry.

Patrick Sirois
psirois@triode.ca

www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.


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Wednesday 1 December 2021

In 2003, ISO 13485 became the standard quality management system for the design and manufacture of medical devices. Companies which demonstrate that their devices are effectively implementing and maintaining the quality requirements can be certified by the ISO. The standard applies to companies which design, manufacture, and assemble medical and in vitro diagnostic medical devices, as well as medical component manufacturers.

Medical device companies which market their products to the international market will benefit most from compliance with the standard. Certain countries, such as Canada, stipulate that devices must be certified by ISO 13485. Compliance with these standards also goes a long way toward qualifying for the European standard. Companies with ISO 13485 certification can more easily meet the requirements of the European Medical Device Directive (93/42/EEC), In Vitro Medical Device Directive (98/79/EC) and Active Implantable Medical Device Directive (90/835/EEC). Although the US Food and Drug Administration does not formally recognize ISO 13485 certification, US Good Manufacturing Practices quality system requirements do overlap with the standard in many areas.

Compliance with the standard requires documenting policies for record controls, internal auditing procedures, non-conformance controls, preventative and corrective actions, process and design controls, record retention, accountability and traceability. Risk management must be thoroughly documented and conducted throughout a product’s entire lifecycle, from initial concept to delivery and post-delivery. In the past, risk management was thought to apply only to the design and development phase, but the new standard has made it clear that it is an integral part of enterprise-wide management systems from design to post-sale.

In addition to gaining access to new markets, ISO 13485 certification has other benefits. Compliance reduces operational costs by improving efficiency and highlighting inefficient processes. Consistent delivery of high quality products and systematic addressing of complaints increases customer satisfaction. Complaints, surveillance and product recalls are handled in a transparent manner and the standard is a proven commitment to quality.

Gary Gelhaye, Quality Manager at Custom Fab Solutions says the reason his company opted to qualify for the ISO 13485 standard is to demonstrate to its customers that the company is committed to quality. In addition, CFS wanted to “improve overall effectiveness of the company. Most importantly, we wanted to broaden our customer base. In particular, ISO 13485 will open doors to the medical community.” CFS found that monthly quality objective metrics improved the efficiency of the company as a whole and improved quality performance across the board.

Are you certified for ISO 13485? How has it benefited your company?

Patrick Sirois
psirois@triode.ca

www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.


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Wednesday 1 December 2021

Medical robots cover a broad range of medical devices, from surgical assistants to exoskeletons and companion or assistive robots. These new devices are involved in all aspects of healthcare, including therapy, rehabilitation and patient monitoring. Robotics has the potential to improve risk-benefit ratios, speed up recovery times and reduce the overall cost of healthcare.

Improved risk-benefit ratios

The increased use of robot-assisted surgery is a matter of controversy in the medical community. Some research shows better patient results while other research shows no difference between surgeries. Robot-assisted surgery has been touted as an excellent tool for less experienced surgeons but has also been criticized as being prohibitively expensive. However, the expense is apparently due to a lack of competition, which is likely to change in the near future as more medical device companies devote themselves to manufacturing robotics.

Faster recovery times

Rehabilitation therapy is lengthy and repetitive as well as expensive. Repetitive motions which are necessary for increasing muscular strength, improving coordination and remapping the brain depends on the availability and physical strength of the rehabilitation therapists. Rehabilitation robots are ideal for performing repetitive and physically difficult tasks and they can free up humans for other work while they speed up recovery times for patients.

Lower healthcare costs

Robotic Replacement for Diminished or Lost Function provide patients with mobility much quicker than any other method. Patients leave the hospital and rehab facilities faster, returning home and saving money for the healthcare system. Wearers of exoskeletons demonstrate improvements in cardiovascular health, loss of fat tissue, building of lean muscle mass, and improved bowel function, further reducing costs for their care. As the FDA is beginning to allow the marketing of prostheses and exoskeletons to the public, the market is predicted to grow by leaps and bounds in the coming years. A study by Global Industry Analysts predicts that the robotic replacement industry will grow to $23.5 billion by 2017, fueled by an aging population and increasing numbers of patients suffering from diabetes, strokes, arthritis and osteoporosis.

A new emerging market is that of personalized care for the elderly. This market is really in its infancy, but as the population ages, it is becoming prohibitively expensive to employ caregivers for all the elderly who require it. Interactive care robots remind patients to take care their medication, provide speech therapy and physical exercise, facilitate communication with family members and alert medical staff in case of an emergency.

The Affordable Healthcare Act and robotics

It is as yet unclear how the Affordable Healthcare Act will affect the robotics industry and how the robotics industry will affect Obamacare. Currently, hospitals are reimbursed at the same rate for a procedure whether there is a robot involved or not. This means that they will use a robot only if it saves time and allows the hospital to perform more procedures. There has already been a move away from early-stage investment in favor of late-stage investment in more proven technology. Developers and manufacturers will have to emphasize affordable price points in order to attract investors and obtain Medicaid approval.

At Triode, we have worked with Titan Medical on developping a surgical system focusing on minimally invasive surgery and Kinova an assitive robotics company based in Montreal, Canada. Both companies intent to improve the healthcare system with the use of robots.

Patrick Sirois
psirois@triode.ca

www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.


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Wednesday 1 December 2021

“Patient-centered care” is an oft-touted ideal in health care today, so a group of researchers decided to find out whether it really works. Peter Reed, Douglas A Conrad, Susan E Hernandez, Carolyn Watts and Miriam Marcus-Smith examined healthcare reform in Washington State to get “an in-depth and personal perspective of patient-centered care innovation from the people at the front lines of health care delivery and innovation.”

The researchers focused on reforms stemming from the state’s Blue Ribbon Commission for Health Care Reform 2007 report:

  • The patient-centered medical home
  • Shared decision-making, including legal protections for physicians who formally use shared decision-making tools
  • Payment reform, including protection for participants from antitrust action related to tight payor-provider collaboration

The researchers discovered that healthcare organizations which focused on patient-centered care were not able to do so exclusively. Factors such as cost containment, quality improvement and organization survival were heavily considered in the decision making processes.

In addition, research demonstrated that the process of innovation is heavily dependent on organizational culture and leadership. Organizations which were successful in implementing patient-centered care did so by capitalizing on their leadership, human capital, and adaptive culture. Organizations which were less successful were plagued by inertia, resource deficits, fee-for-service payment and regulatory limits on scope of practice.

One of the barriers to innovation is the lack of collaboration between health plans and health providers. The health plan organizations focused on cost-effectiveness while the providers were more concerned with delivery processes. Although there are many shared objectives between the two types of organizations, they rarely collaborated to innovate and provide patients with efficient and cost-effective care.

Successful transformation of the health care system requires cooperation between providers, health plans and policymakers. Clear policies which detail a vision for patient-centered care and delineate steps to achieve this will foster innovation and collaboration. The necessary steps include leadership training, incentives and leeway for experimentation, information sharing between organizations and changes in healthcare financing and delivery.

Healthcare reform which puts the patient in the center is a positive measure, but it still has a long way to go to create a healthcare system in which the patient receives the best possible care.

Patrick Sirois
psirois@triode.ca

www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.


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Wednesday 1 December 2021

Healthcare reform is moving in the direction of patient-centered care, allowing patients and their families to be actively involved in their own health. This is not just a catch phrase; it’s a radical rethinking of how the healthcare system treats sick people, from the medical device stakeholders to the nurses and receptionists on the hospital floor. In order to implement patient-centered care, these 5 principles must be kept in mind.

People, not patients

People are not defined by their diseases. Their goals and dreams go beyond their current medical issues. Patients who enter a hospital or clinic interact with various touch points. It’s important to look at each of these to see how the patients can be made more comfortable along the way toward better health. Registration, assessment, patient participation and checkout are all touch points which should be considered.

Small changes can make a big impact

Healthcare professionals are concerned with the big picture so they often overlook small details. A homecare device which is difficult to use may end up not being utilized. Unclear instructions before checkout can lead to misunderstandings which may bring the patient back to the hospital. A small change can make a big difference in patient comfort as well as reduce risks of recurring health problems.

Data leads to knowledge

Today’s technology allows for collection of big data and its organization into comprehensible information. Data can pinpoint problematic touch points, show success rates for specific processes and products and monitor each individual’s progress. The medical industry can benefit greatly from analyzing data that is readily available and utilizing it to improve patient care.

Sometimes the solution is low-tech

Medical device developers tend to focus on technology to create better devices. But sometimes the answer is much simpler. For instance, text messages can be sent to remind patients to take medication or administer tests. Email reminders about appointments can help keep patients on track so they don’t get negligent about their own care. HIV tests that can be done at home are more efficient and cost-effective than tests administered in a doctor’s office.

Empower the patients

One of the most challenging things about illness is that the patients feel that they have lost control over their lives. They can gain back that control when they are involved in self-care. When patients track their own progress, they are more aware of the objective health issues and not confused by their emotional reactions. When they are motivated by reward instead of operating out of fear and guilt, they control their own destinies and make greater strides in improving their health.

Patrick Sirois
psirois@triode.ca

www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.


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Wednesday 1 December 2021

These days, 55% of consumers say they won’t buy a car if it doesn’t have the technology they want. Car purchasing is no longer about the vehicle’s performance. Instead, customers are more interested in futuristic features which make the car more than a run-of-the-mill vehicle. Think safety features such as collision-avoidance systems, blind-spot warnings and automatic braking and conveniences like Bluetooth technology for calling and streaming music through the car’s speakers.

Technological innovation for the automotive industry is a product of collaborations between tech companies and car manufacturers. This is not always an easy alliance, since auto manufacturers focus on safety and quality, which means that they plan extensively and work slowly and deliberately. The tech industry is much more fast-paced since products can become obsolete in a matter of a few months and customers expect a steady stream of updates and improvements.

It takes about three years to design and build a car, so the first challenge is to put a car on the market which features the latest technology (and not tech from three years ago). Cars remain on the road for about 11 years, so the auto industry also needs to find ways to make updates to the technology in older cars or customers will not keep their cars for that long nor buy second-hand cars with outdated technology.

Another area where the auto industry must innovate is that of keeping data private. In the near future, customers will expect their cars to tell them where the nearest restaurant or gas station is located, whether the alarm at home was set and where they can buy the items they forgot at home. In order for a car to be able to do this it will have to collect a lot of data about the customer’s behavior. Although we have all gotten used to the idea that a certain amount of privacy must be sacrificed for convenience (Google and Facebook work on this principle), most customers are not ready to relinquish total control of their privacy. Auto manufacturers must offer car owners the ability to control what data is collected and used by the car’s technology while still providing maximum convenience for twenty-first century driving.

Safety is still the number one factor in the quality of a car. Customers are looking for bells and whistles but if the technology stops the car from working or compromises safety, drivers will look elsewhere for their next car. Auto manufacturers must focus on reliable technology, which provides as much safety as possible. Vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure technology are expected to drastically reduce car accidents, but they open the door to data security problems. If hackers can tamper with the breaks or with the safety system, a car can become a destructive weapon.

Customers may be dreaming of self-driving cars (or even flying cars), but for now the challenge that the auto industry faces is in using technology to provide customers with safe, reliable, convenient and fun cars. Partnerships with technology companies can produce cars which keep up with the technology that’s become commonplace in our phones, computers and other devices.

Patrick Sirois
psirois@triode.ca

www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.


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Wednesday 1 December 2021

White space is basically a gap your company has not yet filled. It may be a space that is totally empty, not filled by anyone, but it might be a space that other companies occupy but that your brand could benefit from being in as well. Think of white space as a new opportunity or new direction that your company can choose to go in. White space is not always easy to fill; sometimes it requires a new business model and/or serious innovation, but it can be extremely lucrative it so should not be overlooked.

Apple is a famous example of a company that moved into white space and transformed its entire business model as a result. You may be old enough to remember when Apple was a computer company. The iPod changed all that, leading Apple into the world of portable devices, including phones and tablets, and turning the brand into the cutting-edge technology company it is today.

Breakthrough inventions of something entirely new (like the iPod or the light bulb or the telephone) are pretty rare, but that doesn’t mean you should give up on the idea of white space. Often, the most useful innovations are those that connect existing technologies in a useful way. Google is a great example of something that filled a white space by making it easier to find already existing webpages. Waze makes it possible to access GPS and crowdsourcing to improve the driving experience.

When we define the white space as the gap between what is available and what is necessary, we open the door to innovation. Look at the available solutions in your industry, see where they are lacking and what could improve them. That may be the white space that will lead you to a disruptive product.

Patrick Sirois
psirois@triode.ca

www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.


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Wednesday 1 December 2021

One of the principles of design thinking is that innovators need to get into their customers’ heads to understand their wants and needs, pain points and customer experience. One way to do that is to compare your customers’ journey with an analogous situation you have experienced yourself.

If your customer experience involves waiting in line – for instance, airport check-in – think about analogous situations where you were made to wait, such as checking in to a hotel or standing in line at the movie theater. How did those experiences make you feel? Answers might be: anxious, fear that tickets would disappear, boredom, physical pain (like hurting feet). Once you have those emotions and experiences written down, you can move on to the step of searching for solutions. Perhaps folding chairs could be provided for those who can’t stand for long periods or TV screens could entertain customers as they wait in line.

If your customers come to your store (online or brick and mortar) to choose a product, how do they find the right product which will meet their needs? Analogous situations might be research done in the library or online. Researchers may experience confusion, be overwhelmed and give up before they reach their goals. As a store owner, these are emotions and results you want to prevent. Brainstorm how to make choosing a product simpler and less confusing. You may want to display fewer items on one webpage or in one display. Perhaps sorting by certain criteria or helpful in-store salespeople will clear the mist and help customers make smart decisions.

The analogous situations tools is most successful when used in a group setting. Bring your staff together in a large room and put up a big whiteboard. Create two columns, one for emotions and activities involved in your customer experience and a second one for similar situations which incorporate the same emotions and activities. Once you start filling in the first column, people will naturally start to brainstorm the analogous situations. When those are noted on the whiteboard, people will start adding new emotions and activities to the first column based on their own experiences with the analogous situations. At the end of the process, choose the most vital pain points and use them as the basis of a brainstorming session to look for solutions and methods of improving the overall customer experience.

And you! Have you used analogous situations tools recently? What are the outcomes of your group session? You can contact us for examples.

Patrick Sirois
psirois@triode.ca

www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.


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Wednesday 1 December 2021

When a business finally reaches some growth, it's important to consider one aspect that is not talked about enough regarding innovation – flexibility and adaptability.

What organizations need to take into this new period of growth is the need to be adaptable and to increase the focus on agility, so as to be able to execute change better and get new products and services to market faster.

To keep pace, businesses need to embrace the value of adaptability. In a world in which one picture, one thought, one tweet can go viral in a few minutes, the only certainty is that there is no permanence – which may be why only 18% of executives believe their existing innovation strategy is delivering a competitive advantage!

For many, innovation is a "new priority," but innovation has been a part of the organizational DNA of companies like GE, P&G or Nike for many years. AG Lafley, President and CEO at P&G is well known for his appreciation of design and design thinking. As he says:

“We want to become the number one consumer design company in the world, so we need to be able to make it part of our strategy. We need to make it part of our innovation process.”

Jeff Immelt, CEO of General Electric understands this as well:

“When I got the job, I knew I wanted the company to be more innovative, more global, and more focused on the customers. But it does take a year or two or three to really put ideas into initiatives and get the team aligned. The big difference is that business leaders have no choices here. Nobody is allowed not to play. Nobody can say, ‘I’m going to sit this one out.’ That’s the way you drive change.”

Take Nike for example. With a worldwide name and some of the biggest sports stars on the planet as brand ambassadors it is easy to think that Nike will be around forever. And yet Nike operates in a marketplace in which fashion and brand identity are the market drivers and the fickle finger of market trend could swing away from the company at any time. Nike counters this threat with an awareness of the need for continuous innovation, agility and fast product-to-market times. Speaking in 2013, Nike CEO, Mark Parker, considered by many as the world’s most creative CEO said, “One of my fears is being this big, slow, constipated, bureaucratic company that’s happy with its success,” adding, “Companies fall apart when their model is so successful that it stifles thinking that challenges it.”

As a result, Nike innovates and responds to trends by incorporating sustainability into its model and by not only keeping an eye on future movements in the marketplace but in playing a leading role in establishing those trends. With ideals including “it is our nature to innovate” and “evolve immediately,” the Nike innovation culture encompasses every employee.

Mark Parker’s fears are unfortunately all too real barriers for many organizations, with 59% citing bureaucracy and 46% claiming their organizational structure as a main barrier to ideas making it to fruition. (That figure rises to 87% in the banking industry!) This goes some way toward explaining why only 28% executives are happy with their companies’ ability to commercialize and launch new products, services and experiences and the consistency of their innovation performance.

In fact, the perception that low innovation is a result of a lack of ideas is far from the truth. The reality is that “lack of ideas” isn’t even in the top three obstacles to innovation. 78% of executives cite challenges around building business cases and 81% say the real challenge is executing and implementing the ideas that have been chosen for development.

But what does that mean for the customer? Quite simply, the more the company embraces adaptability, the more the customer benefits. We may not all go as far as Nike, which believes that “if you have a body, you are an athlete,” but this focus on providing outstanding products alongside outstanding levels of service and experience is one which all businesses can learn from. In a homogenous world, it is the little touches, the attention to detail, the customer care, the response to market trends and the attention to innovation which results in exceptional levels of customer service which feed directly into relevance, longevity and enhanced business performance.

In common with other “next generation” organizations, Nike understands that the world has changed, and to survive in the future you have to create the future. For some this will come easily, but for others it may require a complete transformation in culture, attitudes and practices in order to increase the ability to react, change direction and get things to market faster.

On average, UK corporations take just as long to innovate now as they did in 2009. But, the world we operate in has increased in pace, so in real terms for most organizations, innovation has actually slowed down! However, there seem to be a small unique band of organizations that do it fast. 3% of UK companies are able to get ideas to market in less than six months and it’s not what they are doing that’s any different, it’s how they are doing it! They are using design thinking and design processes to make things happen faster, to co-create, test and prototype faster and more cost effectively than the other 97% of companies.

The design process is a great tool for organizations to embrace in order to build this capability as it creates a pragmatic, staged framework, providing method to a process that can too often be overcomplicated and hampered by company structure and red tape.

Patrick Sirois
www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.



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Wednesday 1 December 2021

This is a question that gets asked a lot, because the definition of a product manager varies from one company to the next. A survey of over 100 product managers conducted by Alpha UX demonstrates that the primary roles and responsibilities of product managers range from design to interacting with customers to organizational management and strategy.

The study asked product managers what tasks they perform on a daily basis. It turns out that product managers spend most of their time in meetings, i.e. communicating with various teams. After meetings, the most time is spent in technical, execution-oriented work, closely followed by strategic work. Product managers also reported spending significant amounts of time working with consultants and vendors, talking to customers, communicating with senior management and managing others.

Josh Elman of Greylock Partners describes product managers as mini-CEOs. They are the ones who ensure that a product matches customer expectations as well as the overall company strategy. They need to know what customers want and how marketing and sales can work to target the right audience. They must understand the market, including knowing what the competition is up to, and be able to listen to customer feedback. To top it all off, product managers are in charge of making sure that the various teams are on track for getting the product ready for the market on time for the scheduled launch date.

Product management is not an easy job. What kind of characteristics are necessary to be a successful product manager? At a product manager meetup in October 2013, panelists listed these critical characteristics:

  • Design-based thinking
  • Leadership abilities
  • Holistic problem-solving
  • Vision and inspiration
  • Analytic skills
  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • Instinct

Product managers have to be extremely flexible as well, since their role is evolving along with innovation and the changing customer mindset. Product management is at the intersection between many key elements of company strategy, such as user feedback, development team management and market awareness. Because product managers do so much, it’s often hard to pinpoint exactly what they do, which is why surveys such as the one conducted by Alpha UX are so important. They emphasize the fact that most products would not be launched if not for the unsung heroes behind them – the product managers.

Patrick Sirois
www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.



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Wednesday 1 December 2021

Are you listening to your customers and effectively meeting their needs? Listening can be hard work, so it’s important to use the right tools to get the information you need for innovation. These three methods to determine Voice of Customer have been shown to be effective and efficient.

Ethnography

Ethnography is the study of people (product or service users) in their natural environments. For medical products, this means observing when, where and how people use the medical product. An example would be to follow a critical care bed during the course of a typical day at a hospital. Who is using the care bed, at what times, and how is it being used would be observed to gather information for future product development and/or existing product improvements. Ethnography is useful to discover pain points which lead to innovation opportunities.

Contextual Enquiry

Contextual Enquiry is a specific method of obtaining data by semi-structured questioning of a user in a one-to-one interview and then observing him using the product. Since this method combines a physical aspect and direct enquiry, better quality and more realistic, current level data is gathered than through many traditional market research methods (i.e. survey or focus groups). The aim is to focus on the medical product, ensure the enquiry happens in the right context and location, and discuss the medical product with its intended users and non-users to determine any unknown interactions. The next step is to interpret the data correctly, whilst sharing an understanding of the realistic use of the medical product by its users and non-users.

Usability testing

One way to determine how an existing medical product is being used and to validate users understanding of the device in a controlled research environment is through usability testing. The method involves observing and then questioning how a medical product is used. For example, usability testing may show particular field issues, such as a nurse using a medical device repeatedly in a way which is not as intended. The root cause may be the training program, the medical product itself or the environment that it is used in. Once the root cause is determined, enhancements can be made to the medical product or the systems and environments it is used in.

Depending on your resources, you can choose the single method that resonates best with your company and goals or you can combine methods for a more complete picture.

Unfortunately, all too often, Voice of the Customer is considered to be a luxury and not a necessity. But ignoring VoC means you are likely to fall into the trap of companies whose new products are not truly innovative and are doomed to fail. In fact, more than 75% of new product introductions are failures, and most of these failures are due to poor user input at the start of the project. As more companies internalize these facts, the VoC approach will hopefully become more mainstream. Remember, it never hurts to know what your users think!

Patrick Sirois
www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.



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Wednesday 1 December 2021

How do your customers feel about your product? What innovation would make your product a real game-changer? What is preventing the product from being truly excellent?

These questions are extremely important for any business looking to innovate. We’ve already explained that the most effective way to find answers is through a process called Voice of the Customer.

Here we investigate the tools and methods used to gain insight into the Voice of the Customer.

Ethnography

Although this method is not especially popular, it is ranked #1 in effectiveness. Ethnography consists of hanging out with the customers and watching them use the products for a long period of time. When a VoC team spends a lot of time watching the product in action, it can get a real sense of what works and what doesn’t. This kind of deep knowledge is extremely effective, but gathering it is unfortunately time consuming and expensive.

Consumer-visit teams

In this method, VoC teams meet with customers and ask them specific questions in an interview setting. This is best accomplished with employees of the company doing the interviews themselves. Usually a team of three is involved, with representatives from technical, sales and marketing. In order for the interviews to be successful, questions should be indirect, so the interviewees can offer insight into their wants and needs.

Focus groups

A focus group moderator skillfully directs customers to talk about their problems, points of pain and wants. Group discussions can generate more creative and provocative ideas than an interview. But the moderator must be careful not to allow one dominant personality to sway the opinions of the others in the group. In fact, the success of this Voice of Customer method is very much dependent on the skill of the moderator.

Lead user analysis

Innovative users are identified and invited to a workshop or retreat in which they point out problems and potential solutions. This method is both popular and effective. The main challenge is finding these “lead users.” A customer survey which includes the question, “Have you modified the product in any way?” can help identify innovative consumers.

Brainstorming

A group of customers is first directed to brainstorm all the problem areas of the product. Then they are directed to come up with as many solutions as possible. This method is recommended for business to business (B2B) markets.

Online community

Setting up and maintaining an online community devoted to discussing the product is fairly inexpensive. Monitoring the discussions can glean useful insights for developing new products, but a proper analysis of the conversations does require skill. This type of VoC will only work for products that customers get excited about and want to talk about.

Whichever method you choose for gleaning Voice of the Customer, it should be geared toward your specific industry. In our next blog post, we will address the issue of VoC for the healthcare industry.

Patrick Sirois
www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.



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Wednesday 1 December 2021

Developing a new product is no easy task, but once you have overcome that hurdle, it’s time for the next challenge – an effective product launch. When a product launch succeeds it provides early revenue, a competitive edge and a foundation for future marketing activities. On the other hand, a product may never recover from a failed launch and your entire investment will have been wasted. To ensure that doesn’t happen to your company, take note of these common mistakes you really want to avoid:

  1. Not planning enough in advance – Although some companies have managed to pull off a product launch in a few weeks, this kind of tight schedule causes stress, miscommunication and poor execution. A properly planned product launch takes about four months, so your company can put all of its ducks in a row, including messaging, positioning, pricing and PR activities.
  2. Forgetting to plan a sustainable marketing plan – A launch event can be a great start to a marketing campaign, but it cannot hold the momentum if marketing is cut off after the event. Businesses tend to put so much effort into their launch event that they forget that the initial excitement will quickly wane unless they continue to nurture the product and keep it in the public eye.
  3. Launching before the product is fully ready – Many products can be improved over time (technology products in particular), so businesses are lured into thinking they can launch before the product is ready and just keep working on it. The problem with this thinking is that once customers try the product and are not satisfied they will not return no matter how many times you tell them you have improved it.
  4. Not investing enough in the launch – Your product may be amazing but that doesn’t mean it will sell itself. Do ROI (return on investment) research to determine how much you should be spending and don’t sell your product short.
  5. Overestimating results – The average customer needs to be exposed to a product multiple times until he takes action. Don’t assume you only need to reach each potential customer once.
  6. Convincing customers to buy from the competition – Make sure you have enough products available for purchase at launch time, or your customers will go looking for a similar product. Your marketing should focus on what makes your product unique, so that pricing or availability is not the main factor in your customers’ decision making process.
  7. Announcing the launch too early – Companies often announce too early because they are excited, think they will be ready for launch earlier than they actually are or are scared the competition will get an edge on them. But if you announce too long before launch time, the excitement and momentum will be lost by the time you actually launch the product.
  8. Ignoring product reviews – Product reviews can make or break a product. If you wait until there are negative reviews and react to them, it is probably already too late. Instead, you need to work on getting positive reviews that will overshadow the negative ones.
  9. Not letting your partners in on the launch early enough – Despite the risk of information leaking out, you need to let partners such as press and analysts know what you are up to early in the process. They need enough time to prepare to help you get the word out.
  10. Forgetting to market internationally – International revenue may be significant for a new product. It’s more cost-effective and efficient to plan marketing materials with the international customer in mind, instead of having to create a second version of them after the product has launched.

A product launch is too important to be embarked on without a lot of forethought. Plan a few months in advance so you have plenty of time to implement all the various parts of the launch including financial investment, cooperation with partners and a sustainable plan which will keep the momentum going for a long time after the initial launch.

You may have experienced other mistakes during your product launch. Feel free to contact us to discuss lessons you have learned!

Patrick Sirois

www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.


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Wednesday 1 December 2021

Technologies which were created with other industries in mind have also impacted the way medical devices are being designed and built. Twenty-first century technology is drastically changing how we manage our health as well as how healthcare is provided and managed. Here we take a look at nine of these technologies and how will they impact our lives in the coming decade:

Mobile apps

Mobile phones, tablets and disruptive technologies such as Google Glass allow physicians to see all pertinent information in real time, for quick and accurate decision making. Doctors can receive medical images directly to their phones, allowing them to reach a diagnosis and start treatment much faster. For patients, mobile apps can be used to access medical records, communicate with healthcare providers without having to visit the clinic, monitor their health and control physical devices.

Point-of-care diagnostics

New electronic devices for diagnosing patients in the comfort of their own home may replace visits to the doctor in the near future. These devices will also significantly decrease the likelihood of diagnostic error (currently 10% of diagnoses in developed countries are incorrect). In developing countries, the devices could help patients who live far away from medical clinics receive the care they need without having to travel.

Medical device software

Medical devices are powered by user interfaces and active and remote monitoring software. As the software becomes more sophisticated, more advanced diagnostic devices are made possible. Continuous engineering, an enterprise capability that speeds the delivery of increasingly complex and connected products, is one of the ways in which software is developing and allowing for the production of improved medical devices.

Artificial intelligence

Supercomputers can analyze a tremendous amount of data, from personal data about a specific patient to general medical knowledge and information from patient interviews. These supercomputers can help train medical students, assist physicians in making a diagnosis and help manage treatment. A new diagnostic app based on artificial intelligence is now available to physicians and patients alike. In the future, individuals will have access to data such as their current symptoms, biometric data, environmental data and personal data (such as diet and activity level) and their entire genome.

Transmission of data via the internet

Medical devices are already transmitting data about patient care and information which helps monitor equipment and perform maintenance when necessary. Soon devices used at home will also send data, so that more patients can be monitored from home. Hospital devices will communicate their locations in order to cut down on time and save lives. Predictive analysis will help surgeons and prevent human error in the operating theater.

Wearable devices

Patients who need to monitor their health constantly, such as diabetics who have to check their blood sugar levels, will benefit greatly from new wearable technology. Instead of pricking their fingers a few times a day and getting random readings, they will get constant data from contact lenses which analyze their tear fluid. Other companies are developing similar devices which provide continuous information without forcing the patient to enter data manually.

3D printing

3D printing technology brings with it endless possibilities. It is already being used to print hearing aids, braces for teeth, back braces, casts and prosthetics. Scientists are experimenting with ways to print whole organs, which would eliminate the need to wait for an organ to become available for transplant. Although this technology is not here yet, it may not be as far away as we imagine: Organovo, a California-based research company, has succeeded in printing human liver tissue.

Brain-computer interfaces

Devices which allow people to control them with their minds are improving the quality of life for paraplegics and other disabled individuals. Brain-computer interfaces are expected to be useful in pain management and the treatment of debilitating diseases like Alzheimer’s.

Robotics

Robots are already being used widely in the healthcare industry and their use is expected to increase in the coming years. Robots are used for certain menial jobs performed in hospitals, such as laundry pick-up and cleaning. They are also being used to operate and to perform functions such as scraping plaque from arteries. Exoskeletons are also a form of robotics. These external devices allow paraplegics to walk independently. Currently only available to army veterans, exoskeletons are expected to reach the consumer by 2015.

Triode team members are working on a daily basis with companies struggling with the changing technologies. We can help you to reduce their impact on your business.

Patrick Sirois

www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.


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Wednesday 1 December 2021

One of the principles of design thinking is that you need to get employees from different departments, who serve various functions, sitting in a room together and working on solving problems. The natural instinct of employees is to look at a problem from the point of view of their job. So a graphic designer looks at the beauty of the design, an engineer looks at the technical features of the product and a sales rep looks at the price. But in order to make the customer happy, each member of the staff needs to step out of his narrow job and look at the big picture. When creating a product, the main goal must be to develop an item that customers will actually want to use.

Although this may seem like an obvious goal, if often gets lost in the organizational shuffle. Each functional group focuses on its own needs and the customer gets forgotten. In fact, when you put people from different groups in the same room, you are likely to be shocked at how little each group knows about what the other groups are doing. These fragmented functions lead to fragmented decisions which adversely affect the product strategy.

Fortunately, the design thinking process can change the way an organization functions, and bring the customer back into the forefront. At design thinking meetings, it soon becomes clear that certain staff members are more aware of the big picture, know which questions to ask and understand how they should work with other functional groups. These employees will lead the way for the entire staff to begin to think about the customer’s needs and wants.

Once employees shed their job descriptions and start thinking about the customer, they can shift their perspective from what the product should be or do to what the customer is trying to achieve. Asking what the customer’s motivation is and what success looks like for him, how he will interact with your product and how it will solve his problem are questions which lead to the development of a higher-quality product.

The first time you bring design thinking into your organization, it may take some time for staff to start thinking the way you want them to. But the initial investment is worthwhile, since you will soon identify the top players in customer-centric thinking and can create smaller groups to utilize techniques of design thinking in the future. And the more times you use these techniques, the more they will be absorbed into your company culture. Eventually, customer-centric thinking will become the norm instead of a newfangled idea.

The added value to bring design thinking into your organization is to avoid that new products remain on the selves.

Patrick Sirois

www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.


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Wednesday 1 December 2021

Increased globalization and technological change are leading the global healthcare industry away from the old physician-based system to one in which the customer is at the center. Customer service has become central to all businesses, and healthcare is no exception. Patients can’t choose whether to get sick but they do generally have control over which doctors they see and which hospitals they trust. Healthcare providers must cater to the empowered customer in order to remain competitive.

There are six major transitions which the healthcare industry is facing:

From one size fits all to individualized

Instead of sweeping rules, healthcare will start to look at the individual and provide him with a plan which fits his circumstances. Screening for diseases will be stratified, instead of across-the-board for certain ages or ethnicities. Each patient will get a course of treatment based on his unique issues, regardless of generalities and rules.

From institution-centered to de-physicalized

Medical care will no longer be available only by visiting a health clinic or hospital. A patient will be able to receive at least part of his care from the privacy of his own home. Consultations via smartphone and tablets will replace the physical visit in many cases. Prescriptions will be written and renewed electronically as well.

From physician-centered to disintermediated

Physicians will no longer be the sole decision-makers, so they will not hold all the power in their hands. Other medical personnel such as nurses and physical therapists will collaborate with the physician to find the best possible solution for each patient.

From paternalistic to empowered

Choices will no longer be dictated to the patient by his physician. Instead, the physician will assist the patient in making a decision about his health by laying out the alternatives and the possible outcomes of each option. Ultimately, the decision will rest in the hands of the patient. An “empowered customer” will take ownership over his health and consequently be more likely to follow the instructions of his physician.

From reactive to proactive

Healthcare will focus more on preventing diseases, instead of treating only symptoms. Laboratory testing, autonomic testing and genetic testing will all be used to catch diseases long before they manifest themselves in the body.

From volume-based to value-based

The current system for paying for healthcare is one where the patient pays per visit, per test etc. In the future, patients will pay for value instead, in the same way they pay for other services. The goal of this payment system is to encourage physicians to provide the best possible outcomes for their patients.

Patient empowerment is a process and it will likely take several years until all these changes are implemented. The healthcare system may be resistant to change, especially where limited resources must be stretched to accommodate empowerment. However, more empowered patients are healthier and will stay in the workforce and in society for longer, so patient empowerment is a positive goal for society at large.

Some of the transitions will be discussed at the Forum de l'industrie de la santé de Québec in next December (link http://www.quebecinternational.ca/forumsante/accueil/). Looking forward to meet you there!

Patrick Sirois

www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.


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Wednesday 1 December 2021

Traditional marketing teaches businesses to identify and map out the wants and needs of their typical customer. In addition to this technique, design thinking asks companies to look at their extreme customers. These are customers on either end of the spectrum – those that love the product and those that hate it, those that have never heard of it and customers who are quite familiar with it. Other examples of extreme customers are those who wouldn’t care about the product at all and those who have specialized needs that the product could serve. These customers can enlighten businesses as to what is working and what isn’t and encourage innovative and original ideas.

The first way to research extreme customers is to find and interview them. A bank could survey customers as they stand in line and then go to the mall in search of customers who bank elsewhere or don’t even have a bank account. Developers of an app could interview downloaders of their previous app as well as senior citizens and people who don’t own smartphones.

Nintendo used the interview method to ask non-video game users why they didn’t like to play video games. They were told that controllers which were difficult to maneuver and games which were too complicated were a turn-off. The result? Nintendo designed Wii, a game which is based on simple graphics and controllers which mimic real-life motions. The game was an instant hit and thoroughly disrupted the video game industry.

The other way to research extreme customers is to become one yourself. This method can lead designers to find both the problems and the solutions. A student at Harvard Business School used a rice cooker for all his meals for two weeks straight in order to simulate an Asian customer whose menu is based almost entirely on rice. He soon grew bored of eating plain rice day and night and started experimenting with different dishes which could be made in the rice cooker. He gained insight into what the rice cooker could and could not do, and envisioned what the ultimate rice cooker should be able to accomplish.

Triode has conducted  extreme customer interviews for the development of a medical device. What we have learned has drastically modified the device design. If you want to discuss specifically this case, just let us know!

Patrick Sirois
www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.



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Wednesday 1 December 2021

Most business consultants tend to focus on the "how" (i.e. Processes, tools, practices, etc.). At Triode, we try to focus on the "What". What is needed in the market? What if your current customers did not need our product or service anymore?

With a disruptive hypothesis, you don't make a reasonable prediction like "if I charge the battery, the phone will work". Instead, you make an unreasonable provocation. For example: "What if a cell phone didn't need a battery at all?"

The difference between prediction and provocation, has previously said by George Bernard Shaw, is the difference between "seeing things as they are and asking, 'Why?,' or dreaming things as they never were and asking "What if?"

In our fast-changing world, when business certainties are no longer certain, the ability to imagine things as they never were and ask, "What if?," is an essential part of every executive's skill set.

Patrick Sirois
www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.


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Wednesday 1 December 2021

Our colleague, Roch Lemay, is presenting a conference at the PMI Lévis-Québec Symposium to be held on April 20 and 21, 2020 in Quebec City. Roch chose to draw a parallel between project management and judo for his conference. An accomplished athlete, Roch presents project management from an unexplored perspective to date. This conference promises to be refreshing!


Tokui Waza and Project Management: Develop your own judo-inspired management system.


Having converted his experiences as an international application engineer to project management, Roch Lemay shares a reflection on the parallel between the development of a judo attack system and the development of a system of reference tools as a project manager.

A judoka must develop different facets of his judo to be able to quickly adjust to his opponent in a combat situation. To be effective, this development must be customized with natural skills in mind. Although the project manager is not in a combat situation, he too must face adversity and adjust quickly to the challenges presented during a project. Mr. Lemay suggests that we review the development of a project manager and his strategies from the perspective of a management system inspired by judo.


The aim of this workshop is to propose a new approach to revise its project management strategy. This is not a question of reinventing the wheel, but of allowing a self-assessment of its skills and tools in a different and unique way.


For more information on the PMI Lévis-Québec conference: https://colloque.pmiquebec.qc.ca/conferences-et-conferenciers/
To follow Roch on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/roch-l-a6371988/

Team Triode


 

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Wednesday 1 December 2021

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Wednesday 1 December 2021

 

2019 was the year of new technology merging together to create all new opportunities.

Ever heard about cobots? It's a short for collaborative robots designed to collaboratively work alongside human with a gentle touch, i.e., to not smash fingers or step on the toes of their work buddies. Doing so requires that cobots be much more aware of their location in relation to the humans, via sensing and perception technologies. To achieve this goal, one company, Veo Robotics, uses a variety of 3D sensors placed around the robot's workcell to aid in location awareness. The company’s sensors add an extra measure of safety by automatically slowing down the movement of the industrial cobots whenever a human co-worker comes close.

To help supplement actual human activity, cobots are becoming more dexterous and moving beyond merely picking components on an assembly line. Robots need greater dexterity to pick up objects that have moved even slightly beyond their programmed parameters. Cobots cannot yet grasp any object just by looking at it, but they can now learn to manipulate an object on their own. 

An example of cobot application: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E9vcO0pBaio

The complete article from DesignNews can be read here: https://www.designnews.com/iot/9-most-disruptive-tech-trends-2019/49614192462009?ADTRK=InformaMarkets&elq_mid=11472&elq_cid=1075674

May these technologies stimulate your imagination! 

 

Team Triode

 

 

 

 

 

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Wednesday 1 December 2021

With Canada and many cities around the world banning plastic shopping bagsdrinking straws and soon disposable plastics, there are many opportunities for innovation.

Many categories of products will be transformed forever

Rebecca Finell, the founder and CEO of FINELL, a luxury home and handbag brand, is looking for ways to create unique, functional and environmentally friendly products

FINELL has launched Zip Top, virtually indestructible, reusable, 100% silicone containers that will say goodbye to plastic bags and kitchen drawers full of mismatched plastic containers and orphan lids

Do you face such changes in your industry? How do you intend to adapt? 

 

Patrick Sirois
www.triode.ca

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Wednesday 1 December 2021

An innovation must bring value. In other words, it must solve a problem. It can either solve a new problem that you have discovered or solve an existing problem in a new way. In any case, the key is to discover a problem or an original way of solving it!

The best way to innovate is to gain perspective on customer needs...we are talking “insight.

The catalyst for an insight is a surprise ... you know the moment when we say aha I did not notice this detail before…” Or “aha here is a problem that our uses experience every day”.

In other circumstances, it may be the moment when we discover that we can eliminate a step in the customer experience or a feature of the product without impacting satisfaction nor sales performance.

In short, an insight is a aha moment!

That's what led Steve Jobs to create iTunes when he noticed the challenges of discovering, storing, and playing mp3 files.

After noticing how difficult it was to create an online store, few Ottawa entrepreneurs got the idea to create Shopify, now a popular platform among mom and pop shops. 

So, what's the best way to experience a aha moment? (and possibly launch products that stand out?)

There are 3 behaviors that helps discover new opportunities in market.

These behaviors are:

  • To question

  • To watch

  • To experiment

These behaviors are especially useful if you have been working in the same market for years. They will allow you to approach your prospects from a new angle. We will detail these behaviors in a future article.

Remember, the key is to keep an open mind and be surprised by the behavior, the reaction or the (alternate) use of your product or service.

 

Patrick Sirois
www.triode.ca

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Wednesday 1 December 2021

MeTro sets in just 60 seconds once treated with UV light, and the technology has a built-in degrading enzyme which can be modified to determine how long the sealant lasts – from hours to months — in order to allow adequate time for the wound to heal before the sealant dissolves harmlessly away.

The liquid or gel-like material has quickly and successfully sealed incisions in the arteries and lungs of rodents and the lungs of pigs, without the need for sutures and staples which can further traumatise already damaged tissue.

 

https://www.facebook.com/attn/videos/vb.160389977329803/1694955053873280/?type=2&theater

 

Patrick Sirois
www.triode.ca

 

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Wednesday 1 December 2021

UPS announced its partnership with the British technology company, Arrival, to deploy a "pilot fleet" of 35 new electric trucks. But what has attracted the attention of many people is not the new technology, it is rather the look of the trucks.

But the adorable design does not boil down to a more futuristic and pleasant aesthetic, it is a security element. The vehicle's curves provide drivers with a wider field of view that allows them to better identify obstacles.

The vehicles are equipped with Advanced driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) systems that improve safety and reduce driver fatigue.

Beyond the external design, the new UPS electric trucks, tested in London and Paris, are light vehicles that have a zero exhaust emission and an autonomy of more than 240km.

Source: qz.com

 

Patrick Sirois
www.triode.ca

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Wednesday 1 December 2021

This video of a little more than two minutes clearly explains how to recognize an "insight". I like particularly the definition of an "insight". We recognize it according to 3W 1. What does the customer doing? 2. Why does he do it? 3. Wow, Nobody had identified or noted this problem before! When you are able to precisely answer these 3 questions, probably is a good opportunity for innovation. There are many techniques and methodologies to discover "insights". It goes without saying that the polls, "focus group" and the "big data" are not techniques which generally generate "insights"! It should rather focus on more qualitative approaches.

Patrick Sirois www.triode.ca At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.

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Wednesday 1 December 2021

 A recent article by FastCo caught my attention. The electric toothbrush market is stagnant since a few years. How can one of the two conglomerates, Oral-B or Philips, reinvent its products or offer to grab new market share?

Well, maybe just like Kodak the current leaders will fade into the dark and let a new company dominate the market in just a few years...

A new player, Goby, is trying to shake things up with a new direct-to-consumer model, developed with the help of the people who brought us Harry's Razors. For $50, you get an electric toothbrush with a rotating head, which is about on par with other brands.

But they've made a few helpful design tweaks to the standard brush. For instance, it only needs to be charged twice a month, which you can do by USB or electric plug. It also comes with a hygienic base that can be easily cleaned, avoiding gross buildup. And you can sign up for a quarterly subscription program so that new heads are delivered to you exactly when you need them.

The biggest difference, though, is that the brush is colorful and fun, and comes from a brand that is relatable and full of personality.

 

Source: FastCo

Patrick Sirois
www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.


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Wednesday 1 December 2021

Most innovative companies of 2021!

The chart can be criticized / debated but I draw your attention to the small print on the top left:
Innovation is critical to business survival.

To be successful, companies must:

  • Prioritize innovation
  • Support their team (Budget + talents)
  • Innovation must yield results


Many want to innovate ... few really put the effort into it! 

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Wednesday 1 December 2021

For SMEs, project management can seem difficult, and financially speaking, very expensive.

Indeed, project managers are often seen as an expense rather than an investment by the organization's top leadership. It must be said that a lot of project management experts and consultants like to make things complicated!

As an SME grows, the risks associated with poor execution increase, often exponentially.

Take the case of an SME that manufactures car parts and has a good handle on its processes. When everything was done in-house, process control was quite straightforward: a few follow-up meetings, several corridor discussions, and few but well communicated changes within the project team.

This SME is growing. The processes and the practices are stretched to the maximum and the good management of the projects rests on the shoulders of a few individuals who struggle to do their coordination work because they are so involved, as much as product or technical experts.

The result: projects that slip, costs that explode and project managers who are at the end of their rope!

With a minimum of effort, the company could separate the role of project management into two distinct roles: 1. The technical expert 2. The project manager.

The technical expert has a more short-term and detailed vision while the project manager has a longer-term vision, ensuring the performance of the project and the support of the project team.

The project manager is not an expense, it is an investment!

It is therefore essential to remember the importance of drafting processes as well as establishing forecasts to anticipate long-term needs in relation to project managers.

Adapt + empower

Project management being what it is, it has many tools as well as exhaustive and complex processes to put in place, which can scare SMEs.

In fact, project management should be adapted to the reality of the organization ... not the other way around.

SMEs that place more value on project management fare better financially.

Why? Simply because they manage their risks better! The project manager should be the custodian of his projects. He must master them well… but not necessarily be responsible for all the deliverables. Roles and responsibilities must be clear and precise.

For example, after a few weeks of intervention with a client, it was found that the matrix of roles and responsibilities had a major gap: "Everyone" was responsible for "everything". Result: no one is responsible for anything! No joke!

One of the symptoms of this situation: the participants in the different project meetings were pretty much the same… all the time. What a waste!

Clarifying roles and responsibilities in a project management process is therefore essential and makes it possible to optimize team meetings so that they are as effective as possible. Clarifying roles and responsibilities contributes to better project performance. If everyone knows what to do, there is less chance that a task will be forgotten or, even worse, performed twice!

Orient and prioritize

One of the success factors of project management in SMEs is the mobilization of the work team as well as the directives given by the principal(s).

Company management has a duty to mobilize teams around projects. That is, to prioritize projects, assign resources and clarify their expectations. On this point, the project manager has every advantage to press the management in order to clarify their expectations. A good question to ask is, "What will make this project judged successful in the end? "

The establishment of a Steering Committee improves the performance of projects by creating a "forum" for discussing progress and bottlenecks. The steering committee therefore has a dual role:

  1. Ensure the progress of the project;
  2. Support the project team in the face of blockages encountered.

Unfortunately, the "steering committee" approach is poorly understood. Most of the time, this is simply a forum for the project manager to be held accountable. This committee, which usually meets once a month, is a powerful tool for both management and the project team ... if used properly!

The key is then to understand that project management is done hand in hand between management and the agent, and that two-way communication is required to achieve objectives.

Change management

The words "change management" often causes concern among project managers in small and medium-sized enterprises.

Indeed, another point that stumbles in project management in SMEs is change management. We are talking here about changes in scope, where a client who requests small modifications (constantly!) here and there in the project and do not take the time to assess the impacts (budget, schedule or scope).

Any additional request in a project will have an effect on the time, cost or quality of the project. For example, the customer asks to add a small function. This will likely require programming, testing, or validation. Not to mention the impacts on the drawings, the list of components, the technical documentation, etc. A simple change can have a significant impact on the risks associated with the project. As soon as a project manager "accepts" the change, he becomes responsible for delivering!

Finally, the experienced project manager will make sure to "manage" his client well in order to temper his expectations and above all to report the impacts of the requested changes. Indeed, the impact of new requests must always be measured so as not to disrupt the smooth running of the project.

In conclusion

In conclusion, SMEs have every advantage to perform well in project management. Promoting our best technician or engineer to the position of project manager is not always a good idea! If the profile is not adequate, the individual may get caught up in the technical details and forget to go up the elevator!

SMEs that benefit from project management will quickly see benefits such as:

  • Better use of their resources (financial, material and human);
  • Better performance of completed projects;
  • Delivery on time;
  • Respect of the budget;
  • Respect of the schedule;
  • Better profit margins;
  • And finally, better risk management.

In short, the advantages are numerous.

Patrick

Let’s take a few minutes to discuss:  https://outlook.office365.com/owa/calendar/Triode@triode.ca/bookings/

 

 

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Wednesday 1 December 2021

Failure to properly articulate your value proposition

The value proposition is the new sales pitch. Too many companies describe themselves as “better, faster, cheaper” than what already exists on the market, and their pitch stops there.

But this is not enough.

  • How is your solution better?
  • How much faster?
  • How much cheaper than your competitors?

You must be prepared to communicate your unique value proposition from all angles, and you must understand the value for each stakeholder. What problem are you fixing? How much is this solution worth in the eyes of your customers?

Take the time early in your product development project to identify the expectations of each of your potential stakeholders, then quantitatively explain how your product improves it.

It's not rocket science but it's often ignored!

Patrick Sirois

www.triode.ca

 

 

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Wednesday 1 December 2021
We often talk about entrepreneurial failures and why the vast majority of new products are flops. But this time we are witnessing success. What happens when you put together all the key elements for a successful product launch?
 
Recently, the company Prevost announced electronic side mirrors: the eMirrors. The eMirrors system consists of cameras and displays to replace traditional mirrors and offers a much wider field of vision, as well as improved visibility at night.
 
Prevost did not want to neglect any stage of the development by working in collaboration with us in order to build a complete analysis of the feasibility of the project, conduct a preliminary study with their customers, build a solid business plan and effectively coordinate the entire project. work team.
 
When we do not neglect any development step and call on project management experts (our sales pitch!), especially in complex and regulated environments, we greatly promote our success.
 
Let's make you next innovation initiative a success! 
 
Patrick sirois
 
Shall we take a few minutes to discuss your project? Here are my availabilities.
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Wednesday 1 December 2021

You have a problem in your organization that make's you procrastinate like there's not tomorrow! 

You know the kind of problem that every time you come across it you think: "Wow we have to take care of it, maybe one day!

 

The Design Sprint methodology is possibly an interesting solution for you and your team.

 

As mentionned by the author of the Design Sprint book, Jake Knapp: 

The big idea with the Design Sprint is to build and test a prototype in just five days. You'll take a small team, clear the schedule for a week, and rapidly progress from problem to tested solution using a proven step-by-step checklist. It's like fast-forwarding into the future so you can see how customers react before you invest all the time and expense of building a real product. 

But the Design Sprint is not just about efficiency. It's also an excellent way to stop the old defaults of office work and replace them with a smarter, more respectful, and more effective way of solving problems that brings out the best contributions of everyone on the team—including the decision-maker—and helps you spend your time on work that really matters.

 

Contact us to share your sticky problem! We'll tell you right away if we can help! 

 

info@triode.ca

 

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Wednesday 1 December 2021

The pandemic creates a lot of new opportunities (and menaces!) for the apps market…


 

Apps market in pandemic times

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Wednesday 1 December 2021

Recently, the Canadian government appealed to all manufacturing companies to support efforts to combat COVID-19. If you are a Canadian manufacturer or a Canadian company that can help Canada meet medical supplies needs, your help is needed.
 

https://www.canada.ca/fr/services/entreprises/maintenirfairecroitreameliorerentreprise/aide-manufacturiers.html
 

You are a manufacturer and you want to respond to the government's call to help make medical devices in support of the current crisis? You're not sure what that means? We know! 
 

Triode puts its expertise in the medical sector as well as in project coordination at the service of Canadian companies wishing to make a difference now! Don't hesitate to contact us. 1-844-507-9394 x331

Patrick Sirois
Team Triode
psirois@triode.ca

 

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Wednesday 1 December 2021

500 patients in northern Italian hospitals are receiving right now respirators, produced by hacked scuba gear that was shipped by Decathlon! This is incredibly cool. Big hugs to Isinnova and their team, Massimo Temporelli, Fablab Milano and all the people involved in this! Big time respect. This is the second successful project after replacing the missing pieces of existing ICU ventilators  last week. On the Isinnova website, anybody can connect and learn how to follow the same practice in their own country. This virus is incredibly fast moving, so we need to move faster.

Source: https://dgiluz.wordpress.com/2020/03/23/its-working/

 

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Wednesday 1 December 2021

Making a project turnaround is not a fun or easy task, but deploying a simple strategy will help the project manager rectify the situation such as:

  • Deliver what was promised (scope)
  • Deliver on time (schedule)
  • Deliver within the budget

Going through the next four steps will help the project manager get there.

1. Identification

The first step is to identify the problem. You can't even consider trying to recover a project that is in trouble if you don't know what the problem is in the first place.

While it may seem like a fairly simple problem to diagnose, it can be difficult to determine the exact cause that put the project at risk in the first place. Maybe requirements were not well defined enough, or maybe the time frame dictated by the client was too aggressive. Perhaps he keeps asking for changes (been there?)

Interviews with the project team and a thorough analysis of the situation will help you identify the problem and move forward. But be sure to determine the root cause of the problem.

Simply putting a band-aid on symptoms will not help at this stage.

2. Interviewing with empathy

Once you have identified the problem, it is time to discuss it with stakeholders and determine the action plan to rectify the project.

It may not be an easy discussion if people you are talking to are part of the problem!  It is important, however, to have a frank conversation and keep the discussion focused on the problem, not the person. This is not a finger-pointing exercise!

The project manager should have all the information at his fingertips and be able to redo the history of why the project is in trouble. This discussion should lead to a solution that will bring the project back to its objectives. In many cases, it’s good timing to organize a brainstorm session with the project team to make sure they’re part of the solution.

3. Implementation

It’s now time to implement the solution that will correct the project.

The solution could be to change the timeline, update the project scope, or even make changes to the project team. The solution should be well documented and communicated to all stakeholders involved in the project recovery.

All stages of recovery must be carefully described and detailed. There should be no questions about what needs to be done and when it needs to happen in order to get the project back on track. Don't hesitate to "over-communicate" at this stage.

This part of the turnaround process should be well thought out and approved by management and the client. In this way, the recovery can continue without further delay.

4. Recovery

Once the project is underway, the project manager and the timeline should communicate what is happening to get back on track.

Everything that happens in the turnaround must be part of the scope and timeline.

This is a great time to re-evaluate the entire project and determine if something needs to be updated or modified to make the project a success.

 

When recovering a troubled project, identify the problem, determine how to recover the situation, implement the team's solutions and review the timeline. Working sequentially on these four steps should allow you to aim for a smooth landing.

Fixing a project is never easy or fun, but with a little discipline and team mobilization, you will get there!

Team Triode

 

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Wednesday 25 August 2021
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