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INFUSING CREATIVE THINKING INTO THE MEDTECH CORE CONFERENCE

What if we re-imagined what’s possible in healthcare?


This is the sort of challenge that gets Ara Manawa director Justin Kennedy-Good excited. We featured Ara Manawa’s work in our May/June 2021 edition of MedTech Bites.


Justin was invited to our 2021 MedTech CoRE conference where he covered diverse cutting-edge healthcare technologies such as research, design, clinical validation and implementation, and commercialisation.


Team member Sarv Taherian filed the following report:

As a team that likes to ponder “what-if?” we flipped the presentation and instead focused on the conference delegates and how they would re-imagine healthcare innovation.

We didn’t want to do the same old workshop exercises, so we explored our catalogue of creative thinking activities. With 110 participants and only 25 minutes, we had to get innovative. We split the room into three sections and gave each a different exercise designed to answer a different question:

How might we innovate given the hard constraints of time and money?

· Creative thinking exercise: Mission Impossible

· Given that we can't change the constraints of time and money, what can we do to still innovate?

· Ideas centred on community engagement, democratising the innovation process, and having a more integrated health and medical technology ecosystem.

· One concept that emerged was the Yellow Brick Road, where different parts of the health and medical technology ecosystem collaborate to enable innovation.



How might we become a global centre of innovation excellence?

· Creative thinking exercise: Cover Story

· Participants were asked to imagine that it was 2050 and Aotearoa was world-leading in translating health research into innovative outcomes. They brainstormed ideas for how we got there and created cover stories for a mock magazine.

· Ideas centred on collaboration, smart hospitals that are connected into homes, and a responsive healthcare system that focuses on precision and preventive medicine.



What does the culture of innovation look like?

· Creative thinking exercise: Conceptual Metaphor

· Participants were asked to imagine the culture of innovation as a “thing” from their imagination. They had to draw what it would look like, and consider how it would behave, how it relates to others, what its habitat is like and what nourishes it.

· All groups used metaphors inspired by nature: lichen, slime mould, butterflies, wine, and forests. Ideas centred on a culture that is flexible, amorphous, adaptive, regenerative, compassionate, vibrant, highly networked and thrives under eustress (beneficial stress).



What we learnt/to sum up

· Innovation doesn’t lie with a product or an idea, but in the environment that nurtures and supports it.

· We need all parts of the health ecosystem to work together to innovate – a startup alone will find it difficult and suffer.

· We can learn to do things differently by looking to nature for inspiration!