Need-driven innovation

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The “move fast and break things” approach that works in tech doesn’t translate well to healthcare. Instead, digital health startups should try need-driven innovation.

In the article published on FastCompany, Paul Yock analyses, what kind of approaches should digital health startups follow to success on the difficult healthcare market.

Here is what he writes:

“Many digital health companies fall short because they apply a strategy to healthcare that was developed and refined in the tech sector, an entirely different industry with its own set of rules.

Consumer technology startups often push quickly to get a minimum viable product to market and then iterate to improve that product based on what most resonates with consumers. Entrepreneurs and investors from the tech world mistakenly assume that this “lean startup” approach, which works well for products like photo-sharing tools and meal-delivery apps, should be equally successful for tackling any kind of problem. However, this strategy is ill-suited to healthcare, a much more complex and regulated industry.

Digital health products need to appeal not just to individual consumers but to a complicated landscape of stakeholders–from doctors and patients to regulators and insurers–all of whom have a say in whether a new technology is adopted. Products, especially those considered medical devices, may take years of jumping through complex clinical and regulatory hoops before they reach the market, and can’t always easily be iterated once they do.

After identifying an unmet healthcare need, the innovators take a deep dive to thoroughly understand the problem, existing solutions, and the needs and perspectives of all the stakeholders involved, trying to avoid any preconceived ideas about what a solution should look like or what product they should build.

A better approach for healthcare is need-driven innovation. Rather than leaping to invent a technology (like a sleep monitor) and then searching for a challenge it can be used to address (promoting more restful sleep), one starts by deeply understanding an important problem in healthcare and then designs a technology that is uniquely suited to solve it.”

How does need-driven innovation work? Read the full article here.

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