Archive for September, 2011

Emerging Trends in Medical Devices

September 20, 2011

FountainBlue’s September 19 Life Science Entrepreneurs’ Forum was on the topic of Emerging Trends in Medical Devices: Mobile Health, Personalized Medicine and Consumerization. Below are notes from the conversation.
Our panelists concurred that it’s an exciting time to innovate in the medical device space, because of the advancements in technology, rising consumerization and expansion into global markets, and the growing receptiveness of an industry which has historically been slow-moving.
Technology Advancements Enabling Innovation
They remarked on some trends in the medical device space and their implications for the industry. The overarching themes is the advancement of technology and the transference of technology solutions from traditionally other sectors and impacting the medical device industry.
1. There was much discussion around the miniaturization trend, where products which were the size refrigerators are reduced to the size of a microwave, products the size of a microwave reduced to the size of a hand-held, and products formerly the size of a hand-held are getting really small, even nano size. The implication is that products will be manufactured, tested and delivered more efficiently and more cost-effectively.
2. Sensor technologies are being applied to implantables, therapeutic, diagnostic, and other devices.
3. Database solutions are enabling business analytics solutions which address challenges ranging from IT in healthcare to patient diagnostics to personalized medicine.
4. Cloud storage is an enabling technology for business analytics and other database solutions, making it more cost-effective to manage huge volumes of moving data, and empowering fact-based decision-making which impact patients, providers, care-givers, insurers, etc.
5. Advancements in wireless and mobile devices and software are enabling novel diagnostic, monitoring, enabling and other solutions for patients and their caregivers.
6. Technology advancements in biochemical discovery and genetic markers are enabling additional opportunities for medical devices around diagnostics, monitoring, and other areas.
Consumerization and Expansion in Global Markets
Baby boomers in the US will increasingly demand more consumer solutions to better monitor, enable, and support their personal health and well-being, especially given the rising cost of healthcare, the increased needs of an aging population, and the growing range of options available. This techno-philic demographic group will also be receptive to technology-enabled solutions which would deliver the information they seek in a timely manner.
Emerging countries such as Asia, India and Brazil will have an ever-growing, more financially independent middle class with a similar desire to take more control and responsibility for their own health.
Growing Receptiveness and Collaboration Based on Technology Advancements and Market Trends
With technology advancements and rising global demand, our panelists are hopeful that the industry will see more collaboration and cross-pollination between pharma, medical device and medical imaging companies, leveraging software and technology plus more opportunities for getting solutions developed, tested and into the hands of eager users.

With these overarching trends, our panelists had words of wisdom and caution for those innovating in this space:
• Minimize technology development and regulatory and market adoption risks by being strategic and proactive, so think carefully through your regulatory needs and work early and well with the right regulatory bodies and people to help ensure the approval of your product and think strategically about your customer and your markets.
• Whatever your solution, deliver higher-level care at lower cost.
• Sometimes miniaturization may compromise quality. Sometimes that’s OK, sometimes that’s not, depending on the needs of the customer.
• Innovation is coming from small companies, and small companies with partnerships with larger corporations may get the market, funding, research and other support they need to continue innovating.
• When consider FDA approval, note that the FDA standards require both safety and efficacy, whereas just safety is required in other regulatory bodies. Remember that the FDA approval team itself encourages your communication and wants to get your products approved, but may be locked into a process which makes it difficult.
• We will come to a crossroads and have to decide do we pay more or get less? We can’t have both or it will squeeze innovation.

Specific opportunities around medical devices include:
• Leveraging medical devices as a diagnostic, tracking or monitoring or communicating tool, whether it’s related to mobile solutions or web or other platforms (e.g. beimmunized.com)
• Monitoring devices that look and act like medical devices but don’t call themselves that and avoid FDA approval needs;
• Gamafication leveraging mobile phones and tablets to monitor, manage, communicate, train, connect, etc.
• Health self-management tools and resources leveraging databases and clouds and even social media;
• Outsourcing of innovation for specific problems

The bottom line that there is a wealth of opportunities ahead and the industry itself is rapidly evolving and growing, and it will look much different in many ways, in the next quarter, in the next year, in the next three-five years.
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We would like to thank and acknowledge our speakers for FountainBlue’s September 19 Life Science Entrepreneurs’ Forum on the topic of Emerging Trends in Medical Devices: Mobile Health, Personalized Medicine and Consumerization:
Facilitator Gil Peterson, VP of Sales, Triple Ring Technologies
Panelist Geetha Rao, PhD, Springborne Life Sciences, CEO and Founder, MyMedFax; Vice President of Strategy and Risk Management, Triple Ring Technologies
Panelist Frank Ingle, CEO and CTO, Instruments for Science and Medicine
Presenting Entrepreneur Bronislava Belenkaya, President and Founder, 3S Corporation
Presenting Entrepreneur Jay Miller, former President and CEO, Zonare Medical Systems & Vital Images, Inc.

Energy Storage and Management

September 13, 2011

FountainBlue’s September 12 Clean Energy Entrepreneurs’ Forum was on the topic of Energy Storage and Management. Below are notes from the conversation.

Energy storage and management is a critical piece of the energy equation as storing and managing generated energy makes energy more predictably available, with less variability. The challenge is to proactively generate large quantities of energy and make it readily and dynamically available to a ever-growing and demanding audience.
The panelists concurred on the major challenges for providing efficient storage and management systems:
• Storage and management solutions must be scalable and cost-effective.
• They must work within the existing infrastructure.
• Solutions must be easy-to-use in order for customers to adopt it.
• To fit the above three criteria, solutions must leverage proven, solid technologies in order to be cost-effective, scalable, and readily trusted and adopted.
Our panelists also commented on how storage and management solutions will be tied to the evolution of electric vehicle adoption and markets. The jury is still out in terms of how the EV market will grow and evolve, but there’s no debate that EV adoption will impact energy storage, distribution, management and usage patterns, and customers, government, businesses, utilities, and other stakeholders will need to adjust to the changes as they go, whether or not they choose to buy an EV.
Our panelists commented on some of the upcoming opportunities in this space:
• Create sensors as components of the grid, to help monitor, track and manage energy flow and distribution.
• Provide services which would help governments and utilities and homeowners and businesses to monitor and upgrade pieces of the infrastructure in a cost-effective, as needed way. A mass overhaul of infrastructure might be cleaner and even necessary, but it’s too daunting and expensive a task and it would be hard to find someone to pay for it.
• As such, perhaps the lower-hanging fruit is in emerging countries with huge energy needs, without the barriers of aging, outdated infrastructure.
• Leverage hardware and software to automate and manage energy usage to prevent un-intended problems.
• However, this may lead to intentional problems caused by hackers, rebels, militants and others bent on compromising access to energy, so there’s an opportunity to provide security services and solutions to prevent this.
• Convert renewable energy into liquid fuel, as we already have an infrastructure to deal with liquid fuels, through our traditional vehicle fueling stations.
• Consider how software and IT can be applied to existing problems in energy management and storage.
• Find technologies where you don’t need new materials, new equipment and new factories which take a lot of money. Applying existing solutions in new ways that make sense not only saves you time and money, but it also makes the idea more fundable, and is easier to develop and distribute.
• As the EV industry grows, we may progress from having resources adjust to the load to having the load adjust to the resources. There will be opportunities for those who can help various stakeholders adjust to new requirements.
In the end, whether we are talking about compressed air, pumped hydro (good solution, but many of the prime sites are taken), batteries (cost effective challenges here, but re-used EV batteries might be an opportunity), liquid fuel, solar thermal, biofuel, etc., successful clean energy storage and management companies will need to leverage existing and proven solutions in hardware, software, and other areas, to address the demanding and growing need for huge volumes of reliable energy with less variability and lower cost.

Resources:
• Eric Wesoff: September 12, 2011: Terrajoule Unstealths: Distributed Power via Solar, Steam and Storage http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/Terrajoule-Unstealths-Distributed-Power-via-Solar-And-Energy-Storage/
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FountainBlue would like to thank and acknowledge our speakers for our September 12 Clean Energy Entrepreneurs’ Forum, on the topic of Energy Storage and Management:
Facilitator Steve Adelman, Managing Director, Nexus Partners
Panelist Matthew Denesuk, Ph.D., STSM, Manager of Natural Resources Modeling and Social Analytics, IBM Research Partner, IBM Venture Capital Group
Panelist Scott Elrod, Vice President, Director of Hardware Systems Laboratory, PARC
Panelist Jon Eric Thalman, Director, Regulatory Strategy & Support, PG&E
Presenting Entrepreneur Steve Bisset, CEO, Terrajoule
Please also join us in thanking our hosts at PARC for their support of this event and this series.

Women Who Make Their Own Rules

September 12, 2011

FountainBlue’s September 9 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series was on the topic of Women Who Make Their Own Rules. Below are notes from the conversation.
We were fortunate to have a great panel of wise, experienced and successful women who so candidly shared their challenges, their advice, their tips about working with rules within and outside a corporate setting, to benefit all. Despite the differences in backgrounds and perspectives, one overarching theme of the conversation centered around being genuine and authentic and self-aware enough to know what you want, why you want it, and how to get it, working with current circumstances, with current stakeholders, many of whom are resistant to accepting the involvement and participation of a woman.!
Another theme centered around perseverance and resiliency. These women knew exactly what they were attempting to do, and especially that it will not be an easy task, yet they acted despite the critics, despite the norms and rules, and achieved results which helped redefine perceptions, expectations and ambitions for both men and women.
Our panelists agreed that many rules are full of assumptions, that rules should be treated as guidelines, that successful women know how to change and bend the rules to achieve better-than-expected results, that bending the rules sometimes actually makes a bigger, better reality. But there *are* some guidelines for deciding when and whether to bend and break a rule and why:
1) Always honor the Golden Rule – Do unto others what you would have them do unto you.
2) Focus on delivering the results, and questions rules which spell out *how* results should be produced, as they may actually be (unintentionally) limiting the results you’re seeking.
3) Consider the purpose of the rule from the perspective of different stakeholders before deciding whether to change or stretch that rule.
4) Consider that different rules are important under different circumstances. New and improved rules and better ways of doing things may come from the oddest places. Be open to them.
5) Be suspicious of rules that encourage/reward complacency, while discouraging initiative and passion. Don’t just go through the motions and follow rules blindly out of habit. It will limit your success, and that of others around you.
6) What worked in the past may not work in the future. What worked for others may not work for you . . . so consider each case as a separate incident.
7) With that said, learn from the rule-breakers and change agents around you. Learn as much from mistakes as from successes!
8) When looking at who wants/advocates a particular rule and why, don’t focus on ancillary things like gender and culture, but more about individual and their perspectives and motivations.
9) If you decide to change a rule, look not just at how that helps you and others directly, but also the indirect, long-term, and short-term impact of changing that rule and factor that in as you work to forge that change.
10) We have too many rules, and many of them outlive their purpose and need to be changed.
However, as different as each of our panelists were, they each shared secrets about how they had their own style, their own way of making things work. But each method involved ten key things:
1) Proactively communicate and function with authenticity, intelligence, and self-awareness.
2) Consistently deliver tangible, measurable results, communicated well.
3) At times bend and break rules in a way where all stakeholders can accept. To do this well, consider the motivations of your stakeholders.
4) Value, nurture and build key relationships to help achieve results,
5) Expand perspectives by welcoming mentors, sponsors, advocates and actively engaging in networks,
6) Possess and project the desire to succeed, with the track record to support it, and a BHAG at the end of it,
7) Learn and grow from every experience, good and bad.
8) Have the confidence and fortitude to excel and succeed despite the odds.
9) Foster a re-questioning and a re-definition of rules and norms, which open up more possibilities, and better serve all.
10) Continually raise the bar for herself and for those who follow.
So breaking, reshaping, bending, stretching, redefining rules is part of the brand of each of our panelists, and in a *good* way. When you consider your own brand, think deeply about whether your job is worth doing – what aspects are and aren’t? If it’s worth doing, how can you keep it that way or make it more so, and if not, what can you change to make it so?
Resources:
• Sheryl Sandberg: Why we have too few women leaders – YouTube, Dec 21, 2010 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=18uDutylDa4
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We would like to thank and acknowledge our speakers for FountainBlue’s September 9 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series was on the topic of Women Who Make Their Own Rules:
Facilitator Roberta LaPorte, RAL & Associates, Career and Leadership Consultants
Panelist Wendy Wei Liang, Director, Program Management and Globalization at Oracle
Panelist Judy Priest, Distinguished Engineer and Engineering Manager, Scalable Networks Group, Cisco
Panelist Merline Saintil, Chief of Staff to VP of Architecture, eBay
Panelist Yvonne Thomson, Senior Director, Internal Communications, Symantec
Please join us in thanking our hosts at Symantec for their support of this event and this series. Thank you also to our speakers for taking the time to share their advice and thoughts.