Health Tech worked with companies large and small to help the senior management team to stand back from their current business and examine their opportunities both long term and short – in particular if it was a SME, SME spinoff or start-up spinout which could attract sources of support for their development. A strategic “brainstorming” session was frequently the first step to exploring the opportunities, issues and barriers facing the business and potential new ideas. In some cases that workshop progressed straight on into the development of new products and services aimed at the medical and healthcare technologies sector while in others it prompted re-structuring of business plans and capabilities to take advantage of diversifying and innovative directions in what can potentially be a highly lucrative and profitable marketplace.
In the case of diversification, the team often then applied their knowledge base to address key questions around market knowledge, business strategy, potential partnerships, funding and capacity building to build the foundations for new directions. In all such activity the team were able to provide the client with a “mentoring” service that was unbiased and with a completely independent view of the business – a facet universally valued by clients.
When it came to focusing on particular new products or services, the team had a wealth of experience across technology assessment, benchmarking, product & service design, engineering, manufacturing, prototyping and logistics to help put the flesh on the bones of new ideas. In all such activities the team was well placed to access and draw on the wealth of appropriate capability available through University experts, Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, management short courses, short term projects and the many other mechanisms that are available.
In all cases, the team was able to advise and help with the many differences and peculiarities of the medical and healthcare technologies sector including IP issues, image, regulation, certification, ethics and the expectations of a strong evidence based culture.
In the end, the team worked with a very wide spectrum of ideas and applications – many of which have yet to surface in the marketplace – ranging from surgery to telemedicine, from blister packs to endoscopic techniques, from psychoanalysis to independent living equipment. Clients spanned individuals and companies that had previous experience in many different fields including automotive production practices; aerospace materials; construction technologies & systems, instrumentation, control & sensor devices, software development, specialist machining and tooling to name but a few.
The Health Tech project closed in terms of free support at the end of 2008 but clients are still taking advantage of one of the exit strategy programmes – Medical Interchange. Colin Davis headed up the Health Tech team at WMG and now chairs Medical Interchange – a group of 9 Universities in the West Midlands (including WMG for the University of Warwick) working with companies who want to grow their medical and healthcare technology activities through collaboration projects and programmes.