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First, Learn the Anatomy and Physiology of Your Innovation Ecosystem


Innovation ecosystems are just as complex as human anatomy. Be sure you don't cut the basic science classes before trying to see patients at the bedside.

Anatomy Kid

have elements that are arranged and connected to achieve innovation and user-defined value. The innovation ecosystem comprises two distinct, but largely separated, economies: the knowledge economy, which is driven by fundamental research; and the commercial economy, which is driven by the marketplace.

As a biomedical or clinical entrepreneur, one major challenge is to find your place in the relevant ecosystem that applies to your product or service. Biomedical products include biopharma, medtech, in vitro diagnostics, vaccines, and biologic products (eg, stem cells). Clinical innovative products, meanwhile, are designed to deliver care at lower costs; improve outcomes and population health; and enhance the patient, MD-provider, and non-MD provider experience (the quadruple aim). Policy innovation is geared towards making rules and regulations that make the health system more efficient and effective. Digital health products and services, ie, the use of information and communications technologies in sick care and disease prevention and wellness, due to its convergent nature, can span all three categories of innovation.

The first step in finding your fit in any ecosystem, whether your goal is to find a job or test and launch your product, is to understand the anatomy (how it is built) and the physiology (how it works) of your domain cluster.

For example, digital health clusters are different from med tech and biopharma ones. Understanding the anatomy and physiology of digital health clusters takes some work. There is usually no Grant's Atlas and, unlike human anatomy, the pieces and their interrelationships constantly change. Here's where to look when you start putting together an ecosystem asset map:

1. Research and development facilities like industries, government labs and universities

2. Educational institutions areas of expertise

3. Clinical enterprises

4. Industry specific firms

5. Investor and financial institutions

6. Economic development agencies

7. Community-based collaborative innovation networks

8. Consulates, embassies, and other international trade resources

9. Service providers

10. Government agencies

Be sure to understand not just where information flows and how, but also the central nervous stem that coordinates the impulses and the endocrine system that connects one system to the next. Understand information rheology to identify and overcome the blockages of a signal to a receptor.

Plants and animals have cells that are organized into tissues that aggregate in organs that have unique functions that are coordinated and maintained by intricate control systems to keep them functioning within narrow parameters. Innovation ecosystems are equally complex. Be sure you don't cut the basic science classes before trying to see patients at the bedside.

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