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22 December 2022

MedTech in action: workshops with industry experts


Our MedTech Showcase was full to the brim of deep insight drawn from a huge crowd of industry experts, business founders, and clinicians championing MedTech in the healthcare sector. Run in collaboration with Nexus, the University of Leeds, and Leeds Digital Festival, the event was launched to showcase the best and brightest in the industry whilst providing a space for up-and-comers to learn from people who have already been through it.

The day brought together a selection of panels, workshops, and an exhibition space dedicated to locally-based innovation. But for this blog, we’re going to focus on breaking down the learnings from the workshops, led by experts in their fields.

Avoiding organ rejection. How to ensure MedTech is embraced culturally and improves both patient and organisational health.

Our first workshop was run by Q5, and presented by:

  • Director of Q5: Annabel Tonge
  • Associate Partner: Ian Reynolds
  • Consulting team: Stewart Brown

The central discussion of this workshop focussed on how we can bring change in different sectors and industries and share learnings, to change the way people think and behave. Stewart Brown touched on how change is often perceived as being difficult, but that change is necessary to move the sector in the right direction.

“When looking at it from a psychological side, we came up with three main truths about change. The first being that many people actually find the idea of change quite scary. So, we need to think about what we can do to help people understand and then shorten the amount of time it takes for people to accept that change.”

Stewart Brown

The workshop attendees broke off into three groups and were placed alongside clients of Q5. Each group discussed a case study and shared their knowledge with other members of the workshop.

The three different topics of discussion on the tables included:

  • A new hospital programme
  • Bringing a ‘legacy’ pharmacy retailer into the 21st century – how to take a legacy organisation and innovate it at pace
  • Financial software provider – evolving technology platforms – how legacy innovations can prevent change and the steps to take towards future-proofing

Using design thinking and empathy to transform MedTech design

Our second workshop was run by Tony Morgan, Professor at Leeds University Business School. Tony kicked off the session with an exercise that saw attendees draw a vase and flowers on a sticky note that could be used as an art piece in a 75-year-old flower lovers’ home, to get their creative design juices flowing.

Tony then went on to discuss design-thinking and the importance of considering what people really want – not what we think they want.

“If you only take away one thing, remember to love the problem, not the solution.”

Tony Morgan

After further discussion, Tony reverted back to attendees’ sticky notes and asked them to consider how flowers could be introduced into the home of someone elderly who doesn’t get out of the house very often, and from the brainstorming, these solutions were delivered:

  • Digital pictures of flowers
  • Integrating images into kitchen worktops and patterns in the house
  • Long-lasting flowers
  • Garden programmes
  • Floral wallpaper
  • Patio doors into the garden
  • Cut flowers from neighbour’s garden – a sense of community
  • Webcam of flowers on websites
  • Use tech to bring flowers into the lounge (VR)
  • Seasonal subscription

The need for a sense of empathy and understanding of other people’s feelings for effective design thinking was heavily emphasised within this workshop. The attendees were taught about how design thinking should provide a human and problem-centric approach, embracing empathy, diversity, divergence and convergence.

“Design thinking starts with defining the problem, then considering the actual end users before considering sponsors, let alone wider stakeholders. When looking at healthcare, we need to understand the needs of the medical practitioner, but we also really need to consider the needs of the patient or user.”

Tony Morgan

Importance of inclusivity and accessibility in research and design

Our third workshop of the day was run by Hippo and presented by:

  • Nick Johnstone-Waddell, Senior Design Consultant
  • Josh Healey, Principal Consultant and Content Designer

This workshop kicked off with a quick task for attendees, who were asked to have a quick 5-minute chat answering:

  • What do you understand accessibility to mean?
  • What’s the role of user research in making an accessible product?
  • What part does inclusion play?

Hippo then went on to explain the shortfalls that often come about when these questions aren’t considered in the design process, reminding attendees that 1 in 5 people in the UK have a long-term illness, impairment or disability, and many have a temporary disability (roughly 15 million).

“When we were kicking off research, we really needed to first and foremost get a solid understanding what our methods were going to be and how we could make sure we were catering to people’s needs.”

Attendees were then set subsequent tasks to evaluate apps, research and programmes built specifically for the workshop, looking at it from the perspective of someone who may have accessibility needs. The workshop was then rounded off with some examples of how consideration of accessibility needs often benefits a multitude of people.

“Councils introduced drop curves to make the change from pavement to road accessible to wheelchair users – but they found it actually helped far more people than just wheelchair users such as pushchairs, suitcases, elderly people crossing roads – they’re now not seen as an accessibility design but a universal design.”

Nick Johnstone-Waddell

We were thrilled to see so many from the Leeds MedTech community come together to share their knowledge and experiences. If you would like to gain a full overview of the day, then make sure to take a look at our blog The Leeds MedTech Showcase: A Hub of Innovation in the North.

MedTech & Healthcare

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