Innovation can’t happen without collaboration

Jennifer Dransfeldt | January 24, 2017

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“The health industry will continue to consolidate through mergers and acquisitions in 2017, but the new year also likely will bring an uptick in alternative transactions, such as joint ventures, partnerships, strategic alliances and clinical affiliations.” Top health industry issues of 2017 PwC

Innovations in the medical device industry are often not created within one team. Increasingly teams are augmented with many different types of players through contract manufactures or acquisitions or even strategic alliances. The benefits of collaboration are rarely lost on industry leaders. Bringing together innovators to create a new way of doing things can revolutionize a sector, but without the correct support and infrastructure collaborations often fail.

Collaborating across cultures, institutional and geographical, adds unique challenges with each group having their own standards and entrenched ways of doing things. How do teams cross these divides? Unified goals, clear expectations, unique points of view are a great place to start, but also having the right tools makes overcoming the challenges of modern collaboration possible.

Unified Goal: When cross-organizational teams have a clear and unified goal for developing a product, innovation or service, they can better overcome the challenges inherent with collaborating in a complex environment. Having the shared vision makes the unity worthwhile.

Clear Roles: Clearly communicating the expectations of how and when each member of the team will be asked to participate helps alleviate the uncertainty of collaborating in a new way. Documenting the goals and setting, communicating and tracking of the collaboration help keep programs moving forward smoothly.

Unique points of view: Unlocking the creativity needed for innovation requires harnessing the insights and unique understanding across different stakeholders. Bringing unique points of view will result in more robust and better considered ideas for implementation. Having representation from across the team will help better asses the impacts of decisions and can help identify issues before they become problems.

The Right Tools: As teams seek input and feedback, tools like Jama Software are critical in capturing these insights in real-time. With everyone having the most up-to-date information, reviews can be streamlined and allow for more clear communication to what is expected by who and by when. This helps reduce complexity of communication and save time by having a single place to provide input. The teams have a single source for collaboration regardless of geographic or institutional location, which enables collaboration across a variety of relationships. Suppliers can have clients directly involved in reviews for input and progress checks or academia can collaborate with industry partners so communication can maintain an even pace despite cultural differences. Having a single platform where these teams can come together to innovate, review and connect will keep programs on track, teams collaborating and not let insights slip through cracks.

People working together is at the very core of all product development work. The ability to collaborate is critical for innovation. For companies or academia to turn the research of today into the products of tomorrow, it is critical that teams stay connected and synchronized.