Co-creation at the UofSC Innovation Think Tank Lab in collaboration with Siemens Healthineers

The University of South Carolina opened its Innovation Think Tank Lab in downtown Columbia on March 21th 2019 with a two-day workshop on interdisciplinary innovations in healthcare in collaboration with Siemens Healthineers. 20 participants from various prestigious institutions such as UofSC, Georgia Tech, Benedict College and the University of Florida participated in a two-day “Interdisciplinary Innovations in Healthcare Workshop.” There, the students were challenged to identify a problem in the healthcare industry and then develop and present a real-world solution to that problem.

The workshop hosted by the UofSC Innovation Think Tank Lab was designed and conducted by Prof. Haider comprised on various hands on experiences on problem identification, conception, validation of the ideas through experts and an award ceremony for the best ideas. During the two-day workshop, following the interactive training by Prof. Sultan Haider, six project teams were built. Each project team chose one of diseases as their focus area and worked on innovative ideas focusing on healthcare technologies in the healthcare ecosystem of tomorrow. The workshop’s training program consisted of seven different modules: Innovation Methodologies in Practice; Projects assignment and team building; Project Execution including feedback – Team work on assigned projects with hands on training on innovation methodologies; Presentation Techniques and wrap up; Connecting the dots, creating the big picture, value proposition, Groupwork, feedback, preparing the presentation; Review on final outcomes and completing the presentation and Presentation of the results and evaluation by the jury. In just two days, the interdisciplinary participants showed the power of the program with their outcomes comprising of lifecycle description of various diseases such as stroke, obesity, breast cancer, diabetes etc. and innovative solutions.

Nishta Bhan, Graduate Student – Biomedical Innovation and Development at Georgia Institute of Technology said “The two-day workshop is a great experience for anyone who is passionate about making a change in healthcare and looking to collaborate with people from varied departments to brainstorm ideas that can potentially have a huge impact on preexisting conditions. The initial workshop with Prof. Sultan Haider was a great learning experience and his constant mentoring for each and every team was refreshing and gave us the opportunity to soundboard our ideas to him. Working in a team with varied backgrounds is a great experience and gives a fresh perspective to solve problems. Lastly, I believe that the ITT workshops are an experience which every student must go through to realize the extent of their capabilities in brainstorming ideas, collaborating globally and finding solutions to diseases/unmet needs.

Ahmed M. EL-Naggar, Fulbright Scholar at University of South Carolina said “Nowadays, technology is deeply integrated into all fields. However, there is still a missing link between engineers and doctors. The workshop organized by UofSC’s Innovation Think Tank and Siemens Innovation Lab was a great opportunity in which young engineering and medicine students were brought together to brainstorm new ideas aiming to improve the patients’ and doctors’ experience. My current work focuses on low power medical implants. I recall the weeks I spent to get aware of the challenges in the medical field. In this meeting, only in three hours, I got a thoughtful data from my teammates working in hospitals. I am glad that our team won second place for our proposed breast cancer framework. However, the real win was being there and hearing the useful feedbacks and discussions from the juries, other colleagues and entrepreneurs. I am thankful for UofSC and Siemens for organizing such a workshop.

Kevin Gagnon, Student – Computer Science, The University of South Carolina Honors College shared “ The ITT Interdisciplinary Innovations in Healthcare Workshop was an amazing opportunity for me to apply my knowledge to modern day problems in healthcare. I thought that this was a great opportunity to think creatively and collaborate with a team of people in different fields than me. Oftentimes it’s difficult to find real world applications of our education, but this workshop did a great job of giving each team a specific problem area (disease) to work in which allowed us to be more creative. Not only was I surrounded by brilliant minds from around the southeast, but I was also able to collaborate with young professionals who specialize in different fields than me. In just two days, my team and I were able to generate solutions to some of healthcare’s biggest problems and gain valuable feedback on our presentation and implementation techniques. I’m so grateful to the ITT Lab for this experience and cannot wait for the next workshop.

Christopher Skylar McDaniel, Student – Biological Sciences (Major; Biology, Minor: Chemistry), The University of South Carolina said “I thought that the opportunity to work with people from separate backgrounds was unique, challenging, and fruitful. I enjoyed the process of creating our product, and collaborating in order to come up with the best idea. The diversity of backgrounds was key in that area because everyone approaches the problem in a unique way leading to a larger idea pool to draw from. This is different than any typical class because we usually are asked to collaborate with those only in our discipline. I look forward to participating in the think tank moving forward.

Rajendra Neupane, Summer Research Fellow at University of South Carolina said “The program was one of my best experiences ever. The schedule was made very flexible and perfectly tailored for the participants to complete the project in a relatively shorter period of time. The organizing committee did an extraordinary job to allow us adequate amount of time, resources, and guidance to help the groups work effectively. Most importantly, it was a great opportunity for me to network with students and professionals from variety of academic background. I believe programs like this help participants enhance their abilities including teamwork, time management, problem-solving, and innovation skills.

As UofSC ITT Lab is becoming a part of the global ITT infrastructure worldwide, the participants will be able to share knowhow with other ITT members and participate at its various locations in Germany, U.K., China, Turkey, India and the US. This global network will allow participants to collaborate with other innovators worldwide. Exchange of workforce between various ITT Labs and constant engagement with world’s finest educational institutions via various faculty and innovation management certification engagements has led to a creation of a unique global innovation ecosystem.