It’s Day 4. Up until this point, teams had dissected various problems in the healthcare industry, and come up with various ideas for changing the world. But it was game time now; it was time for everyone to make ideas a reality. We took the shuttle at 7:30am from IMD and headed to Univercité, a unique building space in Renens where designers, engineers, students and makers come together from all over Switzerland to develop projects and startups in an incredible incubator-like setting. Facilities included mechanical workshops, electrical labs, software development spaces, and so much more. As part of the innovation week, we were going to have access to this space and many of the experts and designers who came with it! For business students full of energy and stacked with dozens of ideas, this promised to be simply exciting.
As the day kicked off, teams buzzed with their plans of how they would be prototyping their big ideas and bringing them to life, while our expert coaches that included health professionals, industrial designers, and story-telling professionals helped us iterate our prototypes and build better value propositions. Over the course of the day, teams dispersed into the 2000 m² crevices of the Univercité building, collaborating together to probe their designs and gradually build prototypes from wannabe mock-ups. The variety of designs and the creativity of the teams were genuinely impressive, but then again when you consider the depth of experience and diversity of background from our class of 90, it’s hard to be surprised.
From a product design perspective, one of the most interesting observations for my team during the day was how much of an impact each piece of expert feedback we got had on our design. To put things into perspective, we had a total of 4 conversations with healthcare professionals throughout the day to better understand the pain points for the problem we were trying to solve, and each of these conversations significantly impacted our prototype design. We went from a very complex model to a much more simplistic version, capturing feedback from doctors and nurses related to simpler patient application requirements, more efficient handling needs and less sophisticated product preferences that made for a more well-rounded iteration of our first draft 2 days ago. Through this process, our critical thinking was put to the ultimate test, while our ability to make quick decisions as a team and iterate to move on to other parts of the design was thoroughly vetted. This was product design at its core, and it was a lot of fun.
As the day drew to a close, my team was on its 5th physical prototype iteration with a long way to go. We still needed to finalize our design and spend time in the workshop to build a “clean” product that we could present to the jury in 2 days’ time. We still wanted to iron out some more details with more health professionals and patients. We still needed to iron out our business model and deep dive into the product’s value chain to ensure our product had a viable route to market. With only 1 more full day to go before we stand before the jury, the task ahead is nothing short of daunting. But this is the point. Nothing great ever came out of a comfort zone. We’ll keep pushing the boundaries of what’s possible, and we know, as a class of 90, that incredible things are just around the corner.