NEOS Surgery Applies Innovation Management Methodology for Surgical Instrument Conceptualizing
By Mireia Dilmé – Exploitation, Innovation and Strategy Consultant at Eurecat
Optogenerapy partner NEOS Surgery benefitted from the innovation management task of the project with the organization of a Design Thinking session to brainstorm around the design of a new surgical instrument for Optogenerapy’s device subcutaneous implantation. The design thinking and SCAMPER methodology were applied during the session, which resulted in two concepts selected. Prototypes are currently being designed and manufactured.
Both R&D engineers and members of the sales and marketing team participated in the session. The first ones, bringing technical background whilst the others bringing market knowledge and end-users expressed desires/constraints. Eurecat provided support in the preparation of the workshop, providing their experience in the implementation of the chosen methodology: the design thinking process.
What is the Design Thinking methodology?
Design Thinking is a particular methodology that draws upon creativity, systematic reasoning, logic and open discussions to solve problems and find new opportunities. It is based on five stages including (I) empathizing, to learn about the end-users or problems that aim to be solved, (II) defining, to construct a point of view based on the identified needs, (III) ideating, to brainstorm on a novel solution to match the problem /need, (IV) prototyping, to build a small representation of the ideas and (V) testing those ideas.
After previously having narrowed down the requirements of the envisaged surgical instrument, the session started with an introduction to the implant and the instrumentation requirements, emphasizing its main functions, which are used to define six different subsystems. Once it was ensured that all session participants were on the same page, several activities in small groups focused on, first, finding possible options to address the function of each subsystem and, then, making up different single-use instruments by combining one option for each function.
To conduct this task, NEOS Surgery used two design thinking ideation methods:
- Infographics and visual support: for each subsystem, images were provided to guide, inspire and facilitate the common understanding of potential ideas arising from workshop participants.
- Application of the SCAMPER method. This technique relies on forming a checklist where each letter of the SCAMPER acronym triggered questions to play, challenge and come up with new ideas for the features of the surgical instrument. As an example, some of the questions asked were:
Finally, an ideas-sharing time allowed attendants to present the different concepts (candidate single-use instruments) and all participants voted for the best ones. As an output, two concepts were selected. These are now being designed and prototyped.
NEOS Surgery is an innovative technology company dedicated to the development, manufacture and commercialization of medical devices in the field of cranial and spinal surgery, and other surgical fields. NEOS Surgery’s role within the Optogenerapy project is focused on the creation of dedicated tools for an easy implantation and explanation of the resulting subcutaneous device.