Ending and Beginning

Wow! I can’t believe that GMI is coming to a close. It’s been one of the best years of my life! At times it’s been hard, grueling, stressful, frustrating, challenging, but it’s also been rewarding, exciting, adventurous, triumphant, and exhilarating. It’s been quite the ride! A year ago, I could never have imagined the lessons I’ve learned, the people I’ve met, and the things I’ve done in GMI. It’s been awesome!

Triumph of Consultika

We completed all of the paperwork during our recent visit to Costa Rica for Consultika’s clinical trial. After three days of meetings, many hours of revising the papers, some POPS ice cream for energy, and almost two hours of signing documents, we left two giant stacks of paperwork on Dr. Vargas’ desk for submission to the Costa Rican government who will review them, ask for changes, and hopefully approve our clinical trial for Consultika. I’ve learned so much with this project, more than just the paperwork and planning that a clinical trial requires. I’ve learned how to collaborate across cultures and barriers, how to get help from mentors, how to test and improve ideas, how to create an app, and the importance of telemedicine, which I believe is the future of medicine. The revolution is coming, indeed it’s already here, that when you’re sick, you won’t go to the doctor’s office, you’ll video-chat with your doctor instead. Your doctor will send you exactly what you need and tell you to stay home and rest, which is exactly what you want to do anyway. Consultika is a small part of this revolution.

Signing Consultika’s Clinical Trial Paperwork with Dr. Vargas in Costa Rica

Lessons Learned

I’ve learned so much this year that I can’t possibly fit it into one blog post, so here are some of the highlights:

  • Design is a team process. It starts with finding a need, then validation, ideation, prototype creation, testing, iterating, getting user feedback, and finally the idea is somewhat ready for market. Design is not an activity that one can do in an evening, or alone. Design takes a team that has different perspectives and skills; design takes hard work and time.
  • Working on a high-functioning team is heaven. Working with my fellow GMIers, I felt like we were all part of the same organism at times. Sometimes we seemed to be psychic; we were all on exactly the same page. I never worried about someone failing in their commitments or not completing their share of the work. You guys are awesome!
  • Need validation is key to impactful innovation. Just inventing something doesn’t usually work, but filling a verified need will help your product take off. Need validation is hard work and requires lots of interviews, research, and observations. But once you find the right one, you’re ready to blast off to the moon.
  • Sometimes you have pivot on a project. As much as I liked some ideas and projects, as soon as we discovered that they weren’t feasible (for reasons such as technology deficits, limited resources, or no true need), we had to kill them. Sometimes it was hard, but killing a failing project freed us to pursue successful ones.
  • Research articles are actually helpful. I once thought reading research articles was a waste of time (I never touched one in my undergrad). But they contain such a wealth of information that several of my projects this year would have flopped without them.
  • Working in the medical device industry is my passion. From classes to internships, from prototyping to presentations, I have loved every part of designing medical devices. Before starting GMI, I didn’t know if I would even like this industry due to my limited experience with it. But I love it more and more each day.

Aller-G’s team, just one of the many projects I got to work on this year and an example of a high-functioning team.

Thank you

There are several people whom I wish to thank. All that I’ve learned and accomplished this year would not have been possible without you.

Dr. Richardson, thank you so much for mentoring me this year. Thank you for your guidance and help on everything from projects to jobs. Thank you for your advice and insights into the medical device industry and the way you gently nudged me to find my own answers instead of imposing your own. You truly are amazing; I wish you all the best!

Sheretta, thank you for keeping GMI running smoothly this year. You hold GMI together in so many ways. Since we met last spring, you have always been positive and willing to help in anything, no matter how odd the request or how short notice, from planning travel to ordering supplies. Thank you for everything!
My Costa Rican mentors, thank you so much for all your support this year with Consultika. Thank you for your patience with me and your willingness and availability to help. I learned so much from you. Thank you all!

My Costa Rican mentors, thank you all so much!

My fellow GMIers, you guys are awesome. It’s been an honor to live, work, and play with you for the last year. You guys made this year great, and I’m filled with sorrow when I think that we will soon be parting ways. I wish you all the best and I know we’ll keep in touch!

The whole crew, I’m going to miss you all!

 

Next is working for Stryker in Kalamazoo, MI

Until next time

As this year wraps up, I’m beginning to prepare for the next stage in my life. I am very excited to start working at Stryker in Kalamazoo, Michigan in their engineering rotational program. I will spend the next two years in four different job functions working on orthopedic devices and instruments.

Knowing that I will continue on my journey deep into the medical device industry, keeping a focus on Global Medical Innovations, I know it is not “goodbye” but merely, “until next time.” Thank you for journeying with me through my blog this past year, and I look forward to reading the GMI blogs from now on instead of writing them.

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