Since I’m an engineer here (and maybe you are, too), let’s do a little math to find the equation that sums up my GMI experience thus far. Don’t worry, if you are not an engineer I will not make it complicated. Here it goes in lovely infographic form:
GMI is the weighted sum of all of the above. The variables are represented as follows:
The implementation project I am working on with Siri to design and manufacture a portable room so patients can safely perform peritoneal dialysis at home in Costa Rica. Since my last blog, we have had a number of meetings with our partners and manufacturers at Invenio to determine the feasibility of certain design components. Finally, we have a 3.0 design and SolidWorks model. I’ve also started the clinical trial paperwork. The wheels continue to churn so next semester we can manufacture and hopefully begin the pilot study. It’s been a lot of work, especially teaching myself SolidWorks (my previous experience was all in AutoCAD) and simply trying to communicate cross-culturally with our partners. It’s difficult with the language barrier and the differences in organization processes, but I’m proud of our work so far.
The collaborative project between MBA and engineering students. We’re learning the innovation process by essentially acting as if we had our own startup. After many pivots in needs, we finally settled providing a service that helps identify non-urgent 911 calls so EMS does not unnecessarily dispatch ambulances. These past few weeks I’ve learned a ton about the business and financial side of companies and it’s exciting to be able to have intelligent conversations about these matters with professionals. This coming week we’ll be pitching our projects to not only our professors, but also mentors and outside community members such as other clinicians and venture capitalists (VCs).
My medical device industry experience. Exciting news here, I’m actually in Washington D.C. (and probably back by the time you read this)! I’m here to interview clinicians and KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders) in the field about future R&D projects at the company. Who knew?! As an intern, I am honored to have this opportunity. All you’ve got to do is ask.
Networking & TMCx
Being in Houston across from the world’s largest medical center has its perks, one of them being the med center accelerator, TMCx. This past month I had a lot of fun networking at Demo Day where the accelerator members pitched their companies. It’s a great way to meet the executive officers of the startups, investors, students, clinicians, and others involved in the field. Internship opportunities also abound. If you’re interested in TMCx, I highly suggest checking it out here. You can also find previous Demo Day pitches on YouTube.
Shadowing clinicians, EMTs, and others in the medical field to observe and determine where needs (and possible solutions) exist. After completing a number of observations and online searches (see previous blog post), I came up with a list of over 100 needs which I have since screened based on market size, feasibility, value, and interest. The screening process was somewhat of a challenge, but it opened my eyes to the importance of so many factors on the success of a new device. For example, if the need isn’t well scoped and if it doesn’t add enough value, no matter how innovative the solution, it may not take off.
I haven’t talked too much about this throughout my blog posts yet, but I will echo what others have said: work/life balance is imperative to maintain sanity, remain productive, and get the most out of the program. Luckily, our mentor, Dr. Richardson, recognizes this and serves as a great example to his mentees. While we work extremely hard, our cohort is collaborative and does a great job remaining upbeat and positive.
So how do I take a break from work? Here are a couple of examples:
Fun Activity #1. As you may have read about from my colleagues, we had a Thanksgiving pie contest. There are a number of GMI-ers who are really good at cooking and baking so I knew it would be a close race, but I actually won a three-way tie for best overall with my chicken pot pie!
Fun Activity #2. Wanting a little taste of Germany, I travelled to New Braunfels on the 10th for their Wurstfest. I had been looking forward to this for weeks as it would give me the opportunity to dress up in my dirndl (pic below). I didn’t dress up for Halloween, but I did for this. That’s the level of excitement I’m speaking of. The fusion of Texan and German cultures was hilarious and somehow perfected the experience.
With this semester down in the books, I’m ready to see what the next one holds.