Healthcare Market Disruptors: Guidewill: Building Partners on the Innovation Journey
By Chris Hillier
The world is going crazy for entrepreneurship and innovation right now. Without these two vital ingredients for growth our economies will stagnate and much needed new industries and subsequent jobs will not be created. So, we are seeing innovation centers, incubators and accelerators popping up in every city around the globe, and everyone, it seems, wants to be an entrepreneur, or at least associated with one.
Of course, the idea is not new. Both innovation and entrepreneurship have always existed, it is just that, over the last few decades and especially now as the Information Age becomes the Digital Age, there has been a dramatic increase in momentum with rapid changes sweeping across almost all established industries and markets, disrupting them and creating new business models and ways to create wealth. Just think of our world without Amazon, Netflix, Uber, Google, Facebook and many more. Moreover, the “Cycle of Innovation,” the time taken to get a new idea adopted, is getting shorter and the risk of being left behind is becoming ever greater.
Most opinion leaders agree the health industry is currently extremely vulnerable to disruptive innovation. Indeed, there are a host of utterly compelling reasons why all participants in the industry are either adopting new strategies, running for cover, or getting out of the business altogether. Hence we are seeing “safety-first” consolidation tactics like mergers and acquisitions, while simultaneously a groundswell of precocious new startups are arising with radical ideas primed to disrupt the marketplace. All they need are resources and access to the market to have a chance.
The convergence of critical drivers, including an increasing elderly population, unpredictable access to publicly funded care, and an epidemic of chronic disease led by obesity and mental health issues, are creating strong social and political pressures pushing for convenience, price transparency and value-based care. At the same time, the public is becoming more aware of the promise of precision medicine through big data and artificial intelligence; personalized medicine through better understanding of genomics; and aging- in-place, through the increasing availability of telemedicine, digital monitoring and ‘smart’ technologies. Together these problem spaces and raft of potential solutions are a recipe for disruptive change.
Addressing how best to accelerate the process of change given this scenario was the major impetus behind the creation of GuideWell Innovation. In deciding where best to headquarter GuideWell Innovation, the recent developments in Lake Nona were hard to ignore and truly breathtaking. We were delighted to join the growing ecosystem of education (UCF Medical School, UF College of Pharmacy); research (Sanford-Burnham Prebys Research Institute); care provision (Lake Nona VA Hospital, Nemours Children’s Hospital); and technology partners (National Simulation Center) and also saw great synergies with the equally ambitious sports and human performance campus being created (including US Tennis Association headquarters, Orlando City Training Facility, and the Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute).
We saw an opportunity to be a collaborative hub for all of the innovation that could be driven through these partner institutions and set out to provide an environment that would support this. In addition to having processes to help create new ideas, we also wanted to explore and understand the new solution spaces so we could better support startups and entrepreneurs through our incubation and accelerator (with our partner, Healthbox).
To do this we committed deeply to studying the specific and immediate problems we need to solve. Our activities are focused around seven specific knowledge domains that we call our “Centers of Excellence.” These define the areas of focus where we seek leadership to drive our enterprise mission: to help people and communities achieve better health. These include areas like next generation consumer engagement, digital health, and wellbeing and human performance.
Partners, Pioneers & Pilgrims on the Innovation Journey
GuideWell Innovation is building the physical, digital and collaborative framework designed to encourage academics, clinicians, patients, payers, employers, venture capitalists, and all other stakeholders to engage with us in our innovation journey.
- GuideWell is creating a unique educational process called an Immersion Event that comprises a two-day meeting in our theater-in-the-round in Lake Nona using interactive innovation tools. This event will be followed by a six-month digital engagement with partners from around the world, culminating in an Outcomes Report.
- The first GuideWell Innovation Immersion Event is called Greater Than Cancer (Aug. 25-26) looking at the problems surrounding cancer survivorship
- GuideWell is partnering with the Lake Nona Institute to create a research portfolio ranging from longitudinal studies like the Lake Nona Life Project, to the interactive Intelligent Home facility due to open later this year.
- Similarly, our third Healthbox Studio Accelerator with 10 of the country’s best startups begins in May.
We are at the start of a long journey to define a new healthcare system for the country. The challenge is immense and the stakes are high. Our job is to identify and help deliver those changes necessary to ensure the future is healthy.