The lean healthcare entrepreneur : Is the lean startup methodology applicablewhen facing a helthcare challenge?
Healthcare firms spend years developing a product uncertain whether it will work, if it will besafe and tolerated, or if anyone will invest in their efforts once the product reaches the market.At the same time the flow of new and improved products in the healthcare sector has escalatedresulting in shorter life cycles for products. Although user driven innovation during the initialstage of product development in the healthcare sector has proved to enhance the chance to hitthe market with greater precision and gain better return on investment, few studies haveexamined this field of research. The lean startup methodology encourage innovators to stayopen-minded towards modifying their product or approaching a different customer segment,prior to having launched the final product and spent all of their venture capital. The methodologyhas mostly been applied by high-tech startups experimenting with web applications. Could thehealthcare innovator also apply this lean methodology?This investigation identified how the high-tech web-startup was different from a healthcareventure. Thereafter a framework inspired by Maurya’s running lean and user driven methodswas used to carry out the initial stage of a healthcare project entitled ‘Motivation-driven Selfmanagedpost-Stroke rehabilitation’. The project set up to explore the problem area andconceptualise solutions for a personalised self-managed stroke-rehabilitation system.While examining the case study it became clear that the two sectors are different, thus theframework was slightly modified. For example the lean business model approach was notapplicable in the early stage of the project. Further, the healthcare sector is built around a widerange of different users and stakeholders whom all should take part in the developmentprocess. Thus the lean narrow and agile focus, often referred to as the product/market fit, wasneither applicable.The conclusion presents a conceptual framework and six recommended conditions for success,which can be used in future similar projects during the initial stage of product development,guiding the lean entrepreneur as he or she navigates through the precarious health care setting.These conditions are as follows: Involve different types of users from start, Practice a bothneed-and business model-driven approach, Use users as a valuable source of information, Getout of the building, Employ a strategic push and finally Make use of multidisciplinary expertise.
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