Madrid, June 6 2012.- The Madrid-MIT M+Visión Consortium, an initiative of the regional government of the Comunidad de Madrid, through the madri+d Foundation in partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), launches IDEA2 Madrid, a program designed to help the Madrid's emerging biomedical innovators and entrepreneurs refine their project ideas and connect with the expertise to help realize them. Its mission is to help turn new ideas into real products and successful business ventures, and to strengthen the community's innovation ecosystem. Experts from the United States and Europe meet these days during the Biomedical Innovation Conference "Building High Performance Innovation Ecosystems" to share their experiences in the establishment of high performance innovation ecosystems.
According to Karl Koster, executive director at the MIT Office of Corporate Relations, "it takes many different kinds of expertise to turn great ideas into real technologies and successful businesses. In a healthy innovation ecosystem, researchers, entrepreneurs, and end-users build on one another's ideas by identifying potential problems and solutions so there is an end-to-end dialog about how to make an impact. It also helps avoid the problem of engineering a solution that has meets no real-world need".
Professor Julio Mayol, director of the Innovation Unit at the Clínico San Carlos Hospital (Madrid), asserts that IDEA2 Madrid "is based on a successful model that was started by Boston's MIT and Harvard, and that has facilitated students turning their ideas into projects of excellence". Professor Norberto Malpica, from the Rey Juan Carlos University (Madrid), adds that in the new Madrid model, "the program has adapted to the unique characteristics of the region and it is no longer directed only to students, but also towards researchers and professionals throughout Madrid". Both experts act as co-chairs of the Executive Committee of the IDEA2 Madrid program, one of the key elements in this Conference that welcomes some of the most relevant personalities in biomedical innovation from US and Spain.
The Madrid-MIT M+Visión Consortium has a mission to transform Madrid into a global center of excellence in biomedical imaging. In order to do so, experts emphasize the need for a sustainable and high performance biomedical innovation community, one that values and combines "excellence in the transmission of scientific knowledge to clinical practices, better effectiveness of the products generated, efficiency in the movement and security of patients and, lastly, one that can be implemented into the market and bring value back into the system," explains Professor Mayol.
Madrid, international center of biomedical innovation
Karl Koster and professors Malpica and Mayol agree that Madrid, due to both its research and socioeconomic capacity, is an ideal candidate for a center of technological and biomedical innovation. "We have local industry, universities, research centers, hospitals…" lists Professor Malpica.
However, certain weaknesses come about, in Julio Mayol's opinion, "due to the poor culture of innovation in the country and the rigidity of legislation which hinders the transmission of research results in a successful manner". That is why it is necessary to overcome institutional barriers and encourage engineers, researchers and clinicians to find productive means of collaboration. Koster adds that "what we are finding in Madrid is there is a great pool of expertise that can benefit from additional structures and practices to cross institutional barriers. It's hard for engineers to find ways to productively collaborate with clinicians who see patients every day, or who are involved in their own research, for example. Part of the solution to strengthening Madrid's innovation ecosystem is institutionalizing practical and meaningful opportunities to exchange ideas and to work together".
The benefit to the region of this type of ecosystem is also important in financial terms, as "it would increase the attractiveness of our community in the eyes of researchers, funders and companies that intend to maintain leadership in biomedical R&D. And that is a way to really contribute to a change in the region's productivity model", states Mayol.
High performance innovation ecosystems
During the conference featuring international experts on biomedical innovation, techniques and strategies used to promote innovation among institutions, companies and regions will be assessed and shared. Accordingly, the importance of networking in innovation ecosystems becomes apparent in solving problems, increasing efforts or even finding markets for products. "Healthy networks create a virtuous circle", Karl Koster explains. "When they are functioning well and their members are finding success, they can discover even better opportunities and attract more talent. The strongest innovation economies are heterogeneous communities whose members may have differing goals but shared values, especially for a focus on rapidly and creatively solving important problems".
Focusing on hospitals, for instance, Professor Mayol suggests that in order to build a community of innovators, the first step is to "find internal leadership that places innovation amongst the top priorities of the institution's strategies", defining creative professionals who are capable of asking clinically relevant questions and offering innovative solutions as the "the fuel that starts the innovation engine".
On the other hand, experts have noted that the key to success in innovation lies in asking the right question, or essentially using varying viewpoints in order to find effective and innovative solutions.
Taking part in IDEA2 Madrid
Designed to help the community's emerging biomedical innovators and entrepreneurs refine their projects and connect with the expertise needed to help realize them, the chief requirement for participation in IDEA2 Madrid is having a good idea to solve an important, unsolved problem. "The Consortium provides support from a network of experts made up of researchers, clinicians and industry professionals of significant international prestige who will aid candidates in identifying and solving deficiencies in the projects presented, in order to design a final product that adds value to the system, the patient and, subsequently, to the business", Professor Malpica explains.
Candidates interested in participating in IDEA2 Madrid must present proposals before June 22nd. Selected projects will work with a network of leaders in business, science and medicine, until October, when refined, articulated proposals will be presented, with a final winner chosen by the Consortium. "The support offered is based on expert knowledge and advice. And of course, the entire process is governed by confidentiality," Malpica concludes.
The Madrid-MIT M+Visión Consortium
The Madrid-MIT M+Visión Consortium is a partnership of leaders in science, medicine, engineering, business, and the public sector dedicated to strengthening Madrid's position as a global center of biomedical research by accelerating innovation in biomedical imaging, promoting translational research, and encouraging entrepreneurship.
In Karl Koster's words, "through the M+Visión Consortium, whose director MIT Professor Martha Gray will be at the conference, Madrid's biomedical technology innovators can learn from the expertise of MIT's faculty, and become connected to a broad, international network of technology entrepreneurs, including engineers, scientists, and industry leaders with venture and management expertise. They can even develop collaborations and find the expertise to refine ideas for new enterprises.
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