The Innovation Institute is quite a unique company. It is a for-profit business formed by seven non-profit health systems as equity investors, each holding a seat on the Members Committee. The organization is focused on transforming healthcare through the development of innovative new products, services, and ideas. The Institute acts as an incubator, evaluating ideas, determining long-term potential, and working with the inventor to obtain patents, develop prototypes, and nurture projects until they can be brought to market.
“It’s a very unique structure,” says Patricia Eisenhardt, Executive Director of The Innovation Institute. “We’re a private, for-profit company that is co-owned by multiple major health care systems, all of which are non-profit. So we have these non-profit hospital systems that own our private, for-profit company, and they are basically investing in us because they see us as one avenue for embracing and evolving to meet the challenges that are coming with the changing landscape of healthcare in the U.S. and globally.
Innovation Institute members work to nurture new innovations at the Innovation Lab.
“There are a number of different things that our company is doing to help address those challenges. One of those things we’re doing is supporting the health care professionals affiliated with these systems in exploring new product ideas that come to them – things that we think could have a large clinical impact and financial impact, and really just improve quality of life for the patients and their care providers, and make our system overall run more efficiently.”
Such a unique business structure deserved a unique space to fulfill company goals. “The Innovation Lab is the division of the Institute that focuses on these new product opportunities,” says Eisenhardt.
The Innovation Lab is a highly interactive environment where health care professionals can explore and develop innovative products for health and wellness. When ideas flow into the Innovation Institute’s website, the Cleveland Clinic (a partner of the Institute) and Lab team members work to evaluate and process the ideas. To be able to facilitate this long-distance partnership, the Innovation Lab required a collection of distance collaboration technologies that enable frequent and highly productive meetings. As important was the need to support large meeting and events in-house, with tools for presentation, ideation and prototyping.
“The team brought some great ideas from the beginning about how they wanted the collaboration process to work,” says Lisa Perrine, CEO of Cibola Systems, the integrator that worked on the Innovation Lab. “They were able to describe the experience that they wanted, and we then created some more specific use cases with them about the different ways that each one of these spaces might function. We brought some initial sketches of where equipment might go, and some 3D looks of how it would look, and what impact it might have aesthetically in the space, and went from there into defining what the different equipment options were.”
A telepresence robot allows remote members to enjoy time with their counterparts at the Innovation Lab.
Cibola Systems worked with the Innovation Institute to bring the Innovation Lab to fruition. A unified approach to AV systems in each of eight work zones allows the Innovation Lab to perform equally well as a large conference venue and intensive project team workspace. Images can be shown at a local source, or distributed to over a dozen displays throughout the suite, including a four-screen video wall. Social media applications, along with live and pre-recorded audio, can also be shared across these zones. Video collaboration technologies – multiple codecs, web-based conferencing and a telepresence robot – easily connect local teams with partners across the nation. Interactive LCD screens surrounded by glass whiteboards allow design renderings to be viewed and edited in real time during team meetings. Quiet zones with noise cancelling technology not only provide space to unplug, but also simulate more efficient and effective healing environments. Furniture is easily maneuverable and guests are encouraged to alter the design of the workspace to fit their own needs.
The Innovation Lab quickly became a technologically advanced incubator for new ideas in health care. Among the technologies utilized are Biamp audio mixers, Crestron control systems, Polycom videoconferencing software, and Samsung, Sharp, NEC, and Planar video screens. The Lab’s innovation team was highly engaged in decisions throughout the project, and could not be happier with the results.