Learnings from NUMA Startup Window on HealthTech

Healthtech is a promising field which has the potential to create a profound impact and transform lives in the process.

HealthTech is the approaching frontier for innovation. The products range from apps and social networks to robots and complex simulators, all sharing a common goal-to leverage new technology to revolutionize an old industry.

Our flagship event, Startup Window was organized on the 16th of November, 2017 and the theme was ”HealthTech”.

As a market, healthcare is today one of India’s largest sectors both in terms of revenue and employment. The overall Indian healthcare market is worth US$ 100 billion and is expected to grow to $ 280 billion by 2020.

The emerging trends range from apps and social networks to robots and complex simulators:

  • Medical e-commerce: The retail medicine sales market is expected to reach $55 billion in 2020 as more startups enter the segment with innovative business models backed by global investors.
  • Telemedicine: Medical infrastructure in India is concentrated in the urban areas, while the largest population is in rural areas: Startups are trying to bridge this gap via the use of technology. In 2010, the Indian telemedicine market was estimated to be Rs.50 crores and is expected to grow at 20% rate.
  • Electronic medical records (EMRs): patient medical records available on a cloud platform for better diagnosis.
    Predictive healthcare via the use of wearable devices that monitor a person’s vitals and using the data available on a cloud platform to warn the patient.

In a city bustling with tech ventures, multiple collaborations among engineers, doctors, and designers have actuated a wave of startups to build products which can save the lives of millions. In the past one year, at least six companies and two incubators have mentored fledgling health tech firms which have emerged on the block. A few veterans hailing from the medical engineering industry who were associated with behemoths like GE, Siemens or Philips and had set up research labs in Bangalore at the turn of the century have been contributing significantly to the amelioration of health technology.

Startups Pitch:

Startup pitching to jurists at NUMA Startup Window

Four startups pitched in this event. They were as follows:

  1. Cardiotrack – A cardiac healthcare diagnostics company which allows seamless transfer of ECG along with alert to receive physician in the form of message with possible diagnosis
  2. Medinfi – A startup which empowers users with trusted information for taking healthcare decisions
  3. OliveWear – It is geared towards improving maternal healthcare
  4. Raybaby – It is a ‘’deep tech’’ product that utilizes AI and Digital Signal Processing algorithms to make sense of the raw data streaming which is essentially the baby’s breathing in its basic form.

Panel Discussion:

Panel Discussion on challenges and trends in healthcare

The panel speakers included Tony D S Raj, Dean at St. John’s Research Institute, Arun Mallavarapu, co-founder at Fedo with more than 13 years of experience in Healthcare, Brij Bhasin, Principal-India Investment Lead at Rebright Partners and Kedar Medhi, Director at Philips Innovation Campus.

Tony D S Raj, Dean at St. John’s Research Institute

He stated that the healthcare industry is not resistant to disruption by innovators notwithstanding the challenges put forth by the traditional system. Hospitals have opened its doors to startups and have been working closely to mold technology which can be immensely beneficial for patients as well as the healthcare sector. The keynote speaker and the panelist also opined that fostering healthcare technology is a catalyst for a more sustainable healthcare system. He elucidated the Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) which is a key potential life-saver for preterm and low birth weight infants. The cardinal objective of this project is to design, develop and evaluate an innovative Remote BioMonitoring device used for efficaciously tracking KMC adherence as well as tracking newborn (and maternal) temperatures which are coupled with data analytics to trigger action from the level of the peripheral health worker in selected study settings in southern India.

Innovations in the healthcare domain have come to prominence recently. Internet of Things related systems such as a passive RFID wearable wristbands and wall-mounted dispensers have reinforced Hand hygiene which is a significant method to mitigate infection transmission in hospitals. Simulation for medical and healthcare applications is in a relatively nascent stage of development. However, it has the potential to inform the process of extensive research and dissemination. The development of mannequin simulators which are used for education, training, and research is thoroughly reviewed thereby tracing the motivations and evolution to commercial availability. A conscious effort is made to assess the efficacy of those which would be considered for teaching cardiopulmonary resuscitation, cardiology skills, anesthesia clinical skills and crisis management.

Kedar Medhi, Director at Philips Innovation Campus

He expressed that it is imperative to leverage on opportunities in health and healthcare especially in an aging world where chronic diseases are steadily on an incline. He also expressed that Philips has successfully managed to maintain a healthy relationship with its startups beyond the programme and that is solely based on the increase in value addition for the right proposition. The brand also has an edge in India attributing to the trust the brand enjoys in the country predominantly for being a technology leader. The familiarity of the company with the domestic market and its dominant position in the medical equipment category contribute immensely to its popularity.

Philips rolled out Project Vijay which is a pilot project for the delivery of home healthcare in India in October 2015. A year later, it formed Philips Home Care Services (PHCS), a wholly owned arm of Philips India. It utilized technology as a method to provide remote care for patients and in the process, they came up with interesting findings. This included a 27% reduction in the cost of care, 32% decline in acute and long-term costs and 45% drop in hospitalization.

Brij Bhasin, Principal-India Investment Lead at Rebright Partners

He stated that it is crucial to provide value that is measurable. He also emphasized the significance of promoting technology solutions to the healthcare fraternity. This can be achieved when the corporates and startups collaborate to build innovative products.

India’s healthcare industry is expected to reach $280 billion in the next 10 years. The country has also become one of the preeminent destinations for high-end diagnostic services with tremendous capital investment for advanced diagnostic facilities and therefore, it has managed to cater to a greater proportion of the population. Indian medical service consumers with the passage of time have become more conscious towards their healthcare upkeep.

Arun Mallavarapu, Co-founder at Fedo

He mentioned that the Indian healthcare sector is diverse and opportunities galore in every segment which include providers, payers, and medical technology. India is also cost competitive compared to its peers in Asia and Western countries thereby allowing businesses to explore the latest dynamics and trends that can revolutionize the healthcare sector. The conditions have improved significantly with hospitals and diagnostic centers attracting Foreign Direct Investments. The central and state governments offer universal healthcare services, free treatment, and essential drugs at government hospitals. However, there are a lot of challenges. Hospitals are often understaffed and under-financed thereby forcing patients to visit private medical practitioners and hospitals. Also, there is a huge disparity in rural and urban healthcare infrastructure.

As technology progressively plays a dominant role in healthcare, the data indicates growing attention from private investment and start-ups. Individual states are adopting technology to support health-insurance schemes. For instance, Remedinet Technology (India’s first completely electronic cashless health insurance claims processing network) has been signed on as the technology partner for the Karnataka Government’s cashless health insurance schemes.

Healthcare delivery in India is now uniquely placed to undergo a radical transformation at all its stages — prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. No single entity in the healthcare sector can work in silos. The evolution of the sector necessitates involvement from all stakeholders. Ultimately, Innovation is the key to bridge intent and execution.

Looking forward to hosting you at our upcoming Startup Window on ‘’Blockchain & Cryptocurrency’’ which is scheduled to be held on the 21st of December. Register here.



The Art of Prototyping

by Francesca Desmarais

One of the intriguing aspects of interaction design is the rapidly changing landscape and the overlaps with other disciplines and complex systems. To test and iterate ideas within this milieu, we design our prototyping process as much as we design final products and services.

Over the past year alone, CIID Consulting has worked on projects that criss-cross medicine, teaching, hotels & leisure, youth unemployment, banking, home organisation, paternity leave, airports, and sharing music. Our projects have used classics like websites, apps and raspberry pi, but also Slack chatbots and beacons. We’ve made movies, told stories, written code, run workshops, and even cooked an experimental meal with stakeholders.

The one constant throughout all of this: our design focus is on experiences. Throughout all of our projects, we explore people’s interactions with products and services that happen over time and within a context.

To fully explore the experiences we design, we have to open our toolboxes and custom design prototypes that best fit the exact context of a given project. There’s no set criteria we follow, or set tools that we always come back to. A prototype could be a fully coded app or as simple as a customer making a phone call to a mock service. Each project team approaches the prototyping phase as a design process in itself: how can we best simulate an experience to ask and answer relevant design questions?

There’s not a set prototyping method we follow: it’s more of an art, creatively juggling intuition and experience with analytic thinking and adventure.

Much like conventional arts such as painting or music, prototyping has traditions and cannons (ex: start with low fidelity and iterate to higher fidelities). But like other arts, prototyping is also about breaking rules and the freedom to create outcomes that represent an artist’s vision. The freedom to craft in creative and meaningful ways. Perhaps a touch poetic, I like to think of prototyping interaction design as an art that is part science experiment, part show business, and part intrepid exploration.

Part Science Experiment

Effective prototyping requires a level of analytic thinking. You are, after all, testing hypotheses about experiences and behaviours. It’s important to define what you are testing before you even make a prototype: what are the most important open design questions? How can you craft your prototypes to answer these questions? In What do Prototypes Prototype?, Stephanie Houde and Charles Hill group prototyping questions into questions of role (i.e. what can a product or service do for a person’s life), questions of look and feel (i.e. what’s the experience?), and questions of implementation (i.e. is this even possible?).

To ease the analysis of a prototype, it also helps to isolate the variables you are testing. A good rule of thumb is to only test 1 to 2 ideas per prototype. For a recent project, we segmented one concept into six different prototypes and explored distinct options (and assumptions!) of the concept through each of the prototypes.

Part Show Business

It’s probably obvious, but to prototype an experience, you have to involve people, and that requires a bit of presentation. It’s important to remember that a prototype is not self explanatory. We usually spend time ‘setting the scene’, explaining the project or bigger picture, making people comfortable, etc. For a project exploring healthcare 20 years from now, my team and I even got people in the mood by showing clips from science fiction films.

As with a good show, you need to play to your audience! It is critical to think about the expectations and knowledge of whoever will see your prototype. Are they intended users? Are they fellow designers? Are they stakeholders or investors? In general, lower fidelity prototypes are easier to critique and contribute feedback to, while higher fidelity prototypes are better to validate ideas and evaluate reactions. For one of our projects last year, the client expected prototypes that would set a vision for their employees and we went the extra mile to make beautiful, high fidelity mock-ups and videos for this inspirational purpose.

Experience prototypes also involve a bit of smoke and mirrors, somebody behind the curtain making the experience work. Often you don’t need to have working code to test the experience of using a product or service — one of our favourite tricks is to simply use the tech on a phone and stick the phone in a rough prototype. This is enough to convince people, but saves time and money before breaking out our circuit boards and micro-controllers. Orchestrating an experience and ‘being the backend’ can also be valuable to learn what types of data and processes you will eventually need to code.

Part Intrepid Exploration

Ultimately, prototyping is not a rigorous, tightly controlled process. Intuition and ambiguity play an equally important role – at CIID we like to measure powerful ideas by the number of goosebumps and ‘that feeling in your gut’. Much like an exotic journey, interaction designers use prototypes to fill the holes in our maps and be inspired by the people we design for.

As when traveling, we’ve learned to embrace the unexpected. This applies to both the hidden gems that you didn’t expect to find (that incredible restaurant with the local flair), and the uncomfortable failings (food poisoning?). When designing prototypes, we create opportunities for co-creation and give people the opportunity to add and contribute to an idea. For instance, when making paper prototypes we often leave blank spaces for people to write in what they’d like or expect. And when an idea falls flat, we forget our pride, learn what didn’t work, and try again. The key is to get into the wild with a prototype and learn to adapt your directions.

When it comes to interaction design, the art of prototyping is knowing how to focus, present, and explore experiences so that you can learn to make services & products that add value to people’s lives. It’s not about which tools (paper prototyping, Arduino, Flinto, etc.) or even the resolution and fidelity. Interaction design prototyping is about experiences and behaviours.

Observing people in their environments, interacting with the right prototypes, gives us a unique window into design possibilities and potential value. We believe spending time to think through and design the right prototypes is invaluable to the outcome of a project.

This post was originally published on 29 January, 2016 by CIID Consulting.

The Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design is a platform for enabling impact through innovation. With a commitment to disruptive thinking and action, people from all over the world congregate at CIID to work on or study innovation processes driven by prototyping and learning by doing. Since its inception in 2006, the talented and passionate people at CIID have been designing for empowerment and value creation for individuals, organizations, and society at large. The organization today includes an education program, a start-up incubator, and an Innovation Studio working with global brands around the world.

Early-bird tickets at a reduced price are now on sale for CIID: Service Design Through Experience Prototyping. In this intensive 3-day workshop from May 13-15, 2017, you will learn and apply advanced service design and experience prototyping techniques both in the digital and physical realm. You’ll also walk away equipped with a complete toolkit for rapid user-focused innovation and a certificate from CIID.

Get them as quickly as you can here.



The Rules of Good Collaboration

by Eilidh Dickson

As our industry evolves from relying on manufacturing to being more heavily service-based, the role of a designer is evolving away from that of a ‘rockstar’, one-man genius. Here are CIID’s key principles for managing teams of collaborative fusionists that excel at designing services across our modern, complex systems.

The demand for good service experiences is equally as important as the desire for beautifully crafted and well manufactured objects. Because services are comprised of many interaction points over time, and are generally complex in nature, you can no longer rely on a single ‘rockstar’ designer to invent and design them.

You need a cross disciplinary team that can approach a challenge holistically and from multiple perspectives. This requires collaboration across perspectives and collective respect for the nuances of factors outside one’s individual expertise. This shift in role is not only benefitting our society and economy, but it is also creating an influx of designers who can work collaboratively to solve tough problems.

Over the years of leading design teams, we have captured what we believe are key principles for managing teams that are happy, productive, and embrace collaboration.

1. Do Research And Involve Everyone

Conducting research with your potential customers or users is key to creating internal team alignment. It not only informs your design process and makes sure you are addressing genuine needs and desires, but it also creates a shared vision for whom you are designing, and why.

When a team has a shared experience of meeting the people they are designing for, they instantly have a shared reference point. You eliminate the tendency to design for yourself or make a decision because ‘I would like this’. You remove bias and have a clear profile of the people you are aiming to help. From a practical point of view, the whole team doesn’t need to be research experts or lead research sessions, they just need to be involved in the process.

2. Formalise Reflection And Feedback Moments

It it important to structure reflection and feedback moments throughout a project. It allows the team to set expectations, it enables team development and transparency, and it encourages good team morale. Below are the key moments to factor in throughout a typical project.

Internal Kick-Off Workshop
Asides from clarifying project roles and responsibilities, an internal kick-off is a great opportunity for individuals to articulate where they would like to develop during the project and the skills they would like to strengthen. It allows team members to express what is important to them for the project and any hopes and fears they have.This could range from practicalities like ‘I have a Tuesday yoga class I need to leave early for’ to ‘let’s really push prototyping during the project’.  It also means that the team isn’t catapulted into a project. There is ramp up and team building, which is especially crucial for newly formed teams.

Daily Stand-Ups
Host a daily stand-up meeting every morning. It is a great way to start the day. It allows the team to talk briefly about what they are working on that day, what their goals are, and if they need any help. It’s not about content at this point – it’s about giving everyone a clear overview of the project progress and identifying any issues that need to be addressed. Stand-ups should be short and focused. No computers. No distractions.

Design Reviews
Where possible have regular review sessions. Everyday if possible. Period design reviews minimise the danger of ‘a grand reveal’ and get teams comfortable showing work that is in progress and talking through their decision making process. It provides an outlet for design feedback, encouragement and it ensures that any separate work streams are aligned. They are also inspiring!

Project De-Brief & Dinner
At the end of a project have a team de-brief. Discuss what the challenges and successes were, and identify any recommendations for future projects. It’s often a good idea to get someone who hasn’t been directly involved in the project to facilitate.  If you work in an agency, it is also useful to consider a client de-brief. Usually this works well as a meeting between both project leads (agency and client). Again, it’s an opportunity to talk about what did or didn’t work, and how to keep growing your relationship. It’s then the responsibility of the Project Lead to communicate the feedback back to the team.

At the end of a project it’s also very important to appreciate the hard work you have put in. Go for dinner, drinks, karaoke, what ever floats your boat. The important thing is to spend time as a team outside of the studio and give yourself a pat on the back.

3. Lead By Example, Stay Humble (this one’s for the leaders)

If you are a project leader/manager/director, it sounds obvious but you need to lead by example. Your role is to provide the platform and support for your amazing team to flourish and do great work. The most important factor is to stay humble. Egos are disruptive and there is a fine line between a being an assertive leader with creative confidence and a fully fledged ego. Lets be honest, if you have an ego, people either won’t want to work with you, or even worse they will begin to mirror you — and a bunch of egos in one room is an absolute collaboration killer.

4. Evolve Your Space

Your physical space should reflect the culture you are trying to promote and your way of working. If you want to work collaboratively, your space should enable teamwork and transparency; big desks you can all sit round, wall space/boards to present your work on, whiteboards to live sketch on. It is also important to adjust your space as you progress through a project. As you move through project phases, document and clear away material that is no longer needed. It’s important to have inspirational content around you, but not be overloaded with material.

Early-bird tickets at a reduced price are now on sale for CIID: Service Design Through Experience Prototyping. In this intensive 3-day workshop from May 13-15, 2017, you will learn and apply advanced service design and experience prototyping techniques both in the digital and physical realm. You’ll also walk away equipped with a complete toolkit for rapid user-focused innovation and a certificate from CIID.

Get them as quickly as you can here.