Intelligent, Curious, Friendly People Win Medical Capital Innovation Competition

At last week’s Medical Capital Innovation Competition at the HIMSS Innovation Center, in Cleveland, Ohio, I experienced a fascinating coincidence!

Wow! What A Coincidence! Or Was It Really A Coincidence?

The coincidence? The day before the winners were chosen, I tweeted exactly two selfies with contestants and myself. When the winners were announced, they were the folks in my selfies! According to my rusty combinatoric probability calculating skills, there was less than a two percent chance picking the actual, ultimate winners out of a hat containing 27 potential winners.

Here are the two selfies. (Note dates. They were tweeted the day BEFORE they knew they’d been chosen as winners.)

Virginia Pribanic from Team MedRespond:

Prateek Prasanna and Gagandeep Singh from Team NeuroRadVision (because there were three of us, and I wanted the makerspace into the selfie, we asked a passerby to take the photo of us).

Obviously, everyone participating in the Medical Capital Innovation Competition is highly intelligent, else they’d not even be there. But this “coincidence” got me to thinking. If I were to imagine participating in a similar challenge, with a $100,000 in prizes, I imagine that I’d be driven. I’d be focused. Like a laser! I’d not allow myself the luxury of stopping in front of a pile of 3D printers, laser cutters, drones, robots, and development boards, and asking, hey, what is all this about?

And yet, the two ultimate winners, of the Open and Collegiate Divisions, were drawn to the makerspace, and then chatted amiably for over a half an hour!

I’ve been thinking about this a lot. Was this “just” a coincidence? Or is there something potentially more profound here? I’d like to think the latter.

If I were to characterize Virginia (Ginny), Prateek, and Gagandeep, the words that come most easily to mind are “curious” and “friendly.” And, upon, further reflection, I began to doubt this was a mere coincidence. I suspect that Virginia (Ginny), Prateek, and Gagandeep (and their respective teams) won not just because they were intelligent and driven, but also because they were curious and friendly.

Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it also discovers breakthrough ideas. Google “curiosity” and “entrepreneurship” and you’ll see lots!

What about friendliness? If you Google friendliness and entrepreneurship you won’t find a lot of material, as was the case with curiosity. It’s mostly about creating friendly work environments and which countries are most friendly to entrepreneurs. So, I’m going to have to speculate.

You’re a smart, driven, curious person. Curious enough to explore the world. Smart enough to recognize an opportunity. Driven enough to exploit that opportunity. But you can’t do it alone! That initial band of startup partners are first, and foremost, also friends, or able to become friends. Then, at the beginning, when you have no resources, you’ve got to beg and borrow resources. Guess what. Being a nice and likable person is extremely useful when begging and borrowing.

So, you see, it was not a coincidence, that the ultimate winners of the Medical Capital Innovation Competition stopped to find out about the #HIMSSmakerspace Innovation Makerspace, and then chat long enough for us to form a temporary personal bond, so much so I wanted to document our interaction with a tweeted selfie.

While we are on the topic of curiosity and friendliness, there’s also this tweeted video of Sandeep Konam talking about cancer patient matching.

Why did I shoot this video and then tweet it? Not just because the subject was interesting to me, but also because Sandeep wanted to know what I was doing and was so personable and sociable. And, yes, Sandeep’s startup, EXAID, placed third in the Collegiate Division.

More About the Medical Capital Innovation Competition Itself

I also just happened to catch on video (and then tweet) an excellent overview of what to expect from Matt Miller, of BioEnterprise Corp. Matt covers:

  • mentoring stations,
  • pitch practice,
  • problem and problem solution,
  • go to market plan,
  • viability and scalability,
  • ten minutes to pitch (tomorrow),
  • five minutes for questions

Great overview of intellectual property…

Here is the press release from Medical Capital announcing all of the final winners. Inaugural Medical Capital Innovation Competition Winners Announced: Winners receive $100,000 in Cash Prizes and Access to World-class Healthcare Expertise.

Social Media Surrounding The Medical Capital Innovation Competition

By “Social Media” I mean Twitter. I know there are many other platforms, including Periscope (which I do) and Facebook (which I don’t). But nothing beats Twitter for real-time information and local color when it comes to health IT conferences! Here are the stats for the two days of the conference blue the day before. 113 Twitter accounts tweeted (or RTed) 414 tweets. If you add up the followers for these accounts, times their tweets, there were over two million impressions.

I happen to catch an excellent presentation of branding and social media for startups.

  • Audience
  • Channel
  • Pipeline
  • Connection
  • Community

I like it…

  • Build
  • Tell
  • Listen

…nuts and bolts practical knowledge, literally the step-by-step workflows for startups to use social media to create their brands.

Just A Bit About My Pet Project: An Innovation Makerspace!

Last but not least… This is my baby. You can think of it as a popup “makerspace” in a box (though, in three boxes on a dolly, plus a backpack, is most accurate).

A makerspace is a collection of tools, such as 3D printers and laser cutters, and platforms, such as Arduino and Raspberry Pi development boards. Makerspaces are used to create functional prototypes, such as of medical devices. I had wonderful conversations with Medical Capital Innovation Competition contestants, mentors, judges, and staff about the Maker Movement in Healthcare. Some said they’d not heard of it, but recognized 3D printers and small robots their children were using a school. Others not only had heard of, but actually belonged to, local makerspaces.

Makerspaces are not just about tools, but they are about community too. Here are three HIMSS staff and myself showing off some custom coasters cut engraved by the makerspace laser cutter.

I had a unique perspective on this year’s first annual Medical Capital Innovation Competition. It’s hard to beat hanging around with smart, driven, curious, friendly people. I’m already looking forward to the 2018 version!


@wareFLO On Periscope!

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