5. Research has moved to the frontline of innovation – working closely with customers and across businesses
Because the nature of health technology innovation has changed, our research organization also looks very different from 15 years ago.
Innovation used to be a sequential process, with central research labs working in relative isolation on concepts for new or improved devices or systems, following a technology roadmap. We would then transfer these concepts to product divisions in Philips, who would develop them further and push them to the market in a one-size-fits-all manner.
Nowadays, innovation is a more parallel process, which occurs in collaboration with customers. For example, we are working side by side with researchers from Karolinska University Hospital in Sweden on innovations in minimally invasive surgery, prostate cancer care and stroke care. We have similar research partnerships around the globe.
This collaborative approach calls for a different mindset. As a researcher, you cannot focus on technology alone anymore. You also need to have an understanding of value propositions, health economics, market dynamics, and local digital ecosystems. As we like to say within Philips: "not the lab is your world, the world is your lab".
That is why we set up four regional innovation hubs – in Cambridge (US), Shanghai (China), Bangalore (India) and Eindhoven (The Netherlands). This model promotes cross-functional collaboration on a regional level – bringing together knowledge on technology, digital platforms, clinical workflows, IT, finance and market access.