Trilogy Logo Trilogy Tidings
 October 2018
in this issue
     Have you watched any compelling live TV lately? I thought so. Don't forget your business responsibilities. You can walk and chew gum at the same time!     

     You are likely faced with an avalanche of new-product ideas. So how do you decide, without spending a fortune and running out the clock, which of those ideas are really worthy of serious pursuit and investment? I like to think of this dilemma as requiring some combination of (many) "shallow dives" and (one or a few) "deep dives".

     Details follow.

Focus on Shallow Dives First ...

One of the enduring tidbits of management "wisdom" is: Fail early and fail often. The notion is that one should be adventurous and try many new things but kill the bad ideas quickly so as to minimize the damage to the corporate reputation and purse. I do believe this notion makes sense, but I would modify it a bit.

I believe in trying many new things  beyond the view of your customers . Don't let them actually experience your failures, as that would tarnish your reputation. Furthermore, protect your purse by not actually commercializing those new things  until you have a reasonable expectation of success . In other words, focus on numerous shallow dives first.

Shallow Dive
Easier said than done? Of course. You can never be certain of the outcome until you actually place new things in customer hands. But you can avoid acting stupid by engaging in some early analysis and diligence to weed out the ideas that have no chance of success. Will such a toe-in-the-water approach yield the truth 100 percent of the time? No. Will it protect you from ridicule 90 percent of the time? You bet.
I've made a living and thoroughly enjoyed conducting early-look opportunity assessments for our clients over many years. The approaches taken are tightly focused and rigorous, the findings are usually definitive, the investments are typically modest, and - best of all - the work is undertaken  beyond the view of customers.
The very first step you should take in assessing the chances of a new-product opportunity's success in the healthcare arena is to answer three basic questions for yourself:
  • Will you be helping patients?
  • Will you be making the lives of healthcare workers better?
  • Will you be allowing payers to pay less?
I suggest that, if your answers to at least two of these three questions are yes, your new-product idea does indeed have a chance. (If you'd like some top-of-mind help in honestly answering these questions, just let me know; I'll try to provide some guidance.)

If your idea survives this first hurdle, it's time for some more expansive serious work, perhaps starting with the advice offered in the next article.

Now for the Deep Dive ...
Here's a presentation by Howard Levin dealing with detailed plans for analyzing the commercial feasibility of medical-product concepts -- with thanks to Joe Hage for bringing it to my attention. Dr. Levin talks about turning clinical ideas into market opportunities based upon his own commercial successes. Much of his talk deals with the relationships between physicians and engineers.

Deep Dive

A copy of his presentation is available here. If you'd like a shortcut to his stepwise plans, see his Slides 15 and 16.

Everyone has their own favorite steps to take in assessing medical-product opportunities, including me. Howard is certainly worth paying attention to given the success that he has enjoyed over many years.

Levin combines opportunity assessment and corporate development criteria within his steps; for an established enterprise only the opportunity assessment issues matter. I also suggest sequencing the steps so as to address the most stringent criteria first; even in deep-dive mode you still want to reject an unattractive opportunity as soon as possible.     
Are You Sure About the Size of That Market Opportunity?
Hey, I don't want to bring you down, but the scale of your new-product opportunity may be less than you would like. Mike Fix recently laid out "5 Reasons Your Medtech Market Likely is Smaller Than You Think". His article is a worthy read and reminder.

You may inherently understand the constraints he defines, especially if you have lived in the medtech space for a while. But it's likely you have overlooked at least some of his defined constraints somewhere along the way. Better not to set unrealistic expectations; follow your own due diligence rules; check all the boxes.   
About Trilogy Associates

Services     Capabilities     Projects     Clients


Contact Info
ContactInfoJoseph J. Kalinowski, Principal