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Swiss medical start-ups benefit from Erdmann Human Centered Design methodology
Brugg, Switzerland:- Leading-edge design and engineering agency Erdmann Design has applied its market insights and Human Centered Design (HCD) methodologies on behalf of a number of start-ups from Switzerland’s flourishing medical innovations scene.
Erdmann Design is currently involved in some ten start-up projects, helping young companies to evolve designs to become more market-friendly and also assisting with product development and marketing.
Lifebox – a life-saving idea in need of development
These include the unique Lifebox infant rescue life support chamber, inspired by the ‘near-miss’ 2015 fire in the neonatology department at Aarau Cantonal Hospital (KSA) in which many babies were placed in peril. On this occasion, the fire was quickly controlled with no injuries, but for David Selinger, then Vice-Commander of the KSA company fire brigade, it was a clear warning: his team had no safe way of evacuating infants from smoke-filled spaces.
Selinger was inspired to design Lifebox as a self-contained life support evacuation system capable of carrying two babies. He became CEO of NeoRescue GmbH , based in Unterentfelden, in partnership with four other ex-employees from KSA hospital.
However, having the idea is never enough. To bring Lifebox to market, NeoRescue has relied on the know-how of the Erdmann design team, which has more than 40 years of design and branding experience in medical technology.
Erdmann Design helps start-up companies with its HCD services that engineer the design to actual user and market needs. It can also act as investor, developer and board member. In NeoRescue’s case, Erdmann took on the task of selecting the right material for the box and perfecting the design. A prototype device with insulation and air supply was built via a network for prototype productions and in Erdmann’s own workshop, which NeoRescue was able to present in clinics. After two years of intensive development, the Lifebox was ready for presentation at the 2019 COMPAMED trade fair in Düsseldorf, with clinics from around the world now expressing interest.
Naviswiss – a ten year Odyssey
Sometimes Erdmann can rescue projects apparently headed for the rocks. One such was Naviswiss, a new navigation technology for hip replacement surgery, whose development had dragged on for more than a decade. Naviswiss was still struggling to convince medical professionals of the value of its product and the marker technology it had developed, with money running out and a great idea apparently about to fizzle out.
The company then turned to Erdmann for help. Erdmann Design’s CEO Raimund Erdmann joined Naviswiss as a co-investor together with other donors and masterminded reorientation of the company. In Brugg, rooms were rented, new employees were hired for sales and the whole project was coached to identify the problem.
“Through many clinical tests, we were able to establish that the problem was actually not the marker technology, but the handling of the device,” Raimund Erdmann observed.
Erdmann says the basic Naviswiss problems were those shared with many start-ups.
“They come from science, are tech-savvy – and therefore often fail to sell their idea. Our service is then to check whether the start-up as a team is capable of bringing its product to market or whether it only serves the development side and additionally needs a partner capable of working out the needs of the market and the end-user,” he explains.
Today Naviswiss has a CE marked product that is also FDA approved that has been used in almost 1000 operations and is on the market in Europe, Japan, Australia and the USA. It is planning to introduce further navigation devices for orthopedics.
Start-ups need specialized help
The Swiss start-up landscape offers perfect conditions for start-ups with an innovative institute and research environment from which spin-offs can arise, a high willingness to invest in start-ups, which according to Statista account for more than 2.29 billion Swiss francs (USD 2.4m), and a network of business and innovation promoters like Innosuisse, the Swiss Agency for Innovation Promotion, which in 2019 supported start-ups with almost 12 million Swiss francs (USD 12.4m) worth of coaching, training camps and trade fairs.
Innosuisse Director Annalize Eggimann says demand is large, with 355 start-ups coached during 2019 and almost 3,500 participants in its start-up training program.
However, while Switzerland is one of the leading countries in the field of medical innovation, many start-ups in the industry need not only financial support, but also help with development and market entry in order to succeed.
This is why Erdmann Design also has close links with the medical technology association Swiss Medtech, the Startup Academy founded in Basel and the organization Smarter Healthcare Startups (SHS) from Zurich, both dedicated to promoting young healthcare start-ups in Switzerland.
It is difficult to predict what the future of start-ups will be like. According to Raimund Erdmann, serving global markets is difficult for Swiss-based young companies, who often lack the time and money required.
“It usually makes more sense to put the product sales in the hands of a large market player who its distribution channels can bring the innovative idea to market promptly,” Mr. Erdmann explains.
About Erdmann Design
Erdmann Design AG (Erdmann) offers award-winning human-centered Design and Engineering services that are particularly applicable to Life Sciences and Med Tech applications. including devices, control systems, delivery, production systems and packaging solutions. .
The Erdmann Design Approach are built around Innovation, Human Centric Design underpinned by usability engineering and testing and Branding Expertise, bringing tightly knit and dynamic design teams to focus on innovation and real customer needs, with particular expertise in high-risk in technologies in Medical and Pharmaceutical Procedures.
Erdmann Design was founded in Brugg, in the Swiss canton of Argau, close to Zurich, in 1978 by industrial designer Raimund Erdmann, who still leads the company. Since then, it has won more than 50 outstanding awards for its work with companies worldwide.
Further information at: https://erdmann.ch/homepage_e.html
Click on Experience Mapping for Human Centered Design to download PDF.