Becoming a health-innovation team

Team Phoenix, consisting of Rasmus (our engineer), Marcus, Tore and Mette (all medical doctors) rose from the ashes ready to create, iterate and need-validate.  Team Phoenix (now called Droplet IV) from left to right Tore Allerup, Rasmus Fält, Mette Dahl and Marcus Bech.

As the philosophy of the BMD Programme is the interdisciplinary teamwork that allows for both a 360 degree look of a clinical need as well as a qualified evaluation of solutions, we were a bit concerned about the overlapping backgrounds of our team members and which competences we would be missing to bring real improvements to healthcare. Nonetheless, we quickly realised that the interpersonal relationships and the distribution of various roles and responsibilities was a much stronger driver for group success than the experiences we each brought with us.  

A little more than a month after forming our group, a large task was approaching. We had to do a pitch on the needs and solutions we were working on to gain feedback from the BMD staff and advisors. At this point we were still working on four different needs and we had the opportunity to go to Aalborg to explore one of them in detail. We put ourselves in the position of the patients by participating as test persons in a trial, working to improve the diagnosis of opportunistic infections in the lungs. 

Here we are trying out the device just as the patients would use them.

Participating in the test took a lot of time and although it meant we had little time to do the presentation, we learned how valuable it was to really engage in the needs we worked on. We realised that we were a strong team with great executive skills that could quite quickly do a high quality presentation and allow time for other tasks. Our personal and professional competences complement each other really well and from this point on we knew that team Phoenix were going to go far.  

Too many needs, too many solutions

“Getting out of the building” is one of the key rules of BMD, and you never know where you end up. Picture from a fungi farm as part of exploring a clinical need.  

Initially, we worked on four different needs, all in different clinical fields. This was a bit complicated, as we all were so eager to learn and wanted to participate in meetings, ideation sessions and take on even more clinical validation to better qualify the most promising solution. We liked bringing our different competencies into play, but also found it difficult to balance the deep immersion that you need in a specific area to develop promising solutions with keeping all four needs open and trying to weigh them against each other. Therefore, we finally chose to focus solely on one concept. And funny enough, it was probably the concept we all had the best gut-feeling about all along.  

Focus, get out and accelerate 

Focusing on our favourite solution, we really professionalised our team. It was around this time that we also took on specific responsibility areas and were able to accelerate our journey. In the process we have been in contact with researchers and key opinion leaders in Denmark, UK, US and Australia, we have visited multiple departments to gain direct user-feedback, and examined the procurement and manufacturing pathways, as well as investigated relevant investors and advisors, that are essential for bringing our product to market.  

Key to a successful product is direct user-feedback. Tore is showing one of our early prototypes in the clinic (The prototype have been blurred for patentability purposes).

The greatest gain, besides founding the team, is getting to know the rest of the fantastic 21/22 BMD cohort.

BMD is more than just an exceptional postgraduate programme. It is an amazing chance to create new strong bonds with likeminded people in a crazy inspiring environment. Participating in the BMD programme really has been an outstanding experience for the four of us. Following the programme, Rasmus will start a new position as an innovation consultant at Rigshospitalet and Mette will start her medical specialisation. Tore and Marcus will devote full time to our project and have support from Rasmus and Mette, who will participate part-time. We are so excited about the journey that we take on together and feel so fortunate to have spent 10 months of personal and professional development with our fantastic co-fellows.  

Now Team Phoenix is excited to jump into the world of Healthtech Entrepreneurship. We hope to meet you out there!

With great teamwork comes great responsibility!

When our group constellation, Team InnoPatient, was announced, we all had a lot of questions and wondered why the BioMedical Design program had placed us together, but it turned out that they had seen something in our group dynamic that we hadn’t. Since all three of us had been used to working independently in previous work, we naturally spent some time finding each other and learning how we could make the best use of each others’ resources.  

Our group process has really been characterized by giving each other space, and listening to each other. This led us to have a group dynamic where we worked together on every task for a long time. We kind of had a fear of missing out on some of the learnings. We finally addressed this at one of our monthly ambition meetings and decided that we should try to assign areas of responsibility. Even though we all strongly agreed this was the best strategy, it was kind of hard for us to adapt, however in the end we did manage to assign areas of responsibility.  

Team InnoPatient in the middle of a creative skill workshop – building on each others’ ideas.  

It has definitely been a great experience to have an interdisciplinary team. We really do bring something different to the table and it has been interesting to have talks within the team where we have been able to see the subject from each others’ point of views. We would definitely recommend all teams to prioritize interdisciplinary aspect when working in groups.   

Go on a road trip you want – get out of the building you must

One of the key learnings from the BioMedical Design program is definitely how much you gain from getting out of the building and talking to people.  

We of course visited the hospital many times, since they are our key stakeholders, but as the project matured, we found out that we needed more knowledge on how to work with sound, which was a big part of creating our proof of concept. In a post on LinkedIn we got in contact with SoundHub and suddenly found ourselves on our way to Struer. At SoundHub they were really helpful, they spent most of the day together with us, gave us great input about sound, dB, testing and some do’s and don’ts for our prototype.  Even after our visit they were also helpful with advice if we got stuck.  

A key takeaway for us has been that in general most of the times when we reached out to people, they were more than happy to help or guide us in a direction.  

The process of working on a solution 

Exploring the solution was a long and iterative process with a lot of ideation sessions with different external actors and stakeholders. We started the process with both physical and online ideation sessions, where we invited relevant professionals from the group’s network for “quick and dirty” ideation sessions. From the sessions, we brought the best ideas out to healthcare professionals at Aalborg Hospital to get feedback on what they thought would best fit into their practice. From this, one final idea for a solution was selected to work further on.  

In the group, we worked internally on prototypes with experiments on how the solution should both look-like and work-like. In this phase, we had a lot of hands-on experience with sewing, molding our own test materials, 3D modeling, and sound testing with different materials. In an iterative process, we received feedback from health professionals and sound experts on the further development of the look, shape, and function of the solution.  

One of the things that our group, in particular, learned was that when you get that occasional concern from stakeholders or bad comments, it doesn’t mean that everything is lost or you didn’t do well. It just means that you need to correct your direction and take their concerns into your design of the solution.  

Ups and downs

We encountered a lack of willingness to pay for our solution, even though it was a well documented problem that needed a solution. The lack of willingness to pay zapped some of the group’s spirit and we uncovered some of the other needs we had observed, but decided to return to the neonatal need and soldiered on as we believed, we were in the right to fight for the silent patient’s sleep and well-being.  

What is our current situation?

We have currently given the knowledge and rights to the BioMedical Design program, who will hopefully be able to find others who want to complete the project. 

Team Vital DeSign

Interdisciplinary group

Our group is very interdisciplinary, as we have quite different backgrounds. Kristine is an industrial Designer with experience as a start-up manager, Maria is a PhD with experience from the medical device industry and Zohaib is a US doctor, who also has a degree in public health and has experience with clinical outcome research. Furthermore, we are very different in our working process, probably because our professional and personal backgrounds are so different. These differences have led to several conversations regarding advantages and challenges in this regard. E.g., we found that deadlines for Maria is a must, while maybe a more fluent thing for Zohaib and Kristine. We found that Kristine needs silence to think and deep dive, while Maria and Zohaib needs to think out loud (maybe a bit too much sometimes). We found that Zohaib works best when having the freedom to plan his own hours, while Maria and Kristine are stricter on the separation of work/life balance. However, despite our differences, we all respected each other enough to view these differences as learning opportunities, and therefore we were always able to solve issues quite easily.  

Looking through ‘old ideas’ and cleaning up the office by the end of the year.

Example of different working process 

An example of these differences was the process of preparing our two project pitches. In our first pitch we got started a bit too late (according to Maria) and ended up working until 4 am the night before (over zoom and not having time to practice) the pitch. Second time we tried turning the process around and prepared our slide in good time (maybe TOO good time for Zohaib) and spend the last 2 days practicing. In both cases we ended up with a good result, and Kristine learnt a lot about how both ways have benefits, while Maria and Zohaib had to admit that there are different ways reaching a goal.   

Working with needs and solutions

In our group we have worked with 3 different needs, and many different solutions for each need. We are probably the group with the most pivots and we have cast aside a solution to pursue one of our other ideas more than 3 times. This has been highly challenging and very fruitful for our learning process. We have been highly aware not to fall in love with a solution until we validated with the users and completed thorough desk-top research and tried our best to be aware of what we saw and heard in the clinic. Therefore, we also continued to visit the clinic until the very last month of the program and kept finding new experts and new knowledge to ad to our solution space. Doing a pivot and discharging an idea or solution can be frightening when you are in a time limited program like the BMD, however, to control this process Pernille (our team mentor) taught us to park our ideas, instead of killing them. A trick we are very thankful for as our final solution spent 2 months in the parking zone until we realised the twist that was needed to develop it into the product we have today.  

Ups and downs 

At the BMD there are an endless row of ups and downs, and our group was not spared from any of these. The ups were exiting and we had many laughs and jokes in the days where the project and program was going well. The downs are not fun, however, because we have so different personalities, we never really experienced a time were all of us where down at the same time. We always had one person in the group that kept up the spirit by making jokes, getting coffee, sending weird videos or encouraging text-messages, getting us through the challenges. And if nothing else worked we could always have a glass of wine and do an ideation session, laugh out loud and end up with an amazing crazy new idea.

Testing ideas and methods.
Doing research at the paediatrics department at Aalborg University Hospital

Status of the CareFold project

The status of our project is that we have decide to continue working on our product. Kristine will be working full time doing product development after the summer holiday and Maria and Zohaib will support the project while working their regular jobs. Going further, we agreed to lean in and trust each other.  

Upgrading our professional backgrounds…

Align and learn together 

Our team consisted of Søren who is a medical doctor with experience in different specialities and Tine who is a researcher with a background in biomedical engineering. As the programme is intense and you have to work closely in the teams, we put a lot of effort in aligning and understanding each other’s expectations from the beginning. It has been interesting to work closely with one person where you need to compromise and find common interests for the project to be equally motivated. As a team you learn both individually and together and are pushed to explore barriers and corners outside your comfort zones.   

Speaking a common language

Even though we have two different backgrounds in our team, we quickly realized that our “language” was quite similar due to Tine’s interest and working experience in the clinical environment and Søren’s interest in the technical elements of hospital equipment. As we were not so different in our knowledge and working habits, the teamwork seemed to develop relatively effortlessly. In a team of two persons the interdisciplinarity is limited and thus, we took the opportunity to seek interdisciplinary inputs to a larger extent among our co-fellows and through the massive BMD-network.  

Identifying needs

We have been in the clinic to do observations and to find needs. This was an individual process where all fellows brought their observations into the team. This included both different observations and overlapping observations, which led to clarifying discussions in the team. The team process of narrowing down all the identified needs was dependent on many elements including interests, competences and ambition levels.  

Prepared to go into the clinical immersion to do observation and identify needs which you can bring into the team phase.  

Creative, crazy and cool ideas  

It has been an eye-opener to go through the creative and iterative process of ideation-, prototesting- and co-creation sessions realizing how far you can develop and build on ideas with relatively fast and cheap methods. It has been a fun process allowing for crazy and unrealistic ideas to be used as inspiration to come up with cool ideas.  

In our team we spend a lot of time understanding the problems we worked with. We researched the literature to get a deeper understanding about the physiology and the root causes of the problems and procedures related to the unmet needs. It was valuable to get a lot of questions and sparring with our co-fellows.  

Scenario training presenting the clinical situation with a new solution for co-fellows. You need to understand the workflow for the clinicians and the patients and the root causes of the problem.  

Iterating for a suited solution 

Fun days with introduction to arduinos as a tool for building prototypes with functionalities.  

The process of finding a solution has both been fun and frustrating and you learn to make decisions based on limited information within certain time frames. We were introduced to different types of prototyping to be able to build more tangible low cost mock-ups of our solutions using e.g. 3D printing, electronics and digital prototypes.  

Before narrowing down to focus on a few solutions we went back to the clinic to talk to stakeholders to get more knowledge about their requirements for a solution. In that process it was amazing to experience how willing people are to share their knowledge and the eagerness to help us further in the process. Also, when you meet people who are more critical to your ideas, it provides a lot of valuable insight when you remember to ask why they think your solution wouldn’t work. You also have to be prepared to get a lot of different answers and inputs to your questions. All contributing to enhance your knowledge about the problem and the solution.  

We work with a high risk/high reward project and it is always interesting to talk to different people even with the same professional background as they identify the risks associated with the project differently. The unmet need we try to address has been difficult to attack until we tried flipping it and asked what THIS solution could do compared to state of the art.  

There have been ups and downs during the project. The learning curve has been steep and it has been challenging to make the right strategies. Right now we work on de-risking specific areas of the project and we attempt to acquire funding to proceed. We feel obligated to try to find out if our solution can be a candidate solution to this important unsolved problem. 

5 years wiser in only 10 months!

The BioMedical Design Programme (BMD) is an intense 10-month experience loaded with tons of

invaluable learnings. Here are some of the reasons we, Team Inventricle, think we got 5 years wiser in 10 months.

Facilitator of the week

Since interdisciplinary teamwork is a cornerstone of the BMD programme, there was a lot of

excitement leading up to the team announcement and team building seminar. We were lucky to

be placed in a very diverse team, with both engineers, doctors and a nurse. At the seminar we

were introduced to the phases you have to go through to become a high performing team –

Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing. Like most other teams we also had to go through

these and it wasn’t always easy. But we learned a lot about each other and our team dynamics

along the way. One thing that we implemented was to have a “facilitator of the week”. That made

sure that everyone had the opportunity to plan and direct the team in the tasks at hand, and we

learned that our team worked a lot better when someone explicitly took the role of facilitator.

Get out of the building

Working with MedTech innovation you have to leave the office space. No matter if it’s about validating needs, ideating concepts, or testing prototypes, getting out of the building is an essential activity to master. It’s almost a philosophy or way of working that will influence most activities and make sure you don’t base decisions on assumptions. However, you have to be smart about how you talk to patients and clinicians as they can easily lead you down the wrong path if you don’t phrase your questions the right way. To do this right, we found “The Mom Test” by Rob Fitzpatrick to be a fantastic resource.

See one, do one, and raise the bar

During the programme, a general learning concept is the “See one, do one” concept. Monday

could be filled with inspiring teaching from domain experts, and then the rest of the week is for

you to go out and try what you’ve learned in your specific project. This is an excellent way to

make knowledge stick with long term memory. In addition, outcomes are frequently shared

between the teams to inspire each other. A sense of healthy competition among the teams

helped us all raise the bar for what can be done, like going across the planet to validate a need or

meet with key opinion leaders.

You make your own calls

On paper, the creative skills phase is about how to generate ideas. The tools to facilitate this are thoroughly taught, but our favourite takeaway from this phase is the mentality of being our own autonomous design team. No matter the tool, it’s our responsibility to stay agile and modify those tools to best test our hypotheses.

Never too late to pivot

During our time at the programme we have heard many tales of all the amazing pivots that have

happened in the previous cohorts. Luckily, we got to try one ourselves as well, and hopefully it will

be added to the list that the future fellows will hear about.

We only had about 6 weeks left before the final pitch when we decided to pivot and focus on

children with urinary incontinence instead of collection of urine samples, so we had a lot to do in

a very short time. But we learned that this time we could really divide and conquer because we

had learned so much the first time around. It made it a really fun and exciting experience to try

and get as much as possible done in such a short time. We managed to talk to a lot of

stakeholders and interview several parents and children in both Denmark and the USA. We even

did a Facebook campaign to understand more about our potential customers and the willingness

to pay.


All of this led us to the culmination of the programme, which was the final pitch. All through the

programme we have been training our pitching skills both formally and informally. This is such a

valuable skill no matter what you do – to be able to clearly communicate a need and idea to

anyone no matter what their background is, and in a way that they will remember it afterwards.

So, what now?

At the moment we are wrapping up our project and our time at the programme. No one from the team is continuing on with the project as of now. Instead, we are handing over the IP and all of our knowledge in this area to the BMD programme. We do this because we want to share what we have learned and so the project can continue to live on if any students or future fellows want to continue some of the processes that we started.

We are excited about our future. Frederik and Christian already landed jobs at Duckwise and Trifork respectively, and will continue a journey within Digital Health. Gulcin and Nanna are still looking for the right match workwise. Nanna is looking for a job where she can combine her nursing background with all the new skills she got as a Biomedical Designer.

How to pick up electronic skills

While I am not experienced with tech-things like 3D-printing, digital prototyping or electronic devices, I am certainly always up for a challenge. I love learning new skills and for this reason, I was particularly excited about the prototyping workshops, we had as part of the Creative Skills Phase.

My background is nursing but…

I am Nanna. Before joining the BioMedical Design Programme, I worked at Aarhus University Hospital for six years at the Department of Endocrinology and Internal medicine. Most recently I worked at the Department of Mother and Child.

Working as a nurse involves numerous different tasks, and many are very hands-on. I have always enjoyed working with procedures such as insertion of catheters and feeding tubes because they require a certain dexterity and specific skills.

In my private life, I also love creating things with my own hands and learning-by-doing, that being knitting, gardening, or putting up lamps and shelves in my home.

I want to challenge status quo

Teambuilding exercise outside the Aarhus office

I applied for the BioMedical Design programme because I sought to broaden my horizons and challenge myself professionally. In my job, I felt I was beginning to increasingly accept bad or mediocre solutions because of the narrative “that’s just how it is”.
I want to continuously be able to challenge the status quo and therefore the BMD programme felt like a perfect match for me. Learning about design thinking and improving my skills as a facilitator have been some of my favourite parts of the programme so far, and these are skills I will be able to use in my future career, whatever it may bring.

Going on a learning journey

On March 10th, 2022, my teammate Gülçin and I took a train from Aarhus Central station at 5.55 am. We had a long day ahead of us. We were scheduled to visit the Danish Technical University (DTU) in Lyngby and spend the entire day being introduced to the Aduino platform. At DTU we met Jacob Pedersen who described himself as an electronics design engineer and all round hacker. He assured us that he was used to teaching coding to kids at summer camps, and it would be easy-going.

The AHA-moment

We were handed our own kit to start building electronic prototypes, where Jacob quickly got us started on the basics of coding. This is when I remembered that kids are very fast learners, and I really had to focus to keep up with the pace. During the day, I got to experiment with making electronic motors and displays, and by the end of it, I had made a pulse oximeter work on my own! It was an incredible feeling to have made this even though the coding was too advanced for me to comprehend fully at this point.

Knowing the electronic field is good

I am still far from being a programmer, but this was such a cool introduction to an area that I had no prior knowledge about. Now I know that it is possible to do various electronic prototypes without spending significant money or time on it! We are currently experimenting with ultrasound modalities in my team, but since our concept and idea is constantly evolving, we cannot know if we will pivot into a new solution next week. Luckily, we have an electronics-engineer with experience in this field on my team, but the insight I got into coding and user design really benefits me in a way, that I too can be a part of this.

Future possibilities

We are now in the Commercial Skills Phase with the focus of further developing our solution while concomitantly looking into our Intellectual Property, business models and funding strategies. We have a lot of things to do in the next few months, and I am excited to see how far we will be with our solution by the end of the programme.