3 Questions To Avoid Failure With Your Medical Device Design

By:  James Kashmer (LinkedIn Profile here.)


In my 40 years in the device industry, some questions have come up over and over.  For example, I am often asked how companies go about deciding what Medical Devices to license or develop. The truth is the companies that I know and / or have studied rarely have a formal new product opportunity evaluation process. Consequently there is no “road map” I can offer on how to approach Medical Device Companies with your particular Idea or Invention…but I can give you some insider knowledge to help you on your journey…


Does Your Device Save Time or Improve Outcomes?

Inventions that improve surgical outcomes and / or decrease operative time are the engine that has been driving the Medical Device Industry the past 30 years. Chances are that, if you are a Surgeon with an idea or invention that does either one, you can find someone to help you get it to market.

These inventions do not even need to be complicated, technically advanced or really even clever.  For the surgeons out there:  the next time you are operating, ask yourself “What do I need that will enable me to improve the outcome or save time?” The same goes for all physicians who perform procedures.  What would help you save time or improve outcomes?


Are You Prepared To Fail?

There is NOT a shortage of new ideas or inventions that warrant licensing and development. Sadly this fact has been the engine that has driven me the past 20 years.

Unless you are truly entrepreneurial (in every sense of the word) do not waste your time or money pursuing your idea or invention.

If you do pursue your idea or invention, be prepared to fail. It is rare that an idea or invention gets to the market. It is even more rare for an idea or invention to be financially successful. Pursuing your idea or invention is often an expensive education.


Have You Really Thought This Through? 

A mentor once told me “keep your powder dry” when I was looking to start a new company. It was good advice then and now.  Here’s what he meant:


1. Do everything possible to conserve cash. Do not give up equity easily. Be aware of the valuation of your company and price it fairly. This becomes more important the more rounds of financing that is needed. In general the more milestones you have met the lower the risk to potential investors.

2. Do everything possible to minimize risk. Critically evaluate what you have and compare it to your potential competition. The earlier in the process you do this the lower your risk will be going forward.

3. Make time to pursue your “dream”. Remember, the longer it takes to get your idea or invention off the ground the harder it will be to get someone else interested in it.


Best of luck with your idea, device, or quest to invent one.  Check back in on the blog for tips and tools that I’ll be sharing to help you with your medical device voyage.

Thoughts?  Questions?  Let me know beneath.  Visit me here on LinkedIn anytime.