The essential building blocks


The essential building blocks for innovation in healthcare

Many reports, books and websites currently discuss what makes a start-up ecosystem successful. We analysed multiple frameworks to distinguish the essential building blocks or conditions required for regional ecosystems to thrive. It was found that most frameworks consider similar conditions to be essential for stimulating innovations and the regional economy. The following is a list of general building blocks that make up these conditions:

  1. Entrepreneurs and leaders with entrepreneurial culture: A region needs actors that create agendas to innovate or disrupt the status quo. Regional parties should identify these entrepreneurs and support them.

  2. Mentors that are experienced entrepreneurs in corporate or start-up companies: These mentors give advice and support to new entrepreneurs. Having a pool of mentors from different backgrounds, such as finance, technology, healthcare and science, increases the value they can provide.

  3. A regulatory environment that supports new ventures: Policy and law should support innovation processes, as well as locational advantages for establishing businesses. In healthcare, there should also be a supportive policy and legal environment to encourage the establishment of public–private partnerships.

  4. A collaborative business culture with strong regional networks: End users or consumers should also be part of the regional networks. In healthcare, consumers are changing the demand they place on the system. Also, consumers should be part of the co-creation process of innovation development.

  5. Inspirational successes and role models: Regions should show and tell their success stories. These are inspirational to new entrepreneurs. Also, the cases that are successful can serve as examples for new start-ups.

  6. Risk tolerance: The ecosystem should create a culture that does not blame entrepreneurs who (financially) fail with their innovation. To create an effective ecosystem, the rules and risk margins for safety and quality in healthcare must be more flexible. Right now, even the suggestion of unsafe innovations introduces high scepticism.

  7. Availability of and access to funding/capital: Along with funding and capital come rules for return on investment. In the healthcare sector, the interest in shared value creation is growing. This implies that not only should economic value be returned, but also societal value. An example of such an option is the Social Impact Bond.

Talent and technical skills: Talent and skills are essential for developing technology thoroughly and should be stimulated. To foster further development and implementation, social skills and sciences are required, otherwise the innovation might not lead to the desired results. Finally, entrepreneurial talent is important. The educational organisations in a region can bring together and further develop these talents and skills in students and link students to start-up programmes.

essential building blocks