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A tale of two tech giants: How Philips competes with the likes of Google to reinvent an entire industry

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There’s a reason startups use this buzzword – they’re all about trying new things, testing them, and re-doing it all over again. And while there is no one right way, there are plenty ways that are better.

Change is never easy. For companies to benefit from the vast digital opportunities out there, organizational readiness needs to be taken seriously.

Just last year, Google reimagined its Life Science research unit – rebranded as Verily – in order to uncover new truths about health and disease. This announcement breathed new life into an industry most regard as slow to evolve.

The truth is, health-tech is one of many industries leading the charge when it comes to reinventing themselves. Here, the expanding use of technology is the norm – especially when it comes to patient care.

Over the past 10 years, an increasing number of papers have published on the topic of contactless monitoring in the measurement of pulse or respiration rates.

For specific patient populations, including premature babies in the NICU, a contactless alternative would provide potential advantages such as avoiding skin damage in fragile patients, and the freedom to select a more physiologically central location with a possible faster response rate.

Granted, this technology alone isn’t going to be the catalyst for totally reinventing healthcare.

But bringing meaningful innovation to the healthcare sector requires an immersive and collaborative mindset – one usually associated with or found within the startup culture. The difficult part however, is the ability to scale while staying innovative.

One company that has embraced the challenge, Philip’s Healthcare, has both the might to execute quickly and effectively on new innovations, as well as the flexibility to compete in the rapidly developing healthcare space in much the same way as traditional startups. 

Enter Philips’ Digital Accelerator.

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As a Digital Accelerator, the team at Philips are involved in Artificial Intelligence research, GPS mapping technology and gamification to name a few items on their list of research emphases. Their aim is to essentially define and validate the next generation of breakthrough digital propositions that can help tackle the biggest healthcare and business challenges of today.

According to Alberto Prado, Head of Philips’ Digital Accelerator:

[We] focus on creating a startup environment, as this is a fundamental part of what the Digital Accelerator is about.

The Phillips Cambridge location provides many perks that you would find in a startup environment: Yoga Tuesdays, bagels and fruit on Wednesday, food trucks in house for lunch. And those are just the peripheral benefits.

Being able to define, test, and validate next generation connection solutions is key.

Prado continued: 

We have successfully applied some of our startup inventions to SoniCare for Kids, and are currently engaged in validating whether we could use it for preparing kids that need to undergo an MRI procedure.

While their primary goal is to help create great innovation, their secondary target is to help transform the organization – the way it innovates, the way it thinks about new business models, and how they execute and apply rapid-prototyping, for instance.

A good example of this is their Connected Sensing Venture, which is making innovative strides in home respiratory care and community hospitals management, among other diagnostic and financial processes. It is not only changing the way that caregivers deal with patients, but is helping Philips change the way they deal with clients to more quickly resolve needs and concerns.

There’s also a team at Philips Research that developed a facial mapping algorithm, which can take a photo of someone’s face and create a digital model of it.

They’ve used the technology for a few products already, but most interestingly, they used it to analyze different faces from around the world to design a new Respironics sleep mask. The new mask fits people that other masks don’t, and not unexpectedly, Respironics substantially expanded their market.

Prado is very excited to be creating, complementing, supporting, and mentoring in-house startup teams to move in an independent and timely way. They are doing this while leveraging all the benefits that come from working with a global tech leader.

And it’s all taking place outside of the Philips campus so teams will not feel hampered by corporate culture, tradition, and expectations, and can spread their own wings in order to experiment and formulate new ideas away from the corporate ‘nest’.

In other words, says Prado:

The goal is for each team to develop and nurture an entrepreneurial mindset that makes them ideologically independent of each other and of the corporation, while still maintaining the organization’s high standards of research, integrity, and transparency. The teams, in effect, will become brand ambassadors once the project is completed.

This startup environment inside Philips is going to make a significant difference in the way new technology is discovered and marketed in the healthcare industry and others, such as home safety and instant no-contact billpay.

Philips is investing in and mentoring at the MIT Innovation Sandbox – giving MIT students the impetus to set out as entrepreneurs themselves, both at school and after they matriculate.

All of this is to say, Phillips has created an entire ecosystem for true innovation that exists within their corporate brand but operates entirely on its own as a true startup venture.

This is the place to come work if you’re a driven entrepreneur. This is the place where the healthcare industry is being disrupted. This is where real life solutions are being created to make the world’s health increasingly better.

Read next: 5 reasons why wearables are still ruling our wrists (and everywhere else)

This post was brought to you by Philips.

Source: TNW


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