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Innovation has been the by-word of almost every meeting for the past five years. But what is it really? And how do we achieve it? I’ve always thought of it as a way of solving problems you have, not only in medicine but in any aspect of life. As clinicians we are great at identifying problems, and indeed, also good at starting the process of imagining potential solutions.

Unfortunately, this is typically the end point of the process as we have no means of translating these thoughts into reality. Additionally, our knowledge of what is achievable on an engineering or technical level is usually only a small percentage of what is actually possible. This leads to us imagining only a limited array of solutions, missing out potential options that we didn’t know we didn’t know about (to paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld).

At endoscope-i we have been down the road of taking a product from concept to market a number of times and I was keen that this issue would reflect the highs and lows, hurdles and obstacles faced by all innovators. Hopefully it will inspire you down the road of innovation, which is not only an amazing journey but takes you in many unpredictable directions and places.

Neil Weir kicks off the ENT Features by reminding us that whilst innovation feels modern and seated in the present, it has been with us throughout history. Rahul Kanegaonkar then looks at the process of innovation, the steps involved and what it takes to achieve success. 

Mark Prince, Aston University and endoscope-i Engineer, describes how an engineer approaches innovation and that collaboration is the key to success. We then go on to look at two specific innovation journeys from Visiba and Bettear. Tina Marshall from Visiba, discusses how we need to be SMART with virtual consultations and Itamar Gabbay and Yami Thor describe Bettear’s journey in trying to help those with hearing loss in live performance venues. 

We finish with Lucy Dalton’s interview of three innovators in different phases of their innovation career. ENT & Audiology News’ very own Declan Costello discusses the trials and tribulations of bringing the airway screen COVID intubation product to reality. Ajith George details how his innovation journey began and how endoscope-i disrupted professional cycling. Jagdish Chaturvedi, creator of many many innovations, discusses the long road to breaking even. 

Inspired? Remember –

“You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take.”

– Wayne Gretzky.


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Chris Coulson

FRCS (ORL-HNS), PhD, Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, B15 2TG; endoscope-i Ltd, 320 Hemisphere, Edgbaston, West Midlands, UK.

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