Bobby Grajewski: Healthcare leaders, help your people become innovators

As healthcare leaders confront the problem of navigating through a business landscape going through unprecedented change, some solutions may be found in the ideas of your own staff, physicians and patients, notes Bobby Grajewski, president of Edison Nation Medical.

Two years ago, Carolinas HealthCare System and Edison Nation, based in Charlotte, North Carolina, partnered to help address the issue of the lack of participation of individual healthcare providers and patients in healthcare product innovation. Grajewski was picked to head their joint venture, Edison Nation Medical, LLC, a healthcare product and medical device incubator and online community for people that are passionate about healthcare innovation.


HealthCXO: July marks the two-year anniversary of the Edison Nation Medical, LLC as a joint venture between Carolinas HealthCare System and Edison Nation. How are things going so far?

Grajewski: Edison Nation Medical is doing very well and we are continuing to gain momentum every day. Since launching, we have received more than 4,000 ideas and are actively working to commercialize quite a few of these, either through licensing arrangements or by incubating the idea ourselves. 

Innovation ideas have been submitted to us by physicians, nurses, healthcare technicians and sales reps, patients, and caregivers — basically the exact mix of "in the trenches" inventors we intuitively suspected would have great ideas to bring forth when we launched Edison Nation Medical.

 In addition, we have gotten tremendous feedback from a wide variety of potential partners, ranging from healthcare systems to major consumer brands to patient and professional advocacy groups.  Our mission clearly resonates with these organizations and we look forward to publicly announcing some of these partnerships and beginning to bring their customer / member ideas to life very soon.


HealthCXO: You receive thousands of idea submissions through Edison Nation Medical. How do you tell the good ideas from the bad ones?

Grajewski: Every idea submitted to us goes through a rigorous multi-stage evaluation process that addresses all aspects of due diligence ranging from intellectual property to medical efficacy to market commercialization potential.  We have access to over 200 medical experts who provide clinical feedback on each idea and, through our partnership with Carolinas HealthCare System, we are able to test and trial these innovations and gather information and “voice of the customer” feedback to further inform our decisions. 

In addition, we have full engineering and prototyping capabilities and intellectual property expertise in-house to further develop product ideas and secure necessary IP. When appropriate, Carolinas HealthCare System then becomes the first adopter of healthcare innovations that come through our pipeline.


HealthCXO: What lessons could healthcare system leaders and hospitals learn from your experience of finding great inventors among clinicians and patients?

Grajewski: After more than 12 years of uncovering great ideas through Edison Nation and through our Emmy-award winning television show, Everyday Edisons, we intuitively knew that the patients and caregivers living with a healthcare issue or the practitioners involved in the care of those patients would undoubtedly have brilliant ideas for improving patient care, and our intuition has turned out to be 100 percent correct. With two years of history behind us, we can say without question that breakthrough ideas exist in the minds of the people living in the trenches of healthcare every day.

Healthcare system leaders need to foster an environment conducive to enabling these individuals to recognize and capture these innovations and then provide an easy pathway through which to bring the ideas to life. Creating this environment is obviously no easy task in today’s complicated and rapidly changing healthcare environment, but this is exactly where Edison Nation Medical's open innovation platform can be an invaluable resource. 


Bobby Grajewski is President of Edison Nation Medical, a healthcare product and medical device incubator and online community for people that are passionate about healthcare innovation. Prior to joining Edison Nation Medical, Bobby Grajewski, a serial entrepreneur, co-founded two online companies (Heritage Handcrafted and eCollector) and spent five years in venture capital and private equity — both in the middle market (J.H. Whitney Capital Partners Kamylon Capital) and at larger LBO firms (Permira Advisers) — investing in companies across numerous industries. Grajewski holds an MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, a MPA from Harvard Kennedy School, and a BA from Harvard University.