At Novo Nordisk innovation bootcamp, innovators break down silos to pressure test ideas

“We all have hidden blind spots. I challenge you, over these next few days, to question your own assumptions and use this opportunity to learn from the diverse set of expertise and experiences in this room,” said MATTER Senior Program Director Arun Bhatia in his opening remarks at last week’s Novo Nordisk Innovation Challenge bootcamp.

Challenge semi-finalists, selected from a competitive pool of applicants, joined Novo Nordisk subject matter experts at MATTER to pressure-test and refine their solutions. The group included a wide range of expertise from marketing and health policy to engineering, medicine and anthropology.

Over the course of three days, participants worked together to break down silos between startups and big companies, blend data science and human experience, and harness the expertise of industry and the wisdom of people living with diabetes. The semi-finalists and their mentors participated in innovation workshops and roundtable discussions, working together to translate new learnings into practical next steps.

“For me, what was most beneficial [about the bootcamp] was the diversity of backgrounds in the room,” said challenge semi-finalist Kaylee Carpenter, product manager at Groove Health. “MATTER and Novo Nordisk brought together designers, researchers, entrepreneurs, marketers, engineers and others — and this combination provided a wealth of viewpoints that I think anyone working in any one particular area would not have the opportunity to experience every day.”

This transfer of knowledge and sharing of experiences was not a one-way street but rather a two-way partnership, with Novo Nordisk mentors equally learning from their startup-collaborators.

“[Being a mentor] was a great opportunity to think about the ecosystem as a whole and to start to think about how we can marry our products with these different solutions to truly to bend the curve and improve the lives of people living with diabetes,” said Chris Leggett, director of market access at Novo Nordisk.

“This bootcamp is the perfect example of MATTER’s founding premise in action: Collaboration is the best way to improve healthcare,” said MATTER CEO Steven Collens. “Over these three days, we saw innovators with different backgrounds come together to learn from one another, really challenge their thinking and refine their solutions.”

The semi-finalists will pitch their solutions to a panel of Novo Nordisk judges on December 5, 2018 in Boston, MA. Winning teams will receive a $25,000 cash prize and a one-year opportunity to co-develop their solutions with Novo Nordisk, beginning with a 12-week, semi-virtual accelerator program in partnership with MATTER. Program participants will continue to build and test their solutions with Novo Nordisk mentors, MATTER staff and stakeholders from across the healthcare community.

View the full list of semi-finalists here.