Innovation Loop in Lycksele

Attending the smart growth idea development workshop in Lyskele provided many different types of learnings.

The topic of “smart growth” and its varied applications and interpretations by industry and individual allowed for informative dialogue. The vagueness of the definition is important as we think about the future and improvement. However it will be important to ensure the keys words are abused by regardless of the evolution of ideas and solutions. Perhaps my most interesting takeaways we’re observing first hand some of the generalizations we learned about concerning how Swedes problem solve. We discussed how decisions are made by committee and they take their time to come to a concensus. This couldn’t have been more true and I found myself frustrated it at times as I was ready to charge ahead onto the next thing when I thought concensus had been reached. It was useful to have already been made aware of some of these cultural differences and just take a step back and be a part of their process, taking in the benefits and reflecting on some of the negatives of America’s fast pace. 

All in all, I found the concept of the workshop to be very forward thinking. My group was comprised of an innovator, which came to her local county government with a proposition to address a healthcare issue she believes in, three county government employees and four Chapman students. It was great to observe a society where the people have the opportunity to address their concerns with their government and for the government to actually listen and actively work to find a solution. This seems to me like a very pure, genuine government function, unlike the convoluted systems in the US where mistrust is rampant.

My group’s topic was smart healthcare, focused on a specific issue regarding premature babies’ care post birth. An overview of our issue and proposed solution is as follows:

On average 365,000 babies are born each day, of which an average of 10% are born premature.  This presents a multitude of issues that need to be addressed. Primarily, the babies’ high level of sensitivity to noises at the neonatal intensive care unit.  Even in the most state-of-the-art hospitals, these sounds have negative impacts on the underdeveloped babies. It is now known that excessive sounds can have a negative impact on parameters such as blood pressure, respiration, pulse and oxygen saturation.

Currently, no product exists that addresses all of these concerns, either in a hospital or in an underdeveloped country.  There is no clear competitor but there are several existing products that address elements of this problem. These products include swaddlers, carries and noise reduction hats and headphones.  

Our product incorporates these elements and adds smart technology to form a single cohesive womb simulation device.  The product consists of two parts: a soft core offering comfort and a hard shell offering protection and noise reducing technology. Additionally, our product is mobile and can be utilized in hospitals or in third world countries with less resources. 

Being on one of the winning teams was the cherry on top! It was a foreign feeling to know this conference was more than just an exercise in how things “should” be. My Swedish teammates are going to use our prize money to continue their efforts in solving this problem.

Stay at tuned for how our smart solution evolves and comes to fruition!