Innovation is the lifeblood of business. And today, as technology has become the lifeblood of so many industries, innovation is occurring in many places. I mention this because innovation has been one of the common themes to my work in recent weeks - in healthcare, biotech, education and urbanization.
In tough times when every penny counts, the desire and ability to innovate can be overwhelmed by the need to survive. And yet, as we all know, innovation is what will shape our future. I have been inspired by what I have seen.
Last week, I spent some time at the Cleveland Clinic at its 2009 Medical Innovation Summit. The summit is a dynamic mix of business managers and medical professionals that gather to talk about some of the most exciting innovations today.
You will be happy to know that we have made real progress on breast cancer treatment and detection. Unfortunately, that is less true when it comes to lung and pancreatic cancers as well as Alzheimer’s. Also, medical equipment - from stents to radiology machines - has been life changing. For example, I saw a camera doctors can put on a patient’s heart to record every movement.
Among the most fascinating innovations I saw was when Dr. Delos Cosgrove, the Cleveland Clinic CEO, showed me robots moving around the floors (about 80 of them). These robots resemble walking metal laundry baskets with lights that look like eyes. They are programmed to pick up medical equipment at one end of the 150-acre institution and deliver it to the appropriate places within the hospital, saving time and money in both human hours and material costs for things like hygienic gloves.
There is so much innovation happening in the healthcare and the medical sector right now, from managing information to procedures, that there are sure to be investment opportunities coming out of this growth story.
The Business of Innovation
I am also working on a brand-new edition of The Business of Innovation. The first part last week, focusing on cities of the future. People are shifting to cities in huge numbers around the world, putting pressure on so many things we take for granted - transportation, food, work. More high speed trains are coming, and – get this – individual stackable cars!
Part two, which airs tonight, will delve into healthcare including a look at the Cleveland and Mayo Clinics. Part three, the following Monday (Oct. 19), examines the workplace, which will increasingly include robots in many cases.
Opportunities to Come
Technology stocks have been the best performing sector so far in 2009, and it is partly because there is a true long-term belief in the growth story in so many areas of tech. Mobility was and still is a big trend, which continues to spur new ideas and revenue generating opportunities (like Google exhausting search, adding a talk feature, etc.).
There are many other big trends and growth stories that technology will be part of, such as education, healthcare, and urbanization. These are trends that impact generations. The trick is to find the companies enabling this change, which is something we’ll continue to explore.
I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to talk with many of the leading innovators of our time in the last few weeks, and I thought you might like to know that, despite the worries of big government stifling innovation, it appears alive and well so far. We have many exciting things to look forward to in the coming months and years. We need more incentives for businesses -- small, midsize and big - to continue investing in research and development and maintain the vibrancy in these innovative ideas.
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