If you have an idea for a new invention, it can be overwhelming to think about everything that goes into forming a business around that idea. Who is going to fund it? How are you going to build a prototype? Who is going to ensure this is a product or service others want?
At OSF HealthCare, we help take the pressure off of Mission Partners working to create, grow or scale their health care concepts through the OSF Innovation Studio. Our team is focused on rapidly advancing ideas from exploration to implementation or commercialization within and outside of the Ministry.
This is done in a variety of ways, including through a submission process and Ministry wide competitions. Our latest effort, called Slingshot, invokes the well-known story of David and Goliath where a young man defeats a giant using only a sling and stone. Much like this centuries-old Biblical account, we believe all it takes is courage and a slingshot to give something as small as a stone the energy it needs to have an enormous impact.
How does Slingshot work?
Slingshot is an event for Mission Partners to pitch their ideas to subject matter experts, stakeholders and other members of the community in a matter of fifteen minutes. As part of their presentation, inventors network and share where they are in the process and what resources they need to validate their concepts.
Four teams got the chance to share their concepts with a room full of people. Melissa Larson and Rachel Lucas, both speech pathologists for pediatric rehabilitation at OSF HealthCare Saint Francis Medical Center, pitched their idea to design a special cup for children who have difficulty swallowing.
“Before the Slingshot event, the OSF Innovation Studio team helped us prepare for our presentation and were also very helpful in making us feel successful too,” said Larson. “It felt like we were on the TV show, ‘Shark Tank.’ It was a lot of fun.”
As part of the event, attendees weighed in and provided feedback and insights to those discussing their ideas. The idea is to engage more people who don’t necessarily have ideas, but want to contribute to the larger innovation process.
“This was a huge opportunity for us to present our concept to the health care community and learn different ways we can advance our project,” said Lucas. “People were very receptive to our idea and some even discussed different manufacturers that could potentially produce our product.”
The future of Slingshot
Our inaugural Slingshot event was not just an opportunity for us to connect innovators to subject matter experts. It was also an effort for Mission Partners around the Ministry and the broader community to learn more about OSF Innovation and the types of projects we support. The goal is to make this a biannual occasion, but it may take on different forms.
This is just another way we build awareness about the services the OSF Innovation Studio has to offer. We hope it attracts even more Mission Partners to submit ideas for implementation or commercialization. They are our biggest resource for great ideas that will transform health care for the patients we serve.