Chief Innovation Officer, Jesse Goodwin, Ph.D.

Jesse Goodwin, Ph.D.

Jesse Goodwin will tell you her job is to maximize the impact of others’ creativity, to align the resources necessary to filter, develop and implement their great ideas.

Her motivation may have been born of personal experience.

She’s an engineer by training. “I designed a transcatheter aortic valve replacement device for my senior thesis in college. That was the same year that TAVR godfather Dr. Alain Cribier founded his startup company. I had never heard of Dr. Cribier and, at the time, patents were not on my radar at all. So I gave a presentation, got my grade, and headed to graduate school,” she laments good-naturedly. “My husband is still a bit bitter that we don’t receive any royalties from Edwards Lifesciences!”

A lesson learned – and now shared with physicians and scientists, whose discoveries and inventions should, might and can see their way to commercialization.

Goodwin says research is a driving force behind advances in health care. “So many things we take for granted in health care came out of research at academic medical centers,” she says. “Yet, it would be very short-sighted to say that innovation can only come from research.”

Innovation is also the province of care team members whose ideas can impact patient experience. And of those who educate students. Innovation can and does happen in unexpected places. She cites the service excellence teams that direct operations such as parking and grounds.

That’s good, because the journey for a big bench-to-bedside breakthrough is a long, arduous, and expensive road and one fraught with high probability of failure.

Goodwin isn’t sure if you can teach people how to be innovative. What you can inculcate is how to filter. There should be lots of ideas, but not all should be implemented. What are the financial implications? Does it affect a lot of people or just a few?

While this process might seem a damper on innovation, she has found the opposite. The first step is to respond; nothing is worse than asking for ideas and then never getting back to the ideator. If the answer is “no,” which it often is, then a thoughtful response as to why not is required. Those who “get” the value of filtering now make their proposals more robust, including the ultimate impact on an important pain point, the patentability landscape and business analysis.

A culture of innovation shows output and impact.