When the Brigham’s newest building opens in the fall of 2016, it will be a hub for state-of-the-art labs, outpatient clinical space and advanced imaging facilities. It will also be home to researchers and clinicians from across many disciplines with a shared vision for collaboration, acceleration and translation of laboratory discoveries into novel treatments for patients. In the months leading up to the building’s opening, this series will feature several major research areas that will be brought together in the new space.
Earlier this year, mockup sketches and bright color swatches occupied much of the space on the desk of Brigham Innovation Hub (iHub) Executive Director Lesley Solomon, MBA. Now, those sketches have come to life, and very soon, Solomon and her team will be pushing the boundaries of innovation in a brand new space, known as the iHub Open Innovation Studio, in the Brigham’s building at 60 Fenwood Road.
“We want our new space to be a place where anyone can stop by to talk with us about their ideas or ask for help in translating their research into innovations,” said Solomon. “The BBF is a cutting-edge and innovative place, and iHub’s goal in this new space is to increase awareness about how we can work with people to move their ideas forward.”
The iHub has been a resource center for BWH’s first-time and experienced innovators since 2013. The center helps turn breakthrough concepts, inventions and research by BWH clinicians, scientists and employees into products and services to benefit and improve care delivery. For the past few years, iHub has taken in hundreds of ideas from BWHers. Currently iHub is operating out of a temporary space in the Miller Atrium.
Brian Mullen, manager of Innovation Strategy at iHub, hopes scientists and clinicians will think of the space as an artist would think of an art studio.
“Innovation is a mix of art and science. It is important to have a spot for creation and freedom to exercise the artful and playful sides of innovation to enhance the practical side of transformative ideas,” Mullen said. “iHub will give people the go-to spot to get out of the lab, clinic or office and away from day-to-day activities, thinking and constraints.”
How will iHub push innovation forward in the new space? BWH Clinical & Research News spoke to team members to find out more – here are their top ideas for utilizing the new space:
- Hands-on Innovation: A large whiteboard will be a focal point in the new iHub Open Innovation Studio. Anyone who wants to think through new ideas or work through a problem can get creative and use the whiteboard to map out ideas. The iHub team’s slogan “What are you innovating today?” is a theme that will resonate in the new space.
- Key Location: Innovation Strategy Manager Beverly Hardy said the location of the center on the third floor of the BBF allows iHub team members to engage BWH staff without requiring them to go too far from their labs, clinics and offices, making it as easy as possible for people to attend iHub meetings, brainstorms and events. “Innovation never happens in a vacuum,” she said. “Cross-disciplinary teams who may not otherwise run into each other in their own spaces have a chance to share perspectives and learn serendipitously from each other at our events.”
- Internal and External Meetings: Teams working on innovation projects will be able to meet with both internal colleagues and external collaborators in the new iHub.
- Innovation Hours: Held once a month in the evenings on different themes, such as perfecting your pitch; the business of health care; nursing and innovation; machine learning; and behavioral health. Oftentimes, iHub will bring in an outside speaker who can help stimulate new ideas and problem solving. Solomon said they are always looking for suggestions for speakers and encourages BWHers to share them with the iHub team.
David Kroll, MD, an associate psychiatrist in the BWH Department of Psychiatry, is working with Solomon and her team on a couple of projects that he has developed, including the creation of a mobile phone app that will help to provide patients with the support they may need between a visit to the emergency department and their next outpatient appointment. The goal is to reduce repeat visits to the emergency department. Also moving into the BBF, Kroll is excited that he’ll be only one floor away from iHub.
“iHub really pushed me to verbalize and actualize my ideas,” he said. “It will be nice to have a permanent space available where people can go to find inspiration and let their creative juices flow.”