Digital Innovation Hub

Better Networking Through Collaboration – the iHub at the Netherlands Innovation Network’s Design Challenge

Three members of the iHub team – Jon, Gabby, and Aaron – participated in the Netherlands Emerging Technologies in Health Design Challenge organized by the Netherlands Innovation Network in Boston:

The Netherlands Innovation Network in Boston is part of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy. We work with startups, companies, and research institutes/universities from the Netherlands and facilitate their exploration of innovation opportunities in the Northeast of the US.

The challenge gathered a diverse group of innovators from startups, companies, universities, and hospitals in the Netherlands and US to tackle broad challenges in healthcare. Over the course of two days, we participated in facilitated activities and discussion interspersed with group work focused on four design challenges. The topics were, 1) how to make healthcare personalized, 2) how to shift from treatment to prevention, 3) how to keep/make healthcare cost effective/efficient, and 4) how to staff the healthcare industry sustainably. The primary goal of the design challenge activity was not to produce solutions to global-scale problems – instead, it was a very effective mechanism to connect participants as they collaborated.

Our team made consistent positive contributions throughout the events by joining discussions, speaking about our team’s role and needs, and generally being positive, curious people. Most critically, we used our expertise in design and deep understanding of American academic medical centers and the US health system to inform the process and discussion as our design challenge teams developed potential solutions.

Overall, this was a valuable personal and professional experience for us as individual attendees, sparking promising connections and ideas that will likely prove valuable for the iHub and MGB. In addition, we left the event with several lessons about the value of skilled facilitation, effective mechanisms to build meaningful connections, and thoughtful event organization to consider as we facilitate in our own innovation community building at MGB.


Many thanks to the Netherlands Innovation Network for organizing a great event and inviting our team to participate.

Photos by Nathan Azopiardi.