Why the innovation snippets?

For six months now, I have been producing an innovation snippets series.

I know I have some email subscribers who have been surprised at my output in the past six month (Hi Ronan!). Partly, it was surprising that I chose to publish on this topic given my time commitments elsewhere, and partly it was surprising as I tend to have a much stronger interest in heavy technical questions and a focus on product-market fit in healthcare.

I have spent the past five plus years deeply involved in medical innovation. My first startup was in pharma R&D, and my second was an innovative approach to delivering behavioural therapy to oncology patients. Since leaving Fosanis, I have spent over three years publishing academic articles on how to do medical AI products, and in mentoring a rather large number of startups working in this space.

I realise that I do not want to become a lifelong coach. Nor am I likely to publish a book on entrepreneurship. But I have been systematically gathering my insights over these past years and if the opportunity ever presents I do intend to publish them – that is just not my principal path.

In June 2022 I accepted a full time job for the first time in my career. Part of that role might have required me to develop content for courses on innovation in AI. Prior to beginning in that role I was faced with the obvious problem – I have a lot of content ready to go, I was not hired on the basis of having that content, indeed my employer did not even know that I had it at the point where they hired me, so how do I maintain ownership here?

We came up with an internal process for handling this issue. But my backstop solution was to publish the insights in their rawest form here on my blog. I typed them all up prior to taking up my employment and programmed their subsequent appearance according to a weekly publishing schedule.

What next?

I like the insights, but I dislike what they are doing to my blog.

I use this domain as my principal domain for my professional life and this is lowering my value. It is hiding that I am actually a technical expert who, in addition, works well with humans.

I will revert to publishing on more concrete topics. But I am bandwidth limited so, as a consequence, I will be forced to publish less often.

If it does not make the blog look bad then I will continue to intersperse innovation insights when time and space allow.

New article: My experience of the BIA Pulse accelerator

I wrote recently about my experiences of the Pulse leadership and entrepreneurship training program for the blog of the UK BioIndustry Association (BIA). The Pulse course is organised jointly by the BIA and the Francis Crick Institute. I joined the three-day course, in its first year of operation, in 2018.

I felt that I benefited enormously from the course. I had left my postdoc position 3 months previously and I was researching ideas for setting-up a company. I subsequently took my learnings from Pulse and elsewhere, and established my first company Simmunology. So when I was contacted earlier this year I was particularly keen to write something and say thanks.

Continue reading “New article: My experience of the BIA Pulse accelerator”

New hosting

I have had to move my website hosting this week. I was hosted by the computer society at National University of Ireland, Galway for many years. Their hardware is now on its last legs and the building it is hosted in has been turned into a field hospital for Covid patients. It was time to move on.

Many thanks to Compsoc at NUI Galway for the years of hosting.

Writing quickly

Every blog I read eventually contains a post about i) navigating the blog, and ii) the author’s policy on writing. Consider this my attempt at the latter.

I have mentioned before that I find that writing benefits my long-term thought processes. It is meditative. I am forced to formalise my thoughts and chase-up loose ends. I have never considered myself to be good at writing – I failed English in school – but I find my confidence growing as I get older.

Continue reading “Writing quickly”

Build – Test – Move

First a mea culpa, I have a huge backlog of relatively heavy articles that I really want to add to the blog. But I’ve been busy getting married – congratulations to me – and I didn’t have enough time. I strongly believe in following relatively strict guidelines on writing and editing articles, where I set myself deadlines and avoid over-writing on topics – it is just a blog after all – but for deep insights I do also have a minimum standard that I want to be able to produce before I’m willing to hit the Publish button.

Continue reading “Build – Test – Move”

Why I write

I sometimes see myself as a slow learner. I am extremely fast at deep-thinking, which somewhat disguises this fact, but I learn things from the ground up. Until I can think a topic through I sometimes feel unsure about operating from an incomplete understanding.

When I worked in academia I prefered to learn rather than to force my opinions on others. Everybody seemed reasonably smart, and they were absolutely convinced of their own correctness, and so I listened and learned. Continue reading “Why I write”

One year-a blogging

One year ago I finally picked up the courage to put my thoughts publicly online. I led with a traditional Hello World but I quickly followed-up with my opening manifesto for the company I was trying to establish Simmunology.

The discipline of writing is something I initially discovered, when I first moved to Germany, 10 years ago. It clarifies my thoughts and allows me to discover the holes in my own thinking.

Blogging has paid off immensely. Before, I was afraid of sharing my thoughts and having my opinions come back to bite me. This sometimes led me to go too far down paths that I didn’t agree with.

Eventually I had to accept that I have accumulated considerable life experience. And that those to whom I was listening had typically less things of importance to say than I do. Finally, if I put it here and you disagree with me – I might change my mind – it will certainly lead to a more aligned working relationship.