Friday, October 29, 2010

Physiotherapy innovation uses Formula 1 technology

Up to now there has been no agreed upon definition of Innovation. In our post “What is innovation”, we used Christopher Freeman’s definition of innovation as the "invention plus commercialization" and Michael Porter’s as a "new way of doing things that is commercialized". According to Hutch Carpenter, Vice President of Product at Spigit, innovation is a "change in a product offering, service, business model or operations which meaningfully improves the experience of a large number of stakeholders". In this post, we will look at a recent innovation in England that reconfirms Carpenter's definition. 

Formula 1 technology has been used in physiotheraphy and offered a quick recovery to a horse rider, Thea Maxfield, who suffered a severely broken neck in a terrible horse riding incident. Read her complete story here and also here . Doctors had issued warnings that she would be paralysed and use the wheelchair for life or worse still, she would even die.

She had a permanent brace fixed in her neck for three months to help fuse the bones back together. In a sudden turn of events, she was completely up on her feet again just after seven months and she now plans to compete in races next year. Credit goes to the physiotherapist Don Gatherer whose innovative device miraculously helped Thea to recover.

The device uses Formula1 technology and this was the first time that this kind of technology has been adapted to physiotherapy. A specially-adapted head brace connected to a computer by tiny sensors which measure the force of steering wheels, suspension, airflow and stresses that Formula 1 cars go through as they speed round the track were used to assess the strength and weakness of Thea's neck. (See the photo that has been taken from the DailyMail.) The information from the sensors to the computer helped physiotherapists to tailor make exercises and monitor the healing at an optimal rate.

Other than being a great innovation, this can be also considered as a good example of open innovation , since Don Gatherer, the physiotherapist, used external ideas and technology from Formula 1 along with internal ideas from the physiotherapeutic field in order to develop his innovative device.

This is not the first time that Formula 1 is associated with innovation and open innovation in particular. Revisit our earlier post, The Power of Openness: Open Innovation Lessons from McLaren". 

The Open Innovation Team

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  1. That's amazing!!
    These cars they not run only fast but they also progress the technology.
    Of course the credit goes to the people who are Open Innovators and mergers of the new tech - ideas . .

  2. Hi Willings -

    That is an amazing story. I love when ideas from one realm are applied to a completely different area and solve a problem. Hard to make happen (I'm aware of the TRIZ methodology for this).

    Open innovation really makes sense here. Fresh eyes and perspective are valuable. With aspects of crowdsourcing to help find these opportunities wherever they are.

    And thanks for the blog post shout-out.


  3. The accessory uses Formula1 technology and this was the aboriginal time that this affectionate of technology has been acclimatized to physiotherapy.

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  6. There was a day people deprived to get quality and required treatment due to lacking of technological advantages as now.Thanks for the sharing.
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