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Review of External Innovation Think Tank (eITT) Exhibition 2021

Proactively drive innovation to improve human life 


The annual external Innovation Think Tank Exhibition (eITT 2021) showcased best practices and outcomes from ITT global locations of Siemens Healthineers and partner universities, hospitals, venture capitalists and start-ups. During the last year alone, ITT has received 12 invitations to set up ITT programs, 10 new ITT activity locations were implemented and over 1000 participants took part in various ITT programs. From an open call for projects, 7 finalists were chosen and the top 3 received awards. 

The compact program enabled participation from various time zones and short speeches were held to benefit from the vast experience during the exhibition and to foster new projects. In the welcome address Prof. Sultan Haider thanked the partner institutions for their trusted partnerships.  

Prof. Sultan Haider
Founder and Global Head of Innovation Think Tank
Siemens Healthineers

“The circumstances in the last year taught me to appreciate everything around me. Before pandemic also we were working in a global environment however it was considered essential to meet people in person for most of the decisions. This limited the number of interactions and projects and changes which could be implemented even during a work life span. Most importantly our trusted relationships helped us in these difficult times to further work on joint projects, define new focus areas, create local innovation infrastructures that address challenges of the host institutions and create new partnerships between various institutions.”

The exhibition’s first welcoming speech was done by Dr. Peter Schardt, CTO of Siemens Healthineers. Dr. Schardt gave an inspiring speech and talked about the importance of innovation in healthcare.

Dr. Peter Schardt
Chief Technology Officer
Siemens Healthineers

“I think it is impressive how ITT has developed, from the early days, which I have also witnessed, into really are a global brand to ideate and also co-create for future products and solutions. And what is really most important, is not primarily looking at what is the next future business, it is about what the next pressing medical need is, which we really have to address together in order to give relief not only to the healthcare systems globally, but in particular the patients.”

Dr. Christoph Zindel, Member of the Managing board continued the welcoming speeches focusing on the challenges faced by the healthcare systems and the role of partnerships 

Dr. Christoph Zindel
Member of the Managing Board
Siemens Healthineers

 “We do not innovate for the sake of innovation. It needs to support quality of life for the patients and cost reduction for the healthcare systems. Thus, I’m very happy to welcome you to today’s Annual Innovation Think Tank Exhibition. It’s really great to see that the ITT community – along with its co-creation labs and programs – is continuously growing. This is for sure a community that is characterized by many friendships. I also hope that I will have the pleasure to see many of you at next year’s Annual Innovation Think Tank Exhibition – in person! I’m convinced that innovation is fueled by personal interactions.”  

Başkent ITT, the partnership of Başkent Hospital Group and University, with the pioneering projects and programs they have carried out since 2017. The first speaker of the event, Başkent University Rector Prof. Dr. Ali Haberal talked about the strong partnership with Siemens Healthineers and ITT. 

Prof. Ali Haberal
Arzu Firlarer

"As Başkent ITT, which is carried out in cooperation between Siemens Healthineers and Başkent University and Başkent Hospital Group, we have been serving the purpose of implementing innovative medical products and ideas since the day it was founded. I am happy for the continuity of our cooperation and the implementation of business ideas, including the development of start-up projects, in order to ensure repeated and sustainable development in the field of medicine with Başkent ITT”.

Ms. Arzu Fırlarer, who is the director of a Baskent Technology Transfer Office and our ITT coordinator at Baskent ITT continued the keynote, presenting the best practices Başkent ITT has showcased throughout the years. 

eITT 2021

“In partnerships with ITT, we are developing different ideation programs. Now we are especially focusing on the health technologies, but with the development of Baskent University Biotechnology Development Center, we are also developing different projects for the biotechnology field, which can be related to Innovation Think Tank group… eITT is a very great chance for us to meet all global ITT locations. And we hope that after today, we develop new projects with ITT worldwide and get other grants to realize our dreams and ideas.”

EnMed is a tripartite collaboration between Texas A&M’s College of Engineering, College of Medicine and the Houston Methodist Hospital. The program is established to transform healthcare through translational interdisciplinary research, the development of medical technologies. Dr. Michael Moreno is the director of Innovation of this program and with Dr. Roderick Pettigrew, the dean of the school, has been incredibly supportive of establishing ITT in their program. Dr. Moreno presented the initial contact and future plans of their unique partnerships with ITT.  
Dr. Michael Moreno
Dr. Roderick Pettigrew

“When you think about what EndMed’s goal is and what our mission is, it just aligns so well with the Siemens Healthineers Innovation Think Tank is doing. When we first introduced to this concept, we got very excited about working with them and collaborating with them… We actually had our first event a couple of weeks ago and actually went really, really well. So our goal is 50 student participants per year as we go forward and so we really look forward to advancing the program.”

Among the speakers was ITT’s head at Health Tech Innovation lab Prof. Michael Friebe. Prof. Friebe’s strong outlook on innovation in healthcare has provided valuable insights for various ITT projects and have welcomed highly interested projects from his mentored teams throughout the years. Having yet another team participate and win first prize at eITT 2021, Prof. Friebe described the relationship between ITT to the audience.

Prof. Michael Friebe

“I am very happy to say that the that Innovation Think Tank that we have established is actually doing very well. We are having joined PhD students now, with some clinical partners. We're actually having relatively high impact journal papers that we wrote together. So, all the things that I did not believe would be possible to do with such a big company are actually happening with such a great setup… I think we'll do a lot of good things in the future and I'm looking forward to that as well.”

In April 2019, Innovation Think Tank at South Carolina University was established. The ITT Lab at UofSC is the first Innovation Think Tank Lab affiliated with a U.S. university and is an innovation hub where participants including researchers, faculty members, and students can think outside the box to solve issues in healthcare. One of the directors of ITT at UofSC, Ms. Dilek Akgün expressed her views regarding innovation during the pandemic and collaborations with ITT.

University of South Carolina
Innovation Think Tank Lab 

"Siemens Healthineers Innovation Think Tank has critical strengths which can inspire a lot of people around the world with its access to the talents all around the world. ITT provides opportunities to multiple people from different backgrounds to work on the same problem. That's why I find this initiative very important. And I feel, personally, very lucky to be part of this network since 2015, to see how it progresses and how it continues to create the impact of innovation to solve real world problems."

The next speech was performed by Dr. Charles Harr the chief medical officer at WakeMed Health and Hospitals, USA. Dr. Harr was also the inspirational speaker for the ITT program at Georgia Tech in December 2020 as well as a jury member and gave incredible insights to all the participants.
eITT 2021

Dr. Charles Harr

“It was a great honour to participate last year as the inspirational speaker, for the Georgia Tech Innovation Think Tank Program. The quality of the work presented there inspired WakeMed to start the journey of initiating an Innovation Think Team at our institution and we're early in that but we are looking forward to that. WakeMed Health and hospitals entered last year in September of 2020 into to a collaborative agreement with Siemens to create a new method of partnership to Advanced Imaging Excellence.”

Acıbadem ITT program, which has achieved significant successes together with Acıbadem Healthcare Group and University, is supported by program director and Acıbadem University Faculty of Engineering Dean Prof. Ata Akın. Emphasizing the ongoing activities despite the pandemic conditions, Prof. Akın stated that he was excited to develop projects related to the selected neuroscience focus area in the coming periods and to contribute to the scientific world in close partnership with Innovation Think Tank and Siemens Healthineers.

Prof. Ata Akin

“The medical engineering program at Acibadem University, in Istanbul was developed on the idea that we teach our students, the ways of biodesign from Stanford University, which we were inspired a lot, but there was something missing. I think with Sultan we found that missing pieces. He's a person who inspires and motivates everyone. Together with Sultan and Siemens Healthineers Turkey teams, we immediately understood what should be done in Turkey, with regards to our medical engineering program. And throughout these last four years, we have done many activities together. It was obvious that, engineering ways and coming up with wonderful ideas, didn't actually work all the time. So we had to go back and talk with these people and this is what we learned from ITT. So in a sense, we also evolved in our understanding of innovation, in clinical settings.”

Dr. Osama Abdullah is an MRI physicist at the New York University of Abu Dhabi and is a very experienced researcher who is working on multiple research projects at New York University, Abu Dhabi in partnership with Siemens Healthineers, Cleveland Clinic, and other key institutions in the region. As ITT, we’ve had strong engagement with Dr. Osama during a visit to ITT HQ. New York University, Abu Dhabi was the first institution in UAE to set up ITT program and so far, have successfully organized 2 ITT certification programs in the region. 

Dr. Osama Abdullah

Prof. Rafael Song 

“We visited Erlangen and we were introduced, to Doctor Sultan and his team in 2018 and, within a half-hour, we realized the value ITT can bring to our students and researchers at NYU AD. And since then, we hosted at NYU AD two ITT certification programs. The ITT certification program is a staple for all our new engineering student. It's almost part of the curriculum now that they're expected to perform and our relationship with the ITT is moving forward, full speed. Doctor Sultan is a member at our scientific advisory committee and we have several internal and external research projects and grant applications including project we started two weeks ago.”

ITT’s introduced to Imperial College London by Prof. James Moore who is the Chair in Medical Device Design at Bagrit and Royal Academy of Engineering, and Director of Research for the Department of Bioengineering. Prof. Moore is leading the ITT program at Imperial Collage and presented their vision for the upcoming years. 

Prof. James Moore

“We are pleased to host next year with an ITT event at Imperial College. I'm in the department of bioengineering there and we have one of the largest departments of bioengineering in Europe and it would probably be top 10 in the States. We have 55 academics and each one coming up with fantastic ideas that can really have a lot of societal impact, if we can figure out how to get these technologies from the laboratory into the marketplace, which is occupies a lot of brain power sitting in the room right now virtually. We're very proud to be able to welcome ITT to London next year “

Mr. Ufuk Eren, has been a valuable partner for ITT through the years. After Mr. Eren’s years of experience at healthcare leading institutions, he has founded Volitan Global, a company that focuses on management and investment in health and technology business scales.  

Mr. Ufuk Eren

“We signed an MoU with Siemens Healthineers ITT, and the Volitan Global. Innovation Think Tank Siemens Healthineers have the common goal of focusing on activities to identify, inverse cooperate, to establish and guide startups for playing active roles globally in the field of medical technologies, biotech, medical applications, health care management. With regards of this MoU signed between Volitan Global and Siemens Healthineers ITT, we organized our first event in 9th of June 2021 together with the ITT startup Network, technology accelerators like ITT Acibadem, ITT Baskent University, ITT Magdeburg, ITT University of South Carolina, Medical Valley and investor club. We had about around 20 startups applied and are distinguished. The first three startups will get mentorship from Volitan from Siemens Healthineers Turkey and Siemens Healthineers ITT and they will go into the investment pipeline of 10x investor Club.”

Mr. Zaw Ali Khan, who's the R&D director for ERA’s Lucknow Medical College (ELMC) and hospital and the operational director for the Innovation Think Tank at ELMC, institutionalized at their hospital premises. ELMC, is one of the best healthcare institutions in the region and have performed exceptionally well entering patients, even during the covid pandemic with the aim to accelerate innovations, that address healthcare delivery challenges and mapping the disease pathways. 

Mr. Zaw Ali Khan

“Thank you for having me here. I will briefly be sharing the multidisciplinary approach that we took to tackle covid-19 in an effective manner. Use of Innovative Technology. The most important thing that we realized was that there's an abrupt deterioration in covid-19 patients. So, we wanted to track the data of the patients on a continuous manner, and we used remote monitoring dashboard that we set up in a dedicated control room and doctors will be able to see real-time vitals and latest investigative parameters of each patient. Therefore, our doctors benefited a lot from this as they were the most experienced, but also the most at risk for serious covid-19 infection. So, with minimal visits to the ward, they were able to provide their expertise using this dashboard.”

Dr. Talal Al Malki, is the chief executive officer at Taif Region Healthcare cluster, Ministry of Health in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and is one of the key opinion leaders in this region. Dr. Al Malki was invited as an inspirational speaker, jury member and panelists in the ITT program, organized in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. 

Dr. Talal Al Malki

“I'll be very happy to talk one to one with universities and healthcare centers in Taif region with Innovation Think Tank. I'm also very happy to participate next year in London in the upcoming event. Thanks to Sultan Haider for his invitation. We look forward to seeing you in person in days to come”

Prof. Faisal Hassan has been one of the key contributors for the ITT program in the United Arab Emirates by being the inspirational speaker and jury member at our ITT certification programs organized at Siemens Healthineers UAE, as well as the following ITT program at New York University, Abu Dhabi. 

Prof. Faisal Hasan

 “Here at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, we’ve been involved with ITT for quite some time now and the relationship goes back to a colleague of mine who, actually visited Germany and initiated the relationship. And then from there, we have kind of taken it to the next level. I had the opportunity of participating personally along with a couple of my colleagues in two of these events. I can tell you that, I was extremely impressed by the feedback and the enthusiasm that we got to see after we spoke… Here at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, we look forward to a continued relationship and we will hopefully be able to host some ITT seminars in the future as we go forward.”

Dr. Fatih Mehmet Gul, who is the chief executive officer of the Fakeeh University Hospital and is one of the key opinion leaders in the region. 

eITT 2021

Dr. Fatih Mehmet Gul

“It's a great pleasure for us to work together. As Fakee,h we’re the oldest health care company in the region and we are glad to have a new investment here in Dubai. This is the largest private hospital and definitely, it's a pleasure for us having this collaboration with Professor Sultan and with this Siemens Healthineers. So it will be a great pleasure. We look forward to having great initiatives together. Thank you very much.”

The event was joined transnational moderated by our ITT Coordinators Ms. Theresa Phan (ITT US) and Ms. Yagmur Efe (ITT TUR). Ms. Phan completed the presentations with a summary of updates from the ITT programs in Egypt, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Georgia Tech, Technical University of Munich, India, China and Fakeeh University Hospital
eITT 2021

Ms Theresa Phan
Ms. Yagmur Efe

“I would like to give a summary of updates from various locations around the world. Activities like joint certification programs with joint doctoral researchers are done with prestigious universities like Georgia Tech, Technical University of Munich and the University of Magdeburg. Several of these project outcomes have been entered into development phase to develop into prototypes and solutions scenarios.”