Bridging a gap between business schools and health tech and life sciences


Sep 18 2018

SPARK Finland, SPARK Global, Teemu Heinonen, Waltteri Sorvisto, health tech, life science, report, industry, business schools

During the summer 2018 SPARK Finland conducted a review on the discussions and ecosystems of Finnish health tech and life science development and how it is associated with business schools. Project was executed by two of our trainees, business school students Teemu Heinonen and Waltteri Sorvisto, in collaboration with SPARK Finland managers.

The background for this project was that a common interpretation of the health tech and life science development ecosystems is a triangle between university/ medical school(s), hospital(s) and the industry. It seemed that, taken as granted, the industry is the one that brings business competencies to the arena – also for our development projects.

But the real world examples pointed us another reality.

When we reviewed project teams in our Finnish SPARK program and projects outside our program, the reality appeared to be that the biggest missing piece in health tech and life science development is competent and business oriented people in project teams.

When we started to clarify and discuss what is the situation in our European and global SPARK network, the problem appeared to be strikingly common. It appeared that there is a chronic mismatch between the need and provision of competent business people with understanding and experience in this industry. The challenge appeared to be global.

It became also evident that the industry cannot and does not participate in our projects so actively that they could bring desperately needed competencies inside to our projects.

When thinking about solutions for this mismatch the most important questions started to emerge, not towards contribution of industry, but towards both the culture of health tech and life science development, and the offering and activities of the business schools.

We started to think more and more about where are the business schools in this arena? … Are those on an outer rim, or even outside of the whole picture?

The target for this review was not to make a detailed list of challenges and solutions that could be taken as a recipe to be executed. Contrary we wanted to understand the overall situation and help identifying what type of activities both in the health tech and life science development and business schools could bridge the existing gap. Local solutions are always dependent of so many aspects that we didn’t want to go into that level.

In August 15 2018 project report was ready and since then it has been validated in different arenas and discussions. What has become evident is that challenge seem to be global. Unfortunately, in too many cities, countries and regions business schools seem to be mostly out of the picture and either side – health tech and life science developers and business schools – has done very little or nothing to fix the situation.

But the good news is that several institutions and governments seem to be willing to make the change. That is why we wanted to make this report publicly available for boosting the discussions how to overcome these obstacles. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to send us feedback.

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