Fogarty Innovation’s Educational Programs Thrive

by | Nov 22, 2022 | Education

Education is one of the core pillars of Fogarty Innovation. It is foundational to us as a nonprofit, and an essential tool in our efforts to elevate the medtech ecosystem. Our external-facing educational offerings range from presentations designed specifically for the innovation community, to our monthly newsletter and the Medtech Trailblazers pod and videocast series, which are meant to engage a broader audience and help increase understanding and interest in improving healthcare through medical device innovation. 

During COVID, we continued delivering educational programs for innovators via Zoom. However, with the relaxation of restrictions we have been thrilled to return to in-person events. Going forward, we are planning a cadence of roughly two educational events each month. Most of these offerings will be short format “Lunch & Learns,” which feature one to three speakers and combine a live presentation with an informal lunch and a chance to network and catch up. We will also host quarterly workshops on core topics like commercialization, leadership, and fundraising. These workshops are typically half-day programs featuring multiple panels and speakers. 

While we will continue to make Zoom links available for our geographically remote learners, out of respect for our speakers and with the goal of helping people connect, our emphasis in these events will be to have people attend in person.  

Below are summaries of two recent Lunch & Learn presentations. To learn more about our educational programming, please visit our website and/or email us to inquire about access.

Drew Hirshfeld shares insights on patent applications

As the former director of the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO), and current principal at Schwegman Lundberg & Woessner, Drew Hirshfeld has a wealth of patent and litigation experience. In 2021 he was named one of Managing IP’s Top 50 Most Influential People. Drew joined Fogarty Innovation’s Lunch & Learn program to share insights around the patent process for aspiring innovators. 

As a 27-year employee of the USPTO, Drew has an insider’s take on what examiners are looking for when sorting through hundreds of thousands of applications. For starters, he advised innovators to be physically present and meet with examiners whenever possible. They are often inclined to share information in person that they might not feel comfortable putting in writing. He noted that the USPTO offers many free resources and suggested that innovators take advantage of these to learn as much as possible on their own. Because, in his experience, any valuable innovation is going to encounter litigation at some point, he advised innovators to consider hiring an attorney early in the process. Finally, considering that 90% of patent applications are rejected the first time, Drew encouraged innovators to be ready for some back and forth and understand that rejection is part of the process. 

During the talk he touched on three key lessons he’s learned throughout his career that continue to guide his personal philosophy today: avoid being overwhelmed by focusing on one thing at a time, don’t be afraid to fail, and above all, persevere.

Karen Drexler discusses how to create a powerful presentation

Karen Drexler is an independent director for public and private medtech companies including ResMed, Outset Medical, Tivic Health, EBR Systems, VIDA Diagnostics, Bone Health Technologies, and Huma.AI. She brings technical and engineering capabilities, coupled with business vision and entrepreneurial experience, to her roles in the executive suite, the board room and beyond. Karen joined Fogarty Innovation’s Lunch & Learn program to discuss the art of visual storytelling as it relates to presenting. 

Whether presenting to a new client, an internal team, or a potential investor, there can be a lot riding on any presentation. Karen said the most important thing to consider is your connection with the audience. The presenter is who they’re ultimately investing in, and establishing a personal connection is often more important than the content of the slides. Creating commonality, making eye contact, and using body language, humor and emotion are all key to making that connection. It’s important to figure out what will appeal to audience members’ hearts, not just their minds, so that you can reach them on an emotional level.

Karen cautioned against incorporating too much data into any presentation. Asking the audience to process complex information takes their focus away from the presenter. Visual appeal is more important and can be accomplished by drawing attention to key points using color, spatial relationships, and even placement on the slides. Karen said it’s important to keep in mind that long-term memory relies on patterns, so presenting information in lists and groups of three, as well as leveraging metaphors and comparisons, can all help the audience successfully digest and retain information. 

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