By Greg Steuer
The brainstorming process was very interesting because we started with a big idea of what we wanted to do and then slowly refined our idea until we knew what our product was going to do. Our product changed several times during this stage because we slowly realized that some ideas were not possible based on our current technical knowledge or people would not accept the idea because of how new the product would have been.
Prototyping our product was fairly easy because we had to think about what vital signs would be useful to a nurse or doctor that isn’t currently in the same room as a patient. We refined our prototype by looking at networked machines that are currently in hospitals and tried to make them simpler and less expensive than current networked machines.
The pitch development was the hardest part of the grand challenge because we had to explain to a group of entrepreneurs that our product was worth investing in. We did fairly well explaining how our product worked, but we were unable to come up with a reason why a hospital would want to buy our product. Our product was useful because it saved the hospital money when they wanted to network machines but we did not have another way for the hospital to save money by buying our product.
By Karuna Relwani
To me, the exciting thing about entrepreneurship is that it can manifest in any shape or form, at anytime, and in any context. Anything from a plane to a relationship can be “entrepreneured” with a little ingenuity, commitment, and flexibility; it is with this spirit that many of the gaps in society can be filled. The NCIIA and Stanford's Epicenter have done a great job collaborating to create the NSF-funded National Center for Pathways to Entrepreneurship program that I have had the privilege of being a part of for the past year. Its main initiative is to connect students with the resources and knowledge to build a successful venture from a really good idea. This requires inspiring a culture of design for the purpose of delivery, which the program also helps to facilitate through its network. I have had the opportunity to meet some amazing like-minded peers at other universities who have the same goals for interfacing technology with real socioeconomic issues to create revolutionary businesses models for the globalized and progressive world. Check out Engineers for Sustainable Medical Development to see more of how I chose to get involved at Pitt as an undergraduate. The University of Pittsburgh and Swanson School of Engineering truly provide students with an environment that both teaches and facilitates community engagement, and their dedication to the ideals and capacity of our generation make for the perfect incubator to drive our innovations to impact.