The Syapse Innovation Incubator 2022

Building on big ideas. Together.

2022/09 5 minutes read

Blog Post 2102 The Innovation Engine

Author: Dennis Cieri, VP Engineering 

The Syapse innovation mindset was on full display at our third annual Innovation Incubator, a five-day event focused on collaboration, teamwork and bringing new ideas to the forefront in our pursuit of excellence in advancing Real-World Care. 

As in prior years, our judges were left with the unenviable task of selecting 10 concepts to advance into the finals, from a larger pool of highly original and creative entries. The ideas covered a wide range of topics, from using AI to accelerate patient follow-up to creating a customer-focused and visual way to show the transformation of real-world evidence into insights.

This is the second year we’ve invited a Syapse board member to judge the final presentations. We strongly believe this helps us demonstrate our team’s commitment to thinking differently about technology, business and furthering our mission of advancing Real-World Care. 

Why the Innovation Incubator?

Innovation has always been hard-wired into our DNA at Syapse. The company was founded on it, our employees embrace it and our customers — and patients — benefit from it. 

The Innovation Incubator is a natural extension of that ethos, rooted in a core belief that anyone can think differently about a technical or business challenge, from senior executives to junior employees. It’s how we democratize the development of ideas quickly, empowering everyone to bring their unique skills and expertise to bear in asking the right questions, developing solutions and bringing them to life as tangible and meaningful solutions with real-world impact. 

The Innovation Incubator gives participants an opportunity to execute on projects that otherwise might fall by the wayside in the course of a normal business day, week or month. Over five highly intense workdays, people with diverse backgrounds and skillsets brainstorm together, develop their ideas, refine them, begin to transform that idea into a solution, and finally present to a panel of judges. 

In the process, team members who may never have known each other—much less worked together—form lasting bonds that only make Syapse stronger and more nimble as a company. 

Our Innovation Evolution

With the advent of COVID, we needed to expand on our “remote-first” model. The Innovation Incubator was another way to bring people together across time zones and skill sets, to focus on common goals and a shared sense of purpose. 

As with any other novel idea, the Incubator approach has had unintended but positive consequences for Syapse, motivating people to seek each other out for their individual expertise and knowledge. Engineering teams might work with marketing to help bring a presentation together, while data scientists collaborate with sales or product development for practical insights on bringing their ideas to fruition. 

People are closer and more respectful of each other as a result, building positive and lasting relationships rather than working in silos. 

So innovation is less an annual event than a mindset that courses throughout the company, and has become embedded in our culture. The Innovation Incubator reinforces that mindset and helps develop positive attitudes toward open collaboration and acceptance of ideas (including those that fail). 

Real-World Care. Real-World Impact. 

Now in its third year, the Innovation Incubator has become an engine for product development at Syapse, with a number of ideas emerging from the process having a tangible impact on our business—and on the lives of patients facing serious disease. 

On average, roughly half of the 10 finalists from our first three innovation events have become or are in the process of becoming actual products. Because the competition takes place over a short, five-day period, participants are compelled to work with focus and a sense of urgency. Which means in many cases, an idea can reach 70-80% of completion in an extremely short period of time, making it relatively easy for teams to realize a concept’s full potential thereafter. 

And it’s not unusual for ideas that didn’t make the final cut to come back to life in other forms to make their way into our product pipeline, which speaks to the quality of thinking inspired by the Innovation Incubator as well as the willingness of our team to continually explore and reevaluate the merits of every idea. 

Picking Up Where We Left Off

Two overarching themes emerged from last year’s Innovation Incubator—using our expertise in data accessibility and sourcing to quickly and efficiently score real-world data; and leveraging machine learning, NLP and AI to better capture the comprehensive patient journey. These core directional ideas guided our roadmap for 2022 and they continue to define our True North as we look to the future.  

This year also saw the emergence of interesting themes. Including finding innovative ways to further the possibilities and potential of automation and analytics solutions. Along with creating various processes and tools to offer real-time views into business metrics, patient cohorts, and more. 

Most impressive was that no matter the project, each team anchored back to how their innovation can advance the Syapse mission of reducing the fear and burden of serious disease.

Some might say we’re a data and evidence company but that’s not entirely correct. At our core we are a company made up of people who are passionate about innovation, and dedicated to thinking differently about how we work with each other, and leverage real-world data to help our life science and health system partners make informed, life-saving decisions. 

This year’s Innovation Incubator was a reflection of that spirit, and we extend our sincere gratitude to all who submitted ideas, joined a team and judged the competition. We look forward to seeing everyone again in 2023!