Slingshot: an effort to help Mission Partners launch ideas

If you have an idea for a new invention, it can be overwhelming to think about everything that goes into forming a business around that idea. Who is going to fund it? How are you going to build a prototype? Who is going to ensure this is a product or service others want?

At OSF HealthCare, we help take the pressure off of Mission Partners working to create, grow or scale their health care concepts through the OSF Innovation Studio. Our team is focused on rapidly advancing ideas from exploration to implementation or commercialization within and outside of the Ministry.

This is done in a variety of ways, including through a submission process and Ministry wide competitions. Our latest effort, called Slingshot, invokes the well-known story of David and Goliath where a young man defeats a giant using only a sling and stone. Much like this centuries-old Biblical account, we believe all it takes is courage and a slingshot to give something as small as a stone the energy it needs to have an enormous impact.

How does Slingshot work?

Slingshot is an event for Mission Partners to pitch their ideas to subject matter experts, stakeholders and other members of the community in a matter of fifteen minutes. As part of their presentation, inventors network and share where they are in the process and what resources they need to validate their concepts.

Four teams got the chance to share their concepts with a room full of people. Melissa Larson and Rachel Lucas, both speech pathologists for pediatric rehabilitation at OSF HealthCare Saint Francis Medical Center, pitched their idea to design a special cup for children who have difficulty swallowing.

“Before the Slingshot event, the OSF Innovation Studio team helped us prepare for our presentation and were also very helpful in making us feel successful too,” said Larson. “It felt like we were on the TV show, ‘Shark Tank.’ It was a lot of fun.”

As part of the event, attendees weighed in and provided feedback and insights to those discussing their ideas. The idea is to engage more people who don’t necessarily have ideas, but want to contribute to the larger innovation process.

“This was a huge opportunity for us to present our concept to the health care community and learn different ways we can advance our project,” said Lucas. “People were very receptive to our idea and some even discussed different manufacturers that could potentially produce our product.”

The future of Slingshot

Our inaugural Slingshot event was not just an opportunity for us to connect innovators to subject matter experts. It was also an effort for Mission Partners around the Ministry and the broader community to learn more about OSF Innovation and the types of projects we support. The goal is to make this a biannual occasion, but it may take on different forms.

This is just another way we build awareness about the services the OSF Innovation Studio has to offer. We hope it attracts even more Mission Partners to submit ideas for implementation or commercialization. They are our biggest resource for great ideas that will transform health care for the patients we serve.

About Author: Dennis Slape

Dennis Slape is the Innovation Business Analyst of Transformational Innovation and Commercialization for OSF Innovation. Dennis joined OSF in 2021 and supports the OSF Innovation Studio team in moving opportunities from ideation to commercialization. Prior to joining OSF, Dennis was involved in several entrepreneurial ventures including 10 years in Paris, France where he assisted startups in the fashion and cashmere industries. Upon returning to Peoria, he became involved with the startup community and Warehouse district development. Dennis earned his MBA specializing in data science from Illinois State University and his Bachelor’s degree in Imaging Science from Rochester Institute of Technology.

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About Author: Meghan Genzel

Meghan Genzel is the Project Assistant of the OSF Innovation Studio for OSF HealthCare. In this role, she supports efforts to bring Mission Partner ideas to fruition and acts as a liaison between OSF inventors and the broader OSF Innovation Studio team. Meghan also engages with external health care organizations interested in products or services being developed at OSF. Prior to joining OSF in 2019, she worked for a startup for three years. Meghan earned her Bachelor’s degree in Communications from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

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Categories: Innovation