The role of customer centricity in medical device innovation : an Irish Perspective
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The objective of this study is to investigate the perspective of Irish medical device companies on customer centric innovation. There is considerable growing emphasis on innovation in the medical technology (med tech) sector as a means of securing industry growth in Ireland. This shift in business orientation is not overtly coupled with calls for increased customer focus. Innovation as a business strategy is all but futile unless it can be commercially expressed and the only means to assure this is to develop new products that meet validated customer needs - the essence of customer centricity. The research technique employed is in-depth interviewing; this was conducted among industry leaders from ten medical device companies operating in Ireland. These included five foreign direct investment companies and five indigenous companies. The research findings demonstrate a commitment to customer centric innovation practices and a general understanding of the importance of accurately defining customer needs through user-involvement in med tech innovation. This research indicates that different activities are employed by different companies in implementing customer centric innovation, but that there is room for improvement in how companies and the industry in general execute these activities. Customer centricity is accepted as a means to generating competitive advantage but it is recognised as a complex process that requires consideration for a broad range of stakeholders ranging from clinicians, payers, patients to mention a few. The most significant deficit identified in terms of customer centricity in innovation practice is the gap that exists between the clinical community and the medical technology industry in Ireland. This research concludes that customer centric innovation is perceived as an important influence in the success of medical technology innovation among Irish based companies; that it is being practised in day-to-day business activities but that improvement in this area will be necessary to sustain the industry’s overall success.
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