Sketches Of Progress

Richard (Rick) Mills
Ahead of the Herd

Page 1 of 4

As a general rule, the most successful man in life is the man who has the best information


Economist Joseph Schumpeter introduced innovation economics in his 1942 book Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy. Schumpeter said that industries must incessantly revolutionize the economic structure from within by innovating with better or more effective processes and products, as well as constantly improving their market distribution.


We can define, or limit the term "innovation" to a product, or process that’s original, that’s more effective, and as a new application better meets new requirements or existing market needs.


The term, disruption, describes a process whereby a smaller company with fewer resources is able to successfully challenge established incumbent businesses by, a.) displacing an established technology with a better one or b.) inventing a ground-breaking product that creates a completely new industry.  


Disruptive Innovation


In his book “The Innovator’s Dilemma” Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen coined the term ‘disruptive innovation’ to describe innovations that create new markets and value networks by discovering new categories of customers. A disruptive innovation displaces an existing market, industry, or technology and produces something new, more efficient and worthwhile.

Disruptive innovations do this in three ways:

  • By harnessing new technologies
  • By developing new business models
  • By exploiting old technologies in new ways

Michael Raynor in his book “The Innovator’s Manifesto” says all disruptive innovations stem from technological or business model advantages.


“History is replete with examples of disruptive innovation, dating back to ancient times. Examples include the compass, the printing press, currency, gunpowder...Imagine that you are Kodak, a company based largely on film, and someone develops digital imaging, or that you are a mainframe computer company like IBM or DEC, and advances in processors lead to the development of inexpensive but powerful personal computers. In our own lives, we recognize how cable or satellite TV has displaced air antennas and how cell phones have displaced landlines.” Disruptive innovation as a driver of science and medicine, J. Larry Jameson


Disruptive innovations have the potential to truly reshape the world in which we live and work.


“Disruptive innovations, like we’ve seen in other industries, can bring complex and expensive health care products and services to greater levels of affordability and accessibility.” Jerome Grossman, MD and Jason Hwang, MD, MBA, The Innovator’s Prescription


Regenerative medicine means replacing, engineering or regenerating human cells, tissues or organs with the goal being to re-establish normality for conditions that currently are beyond repair.


An example of a highly disruptive technology is regenerative medicine where living therapeutic cells placed within an implanted medical device manufacture and release required medicines into the body as needed.


For diabetes, this technology has the potential to disrupt the entire multibillion insulin and insulin pump market as the therapeutic cells can read blood sugar levels and manufacture and release all the hormones required to appropriately control blood sugar. The same can occur in other therapeutic areas such as hemophilia where Factor VIII can be produced by therapeutic cells within an implanted device rather than being infused multiple times weekly.


About Stem Cell-Derived Therapeutic cells


“Cell therapy uses living cells as treatments. Its potential to cure or transform serious medical conditions lies in the nature of cells and their ability to interact with the body at levels of complexity many orders of magnitude greater than conventional drugs.” Following Through: Realizing the Promise of Stem Cells, KPMG


Stem cells are the foundation for every organ and tissue in the body.


Ethically controlled stem cell research is leading the way for the hugely transformative and disruptive potential of regenerative medicine.


All stem cells can self-renew – clone themselves - and differentiate, meaning they can develop into more specialized cells.


Regenerative medicine teams are studying a variety of stem cells.


Embryonic stem cells


Embryonic stem cells are obtained from the inner cell mass of the blastocyst, a mainly hollow ball of cells that, in humans, forms three to five days after an egg cell is fertilized. Embryonic stem cells are pluripotent, meaning they can give rise to every cell type in the fully formed body, but not the placenta and umbilical cord.


Tissue-specific stem cells


Tissue-specific stem cells (also referred to as somatic or adult stem cells) are more specialized than embryonic stem cells. Typically, these stem cells can generate different cell types for the specific tissue or organ in which they live.


Induced pluripotent stem cells


Induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells are cells that have been engineered in the lab by converting tissue-specific (somatic/adult) cells, such as skin cells, into cells that behave like embryonic stem cells.






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