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My Innovation Growth Story

HATCH Practitioner-led Innovation Program Participant


Rob Walker

PhD, Associate Medical Advisor, Neuroscience

Novartis Pharmaceuticals


My name is Rob Walker, Medical Advisor for Neuroscience at Novartis Australia. Almost two years ago, the Neuroscience team decided to dramatically challenge the way that we engage with our Healthcare community, particularly in the area of delivering medical education in

innovative and immersive ways.


We asked HATCH to help us deliver a unique and innovative medical education symposium to our Multiple Sclerosis (MS) experts by May 2018, which would (i) showcase important innovative projects/programs in MS and (ii) utilise innovative

and immersive technologies to deliver the education on MS itself. Not only did HATCH transform our symposium into MS INNOVATIONS – Partnering for Patients, and help us deliver this highly ambitious event to our Australian MS experts (an achievement which showcased their tight project management abilities) but they helped to transform our own innovative approach and mindset.


Back in 2017, my own attitude to innovation and to new and emerging

technologies was one of apathy, particularly given my own risk-averse mentality. In this way, I was not too dissimilar to the collective mindset of many of my colleagues. However, working with HATCH helped me see the value of creativity in problem-solving scenarios and enhanced my own ability to explore, generate and launch innovative tools and initiatives to our medical experts. HATCH did this by taking the time to develop my own creative processes by familiarising me with new, immersive technologies and by helping me uncover and connect with existing examples of innovation in healthcare (which were showcased at MS Innovations 2018).


In parallel with developing and delivering a new brand and reimagined format for MS Innovations, HATCH also helped me to develop a completely new Augmented Reality educational tool for understanding MS - Inside MS. With their assistance, I was able to develop a novel working partnership with a key local MS institution (Sydney Neuroimaging Analysis Centre or SNAC) to develop Inside MS, a process which benefited greatly from HATCH’s expertise in managing the iterative process of innovation (i.e. conceptualisation, prototyping, feedback, iteration, etc.). Not only has Inside MS proven an amazing resource for providing MS education to neurologists, medical students and even patients, but the collaborative process that Hatch helped foster between myself and SNAC has helped expand the existing partnership beyond the standard scope observed between Pharmaceutical companies and medical experts.


In the past 18 months, my aptitude for embracing new innovative technologies and strategies has increased beyond recognition. This has been mirrored by my own strong advocacy for the role of innovation in medical education and this has helped me generate similar enthusiasm with external parties (e.g. neurologists) whose mindsets can be somewhat similar to mine before I worked with HATCH. As we continue to move forward in a healthcare space that is increasingly embracing new technologies, we are now in a better position to play an active role in this technological evolution rather than simply being a passive bystander.



Learning how to prototype ideas




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