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Systematic Innovation for Life Science

Karolinska Institutet via edX

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How can we improve the innovation process without sacrificing creativity? For most people and organizations, the actual problem solving phase is still very much a random process usually consisting of brain storming, trial-and-error and guesswork. Using structured and systematic innovation methodology allows for solving difficult problems in a shorter amount of time and with better results. Systematic innovation is a cornerstone for innovation strategies in some large multinational companies.

The Theory of Inventive Problem Solving (TRIZ) has gained a reputation for systematic problem analysis, problem-solving and system forecasting. TRIZ was developed in Russia based on decades of research. However, TRIZ is considered to be underutilized and not very well known internationally, especially within the life science sector.

The course targets students, professionals and citizens with interest in innovation and entrepreneurship. Innovation essentials in the life science sector context will be presented, as well as TRIZ methods and principles. The aim of this course is to learn when, and how, to use all the tools in the “tool box”. Case studies will be shared, reviewed and discussed.

Participants who complete and pass the course will be able to use structured and systematic innovation methodology in their projects. Many may be highly motivated to continue developing their skills in additional courses to gain deeper knowledge and potentially gain certification.

This course is offered in collaboration with RISE, Oxford AHSN and EIT Health.


Week 1 - Course welcome and introduction

  • What is Innovation?
    • The history of innovation and the need to innovate
    • Innovation vs R&D and inventions
  • Innovation in Life Science
    • Characteristics compared to other technological and scientific areas

Week 2 - Tools for innovation

  • Design Thinking
  • Ideation
  • Open Innovation
  • Innovation Contests
Week 3 TRIZ: Structured and Systematic Innovation
  • Introduction to TRIZ and Inventive problem solving
  • The five levels of Innovation
  • Problem description
  • Ideal final result

Week 4 TRIZ: Structured and Systematic Innovation

  • Thinking in time and scale
  • Resolving contradictions
  • How to apply solution principles
  • Applying TRIZ thinking to real world problems

Week 5 Rules and Regulations

  • Implementation and differences in legislation
  • Regional differences within EU

Week 6 Summary & Conclusions

Taught by

Peter Sandberg and Jan-Olov Höög


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