The 2019 ASCRS Charles D. Kelman, MD, Innovator’s Lecture was delivered Monday at the ASCRS-ASOA annual meeting, being held May 3-7 at the Convention Center in San Diego, CA, by Ron M. Kurtz, MD, who spoke about “Collaborative Innovation.”
In her introduction of Dr. Kurtz, Ann Kelman described him as a “true entrepreneur and collaborator extraordinaire.”
A retina specialist by training, Dr. Kurtz is perhaps best known for his innovative work with femtosecond lasers. Taking a hiatus from that field four years ago, Dr. Kurtz became involved with the development of adjustable IOL technology and is now the president and CEO of RxSight that markets the Light Adjustable Lens.
In his lecture, Dr. Kurtz used his personal observations and experiences developing these ophthalmic tools over the last 25 years to outline the innovative process, the power of collaboration, and the impact of collaborative innovation for improving the lives of ophthalmic surgeons and their patients.
Basic definitions and descriptions
Dr. Kurtz began by distinguishing between invention and innovation.
“Invention is a new product or process. Innovation is the application of the invention to address a need and create value,” he said.
Explaining the importance of collaboration, he said that innovation starts with an invention, but improving the product’s performance requires further development that is generally accomplished through the work of a multidisciplinary team. Through the efforts of the collaborators, the innovation is eventually commercialized where it can benefit from marketplace innovation.
“Marketplace innovation occurs as different groups with different needs and requirements make changes to the technology in order to make it useful for their practices and patients,” said Dr. Kurtz.
“That process needs to be accounted for and is accounted for in our regulatory system and in the whole product development process.”
In addition, Dr. Kurtz said there can be collaborative innovation between technologies in which a particular technology reaches a certain level of use, but additional technology enables its further clinical adoption. He referred to phacoemulsification as a good example of collaborative innovation.
“The adoption of phacoemulsification was definitely helped by the development of viscoelastics and folding IOLs,” Dr. Kurtz said.