"I have been technology-centric, field-agnostic," serial entrepreneur and Ocular Therapeutix president & CEO Amar Sawhney told an audience this week a the MassDevice Big 100 East 2013 conference in Waltham, Mass.
In seeking out his next medical device focus, Sawhney said that he as a "diamond-in-the-rough approach" to innovation, reading between the lines of what clinicians say they need to jump from incremental technologies to revolutionary ones.
During a panel presentation, Sawhney, who has more than 120 patents to his name and earlier this year met President Barack Obama, explained what it takes to make the leap to truly disruptive technologies:
"I’m not stuck in 1 perfect little area. I’ve jumped from neurosurgery, spine surgery, ophthalmology, radiation oncology, etc., so it’s hard to become a dee-enough expert in each one of these critical areas. So I have been technology-centric, field-agnostic.
"The way I categorize my approach is sort of a diamond-in-the-rough kind of approach. If you go to clinicians only and ask them what they need, they will give you only answers for incremental improvements, not revolutionary improvements. You have to then understand what they are trying to articulate.
"It’s like if you talked to people who only had a horse carriage and said, ‘What do you want better than a horse carriage?" They would only tell you to put maybe rubber wheels on it, or 4 horses instead of 2 horses – you’re not going to get an automobile.
"Then you have to look at seeing what technology you really have, and maybe somebody in the past has done some crazy experiments that may be on the right track but they didn’t quite get there, and from that synthesize the revolutionary product that really can come in and be a big difference."