Thursday 2 October 2014

Why Conducting Research with an "n of 1" is Best

I have pivoted the purpose and scope of in order to conduct research with an 'n of 1.' The idea is that truly valuable insight into causation comes from limiting research to one subject that reflects all potential factors that might explain the dependent phenomenon in question, and then carefully studying the provenance of the phenomenon with sole reference to this particular subject. In other words, just as a medical researcher might study the pathology of a disease within one patient to understand the disease (the patient being the subject; the disease being the phenomenon), so I might study global innovation transfer within one emerging market company (the company being the subject; the global innovation transfer being the phenomenon). I wish to acknowledge Clay Christensen for this insight, who shared it in a meeting with me on September 4th, 2014.

This was a significant paradigm shift as I had originally planned to uncover and analyze as many potentially transferable healthcare innovations as possible from around the world, and then hoped to extract some real insights into which ones might be 'winners' for effectively improving healthcare through global innovation transfer. According to the advice above, it will be much more productive to carefully choose one of the companies that has successfully developed a healthcare innovation within their own emerging market, and has also made some progress in transferring the innovation globally. By making an in-depth study of how this company has navigated the conditions and constraints confronted in its journey, real insight will emerge that may help guide more global innovation transfer in the future.

But how to choose the right company among such a large array of promising candidates? Firstly, I will initially limit the bulk of posts to companies that have developed healthcare innovations by, for, and of the extremely constrained markets of India. There are other great innovation 'laboratory' markets, but India is a good place to start as they are famously developing a sizable number of healthcare innovations.

Each week, will feature one or two snapshot posts of individual innovations from its Innovations Database page, each innovation of which fits the criteria above. I will also be attending the 8th Annual Indian Medtech Summit in Delhi on December 11th and 12th, 2014, and will finalize a single Indian partner company for close study during my stay in India in January and February of 2015. will feature the research coming out of this internship as a white paper on the website.

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