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Gary Crocker Honored at 2019-20 Bench to Bedside Launch

September 19, 2019 in Life Sciences Events by Denise Bell

On Monday, September 16, 2019 the University of Utah Center for Medical Innovation kicked off its 10th Annual Bench to Bedside competition.  The Bench to Bedside program introduces students to the fascinating world of medical technology innovation.  The program has continued to grow in both scale an impact with more than 65 teams moving forward to commercialize their innovative products.  The competition culminates in April 2020 with an event displaying the various innovations and recognizing the top innovations in an award ceremony.

At this year’s kick-off, serial entrepreneur and philanthropist, Gary Crocker, was honored with the Distinguished Community Leader Award for his support of the Bench to Bedside program and his example of innovative entrepreneurship.  He gave the keynote address at the event in which he provided his “ten commandments” of entrepreneurship.  Here, in summary form are the ten commandments he presented.

  1. Must have a sense of urgency and passion in what you do.  Entrepreneurs are not managers of the status quo.  They create new realities and are unafraid to face the problems that are sure to come and creatively resolve them.
  2. Do not allow your organization to become politicized.  Entrepreneurs are not corporate politicians.  Keep ego’s in check.
  3. Define your focus and stay disciplined in pursuit of it.  Focus your efforts tightly, early and continuously.  Allowing your focus to wander or expand risks failing to achieve the primary objective.
  4. Collaborate early with key opinion leaders in your area of focus.  Such leaders can provide valuable feedback that will not only guide development but help avoid pursuing dead-end paths.  Need to know early if you have a technology in search of a market or a marketable technology.
  5. Do not gamble the entire enterprise on a single decision.  Structure decisions so that one decision gone bad does not cause failure for the entire operation.  Identify alternatives.  Good entrepreneurs are educated risk takers.
  6. Develop a culture that tolerates and even encourages creative failure.  Don’t penalize failure that was well thought out.  Create an environment where creativity can flourish without fear of criticism.
  7. Empower employees.  Don’t be a micromanager.  Instill a uniform sense of strategic direction then allow employees to function within those established guardrails.  Hire good people and trust them.
  8. Moderate your greed.  Greed has disabled many good products and programs.  Push equity to the lowest level possible.  Even a little equity participation goes a long way.  And recognize that providers of capital must also be successful.  As funding increases, so does dilution.  Get used to it.
  9. Continually reinforce mission and strategy.  Over time with growth there can be message drift.  New employees do not fully understand or embrace the original strategy and mission.  Management must continually reinforce the mission and strategy to avoid drift.
  10. Be very humble.  Really successful entrepreneurs are those who assess the risks and prudently evaluate their environment recognizing they are not always in control.  Very few adequately evaluate the competitive matrix into which they have inserted themselves.  Reality is very complicated so be humble as you don’t know it all.

Dr. John Langell, Executive Director of the Center for Medical Innovation, was also recognized for his work as the founder of the Center for Medical Innovation and the Bench to Bedside program which have contributed greatly to the environment of medical innovation that exists at the University of Utah.  Dr. Langell will be leaving the end of the month to assume his duties as the new President of Northeast Ohio Medical University.  He was praised for the contributions he has made to the University and assured that his legacy will live on indefinitely through the Bench to Bedside program and the Center for Medical Innovation.