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Jorge Juan Fernández

Head of Academics, Moebio

Jorge is the Head of Academics at Moebio, where he leads the d·HEALTH Barcelona program. He is the Director of e-Health and Health 2.0 at Hospital Sant Joan de Déu. He has over 15 years of experience in life sciences and healthcare, with a strong focus on tech, innovation and entrepreneurship. He acts as mentor to various healthcare start-ups and entrepreneurial acceleration programs. He is a graduate from the London School of Economics and he also holds a GMP from IESE Business School and a GSP from Singularity University. He's been selected as 2014 European Young Leader 40 Under 40.

What is Design Health Barcelona?

Design Health Barcelona, or d·HEALTH as we call it, is the flagship program of Moebio, the initiative which encompasses all the talent development programs led by Biocat. d·HEALTH is a unique 8-month postgraduate fellowship based on the successful Stanford Biodesign program, where interdisciplinary teams made of four people with backgrounds in medicine, engineering, management or design, experience a full cycle of innovation: starting with need identification, they perform a 2-month clinical immersion in a major hospital before progressing toward invention and early-stage implementation. This first class of d·HEALTH had the chance to live the daily activities of Hospital Clinic, Hospital Sant Joan de Déu or Institut Guttmann. In innovation, observing is richer than just listening. Observing is listening with the eyes open and also with the eyes closed.

What was the purpose of Biocat launching a disruptive educational program such as d·HEALTH?

Our goal at Biocat was to make of entrepreneurship a viable career option in the Life Sciences and Healthcare industries. In the future, we need people to create their own jobs, not just to look for a job. Our efforts focus on turning graduates into entrepreneurs or intrapreneurs.

People are what make innovation happen. Our primary focus is on creating innovators (rather than any particular type of innovation) as a foundation for translational outcomes, providing them with education, training and mentorship to become entrepreneurs/intrapreneurs in Life Sciences and Healthcare innovation.

What are the key characteristics of the program?

To create the program, we analyzed in depth more than 100 disruptive initiatives in the field of education, in Healthcare just like in other industries. We reached the conclusion that the best way to maximize our impact in the ecosystem was to create a long program. When putting the program together, we followed the advice that everyone gave us: “only create education that you would like to attend yourselves”. We aimed to create a program with a high ROE (Return on Education): the future of education is no longer about accreditation but about the KSM (Knowledge, Skills, Mindset) that you incorporate into your toolbox.

At Biocat, we had one goal in mind: that the program became a one-in-a-lifetime experience for its Fellows; a truly unique learning experience. Our Fellows confirm us that we have accomplished this on a regular basis. As a program, d·HEALTH has 5 key characteristics:

  1. It is oriented towards solving real problems.
  2. It is an experiential learning program. You learn by doing.
  3. It is multidisciplinary. Teaching skills, not only knowledge.
  4. It is team-based. Individuals work in teams from beginning to end.
  5. It is ecosystem and network oriented.

The first characteristic is the orientation toward solving real problems.  Could you explain it a little bit further?

In education, there are two types of academic programs: those that teach you how to solve problems that are already solved and those devoted to solving problems that are still unresolved. d·HEALTH, with a patient-centric approach, falls into the second category.

In a world facing so many critical challenges, we believe it is important to have our best and brightest people putting their efforts on the problems that we haven’t solved yet. We truly believe that you only get better at things when you are being challenged. The problems that our Fellows are facing during the program are not solved yet anywhere in the world. They are truly global challenges.

The second characteristic of the program is a shift towards experiential and project-based learning. Is this the “learning by doing” approach?

The shift towards experiential learning emphasizes discovery as the core of the learning process. We already know that students work harder, better and deeper when the stakes are real and they work in real-world challenges. At d·HEALTH, we teach our startups to do, rather than to plan to do. The program provides experiential learning opportunities, focusing on real-life challenges, not outdated case studies, to give students the kind of constraints and environments that teach them to be the innovators of the future. At d·HEALTH, Fellows are given the freedom to choose their own projects.

Could you develop a bit more the third characteristic of the program, the one of multidisciplinarity and orientation towards transferring knowledge and acquiring new skills?

The great fallacy of the Information and Knowledge Society is that knowledge is what matters. It’s not true. The key assets are skills. Skills are what transform knowledge into something of value. In complex and uncertain environments, those who think better and clearly enjoy a competitive advantage over those who don’t. Nowadays, the average life of knowledge is 3-5 years. Skills last for a lifetime. d·HEALTH is not only about transferring knowledge, but also about learning new skills. What differentiates one professional from another is more than ever the skills he/she has, not only the knowledge. In the past, people were differentiated by the knowledge they had. Today, what makes professionals different is the skills set they bring. Before, knowledge was admired. Nowadays, whoever has outstanding skills is more respected than people with only knowledge.

Success doesn't depend only on being at the right place at the right time. Success depends on being ready. We work hard to create “readiness” in our Fellows. They leave the program with new knowledge and new skill set.

Why is team-based work, the fourth characteristic of the program, so important?

The Biodesign innovation process works best in teams. Teams do better than individuals when solving problems. When students are part of a team, they become much more committed to both others and the class. Fellows work in teams, mimicking real-life situations. Three teams of 4 Fellows were assigned to the core clinical area selected by their hospital for this year.

Groups bring out the best and worst in people. There is a flat hierarchy in each team, and leadership is shared. By design, the teams need to figure out how to collaborate. This poses some challenges, as well as provides some lifelong lessons. Part of their learning journey is to become a Team. Teams need to struggle along the way. You have to let people break their heads into the wall. If our Fellows don't face difficult challenges, and sometimes fail along the way, they will not build the resilience they will need throughout their lives as entrepreneurs. We consider the process of learning to work in a multidisciplinary team and navigate potential conflict during the program as one of the most valuable learning experiences for our fellowship program.

Formerly, a team used to be a group of people who worked together. Now, a team is a group of people who learn together. At d·HEALTH, Fellows are not only responsible for their own learning, but they are equally responsible for each other’s learning journey.

Does the fifth characteristic of the program mean that you will leave with an expanded network in the Life Science and Healthcare industries?

The First Law of Education is “People are more important than the program”. d·HEALTH changes the people you’re surrounded by. When the Fellows finish the program, they know the most important people in healthcare, most of them on a personal level. Their sphere of opportunities and ability to contribute back to society has expanded. As you know, many innovations can’t happen without the right connections. The more connected we are, the faster we can innovate. The collaborations created are the most important outcomes of the program. We encourage the Fellows to build as many connections as possible during the program. It is well known that “Your Network is your Net Worth”.

The admission process of the 2nd edition of d·HEALTH Barcelona has just been opened. What kind of candidate are you looking for? 

The choice of participants is paramount to the success of the d·HEALTH program. Choosing mature candidates with sufficient drive, skills and motivation to create their own future innovations and opportunities is critical for any program that wishes to measure its success through the success of its graduates. We work very hard to select the best talent out of the pool of candidates that applies. The success of the program begins with hiring the right people and this requires establishing the right criteria anchored on the right values. We are now looking for 12 candidates to become the d·HEALTH Fellows of 2014-15.

I want to encourage the right people to apply to the program, for two main reasons. First, because if you want to make a difference, there’s no better place than healthcare. The potential we have is greater that the challenges we face. Second, because we are currently experiencing the best moment in history to become entrepreneurs. Never before has the path to market been cheaper or faster. Today, groups of entrepreneurs can do what only governments and large corporations could do in the past. The distance between the impossible and possible is shrinking. Never underestimate the power of small and committed teams.

This change of approach creates a learning experience that is intense, and different. You can contact the 2013-14 Fellows. They will tell you that you will be transformed by this experience!

The admission process for d·HEALTH Barcelona edition 2014-2015 is currently open. For more information and to submit your application, please visit this website.

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