Your Own Spitfire Ventilator Hackorona

The coronavirus war effort applied to industry sought to triple the UK’s sub ten thousand stock of ventilators.

The British World War Two spirit was duly evoked. Particularly around the Spitfire plane.

As I blog, delivery appears to have begun of a modified existing ventilator. A consortium of nationwide production lines re-fashioned to produce at speed. With official go-ahead for another given 16 April.

The past handful of weeks have seen reports of a great deal of brainpower focused on this.

Whilst the media seems mostly only bothered with the failures, time frame knock-ons and false starts, the twin fronts of ramping up a current product and looking for new ones seems a potential winner.

The innovation impact could well be both priceless and life-saving.

Sadly, as can be mirrored in our solution space, those taking a brand new approach have been stymied by spec creep. Most notably a pair of globally disruptive vacuum cleaner makers. Both Gtech and Dyson have proudly trumpeted their brand new developments. With all its attendant new production facilities and product enhancements. Only to see regulators changing their goalposts, thwarting approval, despite doctor satisfaction (and who knows, maybe we are all wrong about theses “deathtraps“). Whilst this may well ultimately prove medically prudent, you can’t help thinking – as with most things involving Public Health England administration – mis-steps are being tragically made by the Technical Design Authority, which includes a panel of clinicians.

I note with interest the elements one framed the project by;

functionality – controls – innovation (spring) – components (23) – production (100pd)

Interesting if you get input on your next upcoming shiny offering. Knowing what would be created anew (a spring) and the extra ‘value’ it unleashes, and seeking to rationalise the components required both readily transferable to our spheres.

It seems across the world sprouts innumerous local innovation. Chiefly, enabling in certain circumstances, a single ventilator to be shared by more than one patient. Incredibly, including doubling capacity with pretty much a simple piece of plastic;

Then there’s the separate approach taken so successfully by a partnership of London Uni engineers and the English-based World Champion F1 racing team, Mercedes.

As the instagram post up top shows, they went for a less-complicated, perhaps even less sexy, project. Yet one equally important.  There’s a stage before expensive, sophisticated ventilators are required. Cleverly, they redesigned pre-ventilator bellows. Or in the jargon, a CPAP device.

I myself way back in the last century had a most productive retreat once for new (BI software) functionality. So much so I’ve replicated as often as possible elsewhere since. At that time the heads of sales/marketing, delivery and production locked ourselves away and developed plans from immediate impact quick hit tweaks all the way through to strategic directionals.

It was highly productive. In all sorts of ways.

For many years now, ‘hackathons’ have been a popular pursuit of techies. Often aimed at solving a knotty problem in as short a time as over a weekend. And usually somewhere outside work offices. With explicitly innovative answers.

Can you too get input into a new product? Maybe this lockdown period is just the chance to do so. Making tomorrow a better place.

Can you suggest and run your own hackorona?

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