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Building an eye care innovation hub: How with a little luck and a lot of focus Kaleidoscope became a top development partner in this thriving segment

Over the last thirty years, Kaleidoscope Innovation has evolved from a consumer products design consultancy to a full-spectrum product development firm primarily serving the medical device industry. Eye care now comprises over 30 percent of all Kaleidoscope projects. This is the story of how we came to build and maintain this core competency.

Laying the Foundation. Kaleidoscope Innovation got their start creating solutions for the consumer industry, and over the years, contributed to the design of iconic products such as the Swiffer® WetJet™ and Xbox One® Controller. In the early 2000s, Kaleidoscope made a strategic shift to also partner with medical device clients, putting the building blocks in place (i.e. a certified quality system, labs and medical device professionals) to support development in this highly complex and regulated industry.

Right time. Right place. Six years ago, Kaleidoscope took on their first eye care client. Through this strategic partnership and the understanding of exciting new shifts within ophthalmology, Kaleidoscope was able to dig in and co-learn with our new business partner.  We innovated across microsurgery and drug delivery in ways we never thought possible.

If you build it, they will come. Through that first engagement, we learned that ophthalmic innovation required specialized resources, so we built a wet lab that allows us to quickly test our prototypes and revise them on an accelerated timeline. In addition, we established a dedicated eye care team of cross-functional experts who could hit the ground running for future projects. Further, we hired specialists in areas of increasing importance for eye care (i.e. human factors engineers and UI/UX designers) to address the blurring lines between (1) devices and pharmaceuticals and (2) care delivery settings, particularly in patients’ homes.

Focusing on trends. Eye care innovation is a moving target. Keeping a pulse on rising user needs, changing regulations and new technologies is critical to delivering not just marketable, but also makeable and measurable eye care solutions. Therefore, in addition to consulting with key opinion leaders, we have clinicians on staff. We also recruited a human factors director whose experience includes navigating the FDA through many product launches at a leading drug delivery company. We continue our learning through building our portfolio of eye care projects and by attending key conferences such as the upcoming American Academy of Ophthalmology’s (AAO) annual meeting in San Francisco.

Are you also attending AAO?  Let’s meet up!

Ben Ko

Ben Ko
Engineering Manager & Ophthalmology Team Lead

Matt Suits

Matt Suits
Business Development Manager

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