1. More agile integration of ideas across fields

 
Interdisciplinary research has been part of science policy for decades.  Thankfully, tangible outcomes (e.g., theranostics) are coming to commercial fruition. Yet, biomedical research and innovation requires even broader systems integration of ideas.

 

An impediment to a broader systems approach are the measures of performance not rewarding the innovative behaviors that matter the most. For instance, R&D performance management in industry tends to reward short-term, incremental results when assessing performance.  Similarly, interdisciplinary academic research does not yet appear to be commonly used as a major criteria for evaluation of faculty performance. 

 

In the next 10 years, I envision biomedical scientists and innovators being rewarded for realizing a broad systems approach to ideating and innovation.  Scientists will be expert idea integrators with a broad understanding of the context of new discoveries by exploring and connecting knowledge and research from a wide range of disciplines, which is already a notion at the heart of multidisciplinary research centers.  By understanding how one problem or discovery is part of a larger system, the researcher can in turn connect seemingly unrelated or unrealized ideas with common themes across a system or multiple fields of study.  

 

Behaviorally, biomedical researchers with high context awareness will work collaboratively not only with clinicians earlier than in the past but also with scientists in seemingly unrelated fields (e.g., health economists, behaviorists, and other customer empathizers).  Scientists and engineers with such a broad view one, two, or three degrees removed upstream and downstream from the value chain will generate breakthrough discoveries and technologies that yield new-to-world ideas and solutions efficiently and more effectively via a systems approach to foster divergently-conceived solutions and "fail fast" mentality.  Furthermore, researchers, engineers, stakeholders, and decision makers will have richer content to base decisions on because of the aforementioned high-context approach to research and development in the biomedical sciences.