An MD&DI September 1997 Column
An awards program exclusive to the device industry can serve to increase the visibility not only of the winning companies, but also of the industry as a whole.
If you've been part of the medical device industry for very long, you've probably noticed the absence of an awards program dedicated to medical products. While several distinguished programs recognize medical applications, they do so by categories within horizontal industries or disciplines, such as packaging or industrial design.
This shortcoming had been the topic of much discussion among the staff of MD&DI and its publisher, Canon Communications, for several years, but our conversations had never quite resulted in a plan for starting an awards program. Last June, however, at the Medical Design & Manufacturing East show in New York, the concept became a reality.
During that event, Canon staff, together with staff and members of the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA), convened an informal brainstorming session. Attended by representatives of medical device companies and medical industry suppliers, the meeting focused on developing the criteria for a successful program. The meeting also verified our perception that the awards are needed, and that the potential benefits are considerable. Participants agreed that the awards can serve to increase the visibility not only of the winning companies, but also of the industry as a whole.
The result of that meeting was the Medical Design Excellence Awards, which are covered on page 21 in this issue's news section. The awards are endorsed and administered by IDSA, which will also oversee the judging of submissions. If you're familiar with IDSA's Industrial Design Excellence Awards, featured each spring in an issue of Business Week magazine, you'll know that the administration of the new awards could not be in better hands.
The Medical Design Excellence Awards will recognize design and engineering excellence in two broad categories. One is finished medical devices; that is, any product regulated as a medical device by FDA and currently available on the U.S. market. The other is components and materials intended for incorporation into a finished medical device.
I encourage you to review the advertisement and entry form for the awards program on page 131 of this issue. Submitting an entry is simple--just complete the entry form, include a slide and other visual aids, and explain how the product advances the state of the art, offers functional improvement, or contributes to cost-effective manufacture or patient care.
The deadline for submissions is January 26, 1998. First-round winners will be notified in March and invited to an awards dinner celebration in New York in June, to coincide with the Medical Design & Manufacturing East 98 Conference and Exposition. At the dinner, the grand winners will be announced.
Even if you don't intend to submit an entry, you'll want to stay informed of key events in the program, and MD&DI will help you do so. In addition to other, ongoing coverage, we'll be showcasing the first-round selections in the May 1998 issue and the grand winners in the following July issue. Profiles of the awards jurors--a select group of technical professionals from medical device and supplier companies--will appear in earlier issues of the magazine.
As the first of an annual event, the 1998 awards will no doubt evolve in the coming years into something still more significant. Whether you are a participant or an observer, your comments and ideas will be part of the process. Since there's no time like the present--whether to submit your entry or offer suggestions--I urge you to contact me by E-mail or call Canon Communications' awards director Amy Allen at 310/392-5509. If you have questions about awards administration, you may also call the IDSA at 703/759-0100.