AdrenaCard Pharmaceuticals is a Minneapolis-based startup developing what it touts as a small, easy-to-use epinephrine injector. As with many young medical device companies, it’s founders have had to rely on contracted talent.
AdrenaCard’s CTO Chris Kuehn had a few tips and lessons learned to share this morning at the Design of Medical Devices Conference at the University of Minnesota:
- Make sure the first contract is small. Make it a week or a month. “Do something small to learn how they operate,” Kuehn said.
- Are they willing to go above and beyond? It’s important to have consultants willing to not just work to spec but to offer extra value. “You need to make sure your consultants are comfortable going above or beyond their original scope of work”
- Overdelivery happens a lot. “If you want to remain lean, you have to watch out for that. Manage but not micromanage.”
- Provide a bigger picture. It takes extra time, but it helps to go through the reasons for each requirement, according to Kuehn. One item may be for intellectual property requirements. Another may be regulatory. “Have them understand all these.” Contractors are able to provide the best value when they know the reasoning behind the decisions.
- Check your ego at the door. “I need to give up an aura of, ‘I’m comfortable with conflict. Yes, tell me if I’m wrong,'” Kuehn said.
Joseph Hale, director of the Earl E. Bakken Medical Devices Center at the University of Minnesota, agreed that a bit of humility can truly benefit entrepreneurs. “So much more can be overcome if you’re open to criticism,” Hale said.