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Communication is a key to disruptive innovation

Ryan Amin

Innovation is often called "disruptive" in the healthcare industry, and the first step toward making that innovation successful is to get a product's targeted users to accept change. Founder of Fitzeal, Clifton Dawson, found a way to get people to use his product by focusing on a strong user support system.

"We created more of a service behind the healthcare product," said Dawson. "When innovating with a new product, especially in healthcare, you have to guide consumers and make it as easy as possible for them to use it." Helping users through the program was not a part of Dawson's original focus, but that changed after initial feedback.

Fitzeal is a mobile app that connects consumers with professional fitness trainers using two-way video sessions. Part of the healthcare accelerator Healthbox, Fitzeal's innovation requires consumers to change a daily routine. Dawson learned that focusing on accessibility would be a major factor for continued usage.

"We started small when we launched to see what kind of response we would get," Dawson said. "We started with friends and family and used the feedback to develop changes and additions…Feedback is what led to providing a stronger support system through the program. "

"When we started, we thought trainers would come, consumers would come and we wouldn't have to do much else because they would be interacting and doing it themselves," said Dawson. "What we found is that through this new communication it was equally important to have support for the users."

Dawson offered these additional insights:

Building the team - "I rely on people that are referred to me," said Dawson. "I then work with them on an interim basis to see if they are good fit, have the passion and seem like a valuable long-term asset to the company."

Entrepreneur attitude - Dawson is a former professional football player, and he learned he had a passion for the challenges of being an entrepreneur. "Be bold," he said. "Be ready to fail and always try again. You will most likely fail more than you think, but the best learning comes from trying and then failing and then trying again."

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