Martina Ehrat has been a part of The Tao of Excellence since it began 4 years ago. As its Administrative Assistant, she’s been involved at every stage of the company’s development and continues to contribute to the look and feel of its identity. Here, she talks to Henrietta Shirley about being a creative in medtech.
What do you see as the defining stages in this company’s development?
I see those as the moments where it’s a new experience for the company or we’re working on projects that seem to stand us apart from the crowd.
Last October, Jasminka [Roth, the company’s Founder and Director] gave a talk on data literacy at the MedTech & Pharma Platform (MPP) conference and we also presented our first exhibition stand at the event.
It was clear then that the focus of Jasminka’s talk was unique. The audience was very receptive, and it generated a lot of interest. We could see that this industry wants to be able to adapt and use data to improve. Yet ensuring that the conclusions they draw are accurate and reliable is a skill that’s rarely discussed and often presumed to be there.
Since then our reputation for providing data analytics and literacy programmes for medtech manufactures has grown to the level where, a year on, we’re launching a data collection and analytics platform for our customers this Autumn.
Our presentation stand at the MPP exhibition was also a defining moment. My background is in art—in fact, I run my own company working in special effects and as a make-up artist—so I am often in charge communicating the company’s identity: what we do, our values and the kind of people we are.
I wanted us to stand out and really show that good design in any context makes a real difference—it tells a story that has an effect. Our story was about giving our clients clarity and our belief in the importance of connecting to people.
I created a plinth rather than a table so that we could meet visitors at their level, and additionally found ways that people could interact with our stand and open questions for discussion. I designed information cards that people could take away, and handmade more than a hundred origami butterflies that opened to look at different subjects going on in the industry. We looked different and we embraced that.
Jasminka’s training programmes have been another key development, including a Six Sigma training programme specifically designed for medtech manufactures. We’ve integrated that mindset of learning and continuously improving into the fabric of our own company. We make sure that we learn a lot from what does and doesn’t work, and really value the connection between failure and success.
What drew you to The Tao of Excellence and sustains your interest and passion for this company?
Definitely Jasminka’s positive thinking and the way she’s very passionate and engaged with what she does, and the way I’ve been asked to translate my own creativity and skills into a myriad of forms for the company—from producing its training documents and public presentations through to client meetings and company events. Right now, I’m working on the interior design of our new offices in Schaffhausen.
The Tao of Excellence is also run very differently which has been a really interesting experience. I work with an international team and as a group we have a lot of freedom and autonomy in the way we work.
This October you’ll be returning to the MPP conference, what are you most looking forward to?
Creating this year’s exhibition! I’ll keep the design under wraps for the time being, but I am thinking a lot about the people we will meet, the other keynote speakers and companies that are exhibiting. I want to look for ways that we can inspire and drive collaboration.
I am also really looking forward to spending time with my team. Jasminka [pictured centre] and Deepa Rajagopalan [pictured right] will be attending the conference, and Deepa will give a talk on the ways that regulation effects innovation.
We are actually currently gathering data for that talk! If you are a medical devices manufacturer do take part in our 5-minute, anonymous survey. With the EU’s new MDR going live in May 2020, this is a vital subject for the medtech community to discuss and collaborate on.
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