Three health innovation experts have been recruited to coach emerging innovators at The Clinic @ Mac and The Clinic @ Joe’s. Karen Scraba and Zack Muqtadir work one on one with The Clinic @ Mac’s resident teams while Milica Vukmirovic leads the efforts at The Clinic @ Joe's.

Scraba retired from her position as the Associate Director of Global Alliances and Services from Becton Dickinson (BD) – one of the largest global medical technology companies in the world. She has previous experience mentoring teams with Innovation Factory and The Forge.

“Keeping purposeful after retirement is important to me,” said Scraba. “Coaching with The Clinic @ Mac allows me to keep intellectually stimulated by interacting with incredible teams while assisting them to bring their concepts to commercialization.”

Scraba brings a career’s worth of experience in clinical diagnostics, medical device sales, marketing and clinical education. Her skills include alliance management and partnership building between public and private health stakeholders and medical device companies.

Muqtadir is the founder of ZL Technovation – a company that leverages the power of artificial intelligence, design thinking and agility to improve patient experiences and outcomes. He received national media coverage for the GOHERE Washroom Access Program that he developed with Crohn’s and Colitis Canada. The Mayor of Calgary launched the initiative in 2015. The Government of Canada followed suit in 2018 by placing decals in Ottawa's federal buildings. 

“What’s important for me is giving back to the McMaster community,” Muqtadir said of his interest in joining The Clinic @ Mac’s coaching team. “My favourite part about working with the teams is how receptive they are, how open they are to feedback and how well they respond to change.”

Vukmirovic won the Blavatnik Fellowship for Entrepreneurship in Life Sciences from Yale University and is part of the inaugural class of fellows with the Michael G. DeGroote Health Innovation, Commercialization & Entrepreneurship (MGD Health ICE) initiative. She is also an Innovation and Commercialization Consultant at the St. Joseph’s Research Institute. She works on translational research and early-stage drug and technology commercialization projects surrounding lung diseases. 

“My biggest goal is to train fellows, researchers, and clinicians to develop a new set of skills related to entrepreneurship and commercialization of their inventions that will ultimately result in venture formation and bring new solutions to improve and save patients’ lives,” Vukmirovic said of her vision for The Clinic @ Joe’s.

The innovation coaches connect with Clinic resident teams each week to track progress, set milestones, build networks, and share wisdom from their own experiences.

"Think and see as your customer does while focusing on the tasks that get you closer to your product vision," Scraba said. “Initial voice of the end-user informs your design, and ought to continue to resonate with every decision you make along your development and commercialization journey."

Muqtadir’s advice echoes his colleague. He encourages his teams to keep sight of the customer by revisiting and redefining the problem.

“Always test the landscape by trialing and learning from the errors that come out from it,” he shared. “We tend to feel defeated when we fail. You can use [failure] to reverse engineer your motivation and better understand what the problem is. Learn from failure and keep going.”

The three new coaches join The Clinic @ DeGroote's experts in residence: Arianna Dal Cin, Goran Calic, and Alvin Chin. This team has helped DeGroote MBA candidates accelerate the commercialization process of McMaster research.