The Future of MedTech Connected Devices: Setting the Organization Up for Success

Leadership StrategiesTechnology and InnovationIndustry TrendsDigital TransformationHealthcareDevelopment and Transition
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Stacy Braun
April 22, 2024
6 min read
Leadership StrategiesTechnology and InnovationIndustry TrendsDigital TransformationHealthcareDevelopment and Transition
Executive Summary
We sat down with Jim Hollingshead, CEO of Insulet, to discuss implications of the evolving connected devices landscape for MedTech leaders.



Technology is rippling through industries and forcing companies to operate differently”

Jim Hollingshead

 Jim Hollingshead

CEO of Insulet


MedTech organizations are orienting towards connected devices, and their talent needs and organizational structures are evolving as a result. Russell Reynolds Associates sat down with Jim Hollingshead, Chief Executive Officer of Insulet, to discuss these organizational changes and their effects on structure, culture, and talent. Alongside Mr. Hollingshead, we created a guideline to advise MedTech leaders on how to navigate the evolving digital landscape.


The future of connected devices


We sell an end-to-end customer experience”


The healthcare industry is notorious for lagging in leveraging technology to its fullest potential. Medical device companies, in particular, face challenges due to their traditional structures and regulatory requirements, resulting in slower innovation and market adoption.

However, increasing connectivity and technological adoption can enhance patient outcomes by improving adherence and user experience (among others). The value of this contemporary approach can be characterized as the following:

  • Leveraging device data and analytics: By connecting care and collecting data usage, companies can gain valuable insights. These insights include identifying group-level usage patterns, and understanding how patients interact with their medical devices or therapies.

  • Incorporating software to provide a connected care experience: Increased technological add-ons allow patients to more seamlessly integrate products into their routines (i.e., through a connected app on their phones), allowing for an improved user experience.

  • Rapidly increasing the cycle of product development: By increasing feedback and knowledge of patients’ behavioral patterns, release cycles accelerate and are more informed, fueled by constant streams of patient data providing clinical evidence and codifying the organization’s ability to constantly innovate.


Setting up the right organizational structure


The MedTech sector has matured to the point where we are able to absorb what technology is enabling”


The right organizational structure for today’s connected device companies looks very different than those of past MedTechs. A functionally-oriented organization, which tends to work well with the traditional MedTech organizations, can become a barrier to information flow and collaboration. Instead, a structure that emphasises collaboration and teamwork across all levels will enable continued innovation, which is core to connected device companies offering an end-to-end solution.

Truly innovative companies differentiate themselves from the rest by designing for:

  • Information flow: The speed at which the competitive landscape is moving also requires rapid internal evolution. The key: removing friction in information flow. Clear guidance on specific business – rather than functional priorities (especially in a historically functional structure) – yield greater empowerment deeper in the organization.
  • Innovation: MedTech companies can take inspiration from Silicon Valley by adopting a product management approach similar to tech companies (Figure 1).
    • While upstream marketing traditionally sat in the commercial function, it’s increasingly sitting with product and customer experience functions. This enables a far more sophisticated approach to product portfolio and road mapping, enhancing customer centricity and feedback to leverage R&D capabilities and keep tabs on market sensing.
    • Splitting the innovation function into product and customer experience organizations allows for a sharper focus on customer needs. The technology organization then works iteratively on building new products, while the commercial group focuses on capturing customers and delivering revenue. Communication between the functions is essential.
  • Customer Capture: Importantly, the commercial function focuses sharply on the day-to-day customer experience, as well as how physicians hear the message. Closely connecting commercial with product, and positioning product managers as partners, rather than overseers, ensures that the commercial function is adeptly positioned to capture customers and deliver revenue.


Figure 1: Product & Customer Experience Organizational Structure

The Virtuous Talent Cycle


Enabling innovation through culture


Everybody has to take advantage of what technology can enable. To do that, you have to adapt your organization and its structure, which leads to thinking about collaboration differently”


Organizational structure and corporate culture are intrinsically linked. Contemporary connected device organizations are meant to ensure frictionless information flow and priority clarification. They are designed with three key principles in mind:

  1. An environment that fosters full transparency: The right structure enables seamless information flow and clarifies priorities, facilitating collaboration and a broader understanding of the business. 

  2. The transformative power of collaboration: A culture of collaboration encourages a fail-fast orientation and shared problem solving, leading to accelerated innovation, improved patient experiences, and better health outcomes. Augmenting the executive team with leaders who further enhance this organizational mindset drives faster transformation.

  3. The cultural shift towards a holistic mindset: Employees in connected device companies are encouraged to think beyond their functional silos and consider the impact of their work on the entire organization. This mindset fosters curiosity, empowerment, and a drive to collaborate, ultimately benefiting the customer experience.

Determining culture is key to MedTech organization’s success. A culture that breeds holistic, elevated mindsets cross-functionally creates rich connective tissue between functions. This, in turn, translates to accelerated innovation, improved patient experiences, and better health outcomes.


The MedTech Virtuous Talent Cycle


Everybody has to be in the whole business. Everybody should know what’s going on and should be working as a team with shared problem solving and full transparency to make the business run better. And the whole thing has to be orchestrated around the customer experience”


An organization with the right organizational design, culture, and processes will be better positioned to cycle and learn rapidly. This, in turn, accelerates an organization’s ability to innovate and speed up its time to market. Accordingly, outcomes and patient experience improve. All these elements, when done right, create a virtuous talent cycle (Figure 2).

The three principles of an effective talent cycle are:

  1. Organizational design and culture: A well-designed organization with the right culture, routines, and processes can facilitate rapid cycling and learning, leading to improved innovation, time to market, and outcomes for both the organization and its customers.

  2. Customer-focused mindset: Shifting from functional silos to a holistic view of the organization allows for reduced information friction and increased focus on the customer experience. This streamlining creates energy, builds momentum, and engages employees who better understand the business's goals and their role in achieving them.

  3. Agility and continuous improvement: With increased agility and rapid learning from pain points, organizations can establish a rhythm of continuous improvement.

The virtuous talent cycle has the power to create a more streamlined product development process, as well as a more invested and engaged team. It becomes a continuous improvement cycle.


Figure 2. The Virtuous Talent Cycle

Product & Customer Experience Organizational Structure


Is your organization ready for the shift to connected devices? Key questions to find out.

The next generation of connected device companies must embrace a contemporary organizational design that creates rich connective tissue across teams to promote collaboration.

As the role of connected devices in healthcare continues to expand, MedTech leaders can use the following questions to reflect on the status of their own organizations and identify areas of development.

  • How does your organization’s current organizational structure promote customer centricity and speed to innovation?
  • How does your executive team create a culture of collaboration and empowerment? How do you provide your employees with the tools to be culture carriers?
  • Do you have a development strategy in place that fuels learning agility?
  • How do you go about determining the strengths of your organization’s culture? Its weaknesses? And how do you build on both?
  • What mechanisms does your organization have in place to learn from its pain points?




Stacy Braun is a senior member of Russell Reynolds Associates’ Medical Devices, Tools and Diagnostics practice. She is based in New York.
Victoria Fibig is a member of Russell Reynolds Associates’ Healthcare knowledge management team. She is based in New York.
Sarah Flören leads Russell Reynolds Associates’ Healthcare knowledge management team. She is based in Amsterdam.

We would like to thank Jim Hollingshead, Angela Wiczek and Insulet for their valuable insights and collaboration on this important leadership topic.