Blog, News & Events

Trends in Tracking Ureteral Stents in Healthcare

The SearchLite recently completed a Market Discovery Challenge to understand the current practices adopted by healthcare institutions and clinics to track ureteral stents within patients. The goal of the study was to understand  trends in digital healthcare solutions, insurance payers and clinic directors for a digital software solution to track implants as well as identify potential commercialization partners. The scope of the study included 15 industry expert interviews and extensive secondary research, online discussion forum engagement, surveys and final report synthesis and analysis.

Based on the key findings, The SearchLite discovered that there is no organized system currently employed in the market for patients and clinicians to track retained ureteral stents. Moreover, several complications arise due to extended retained stents as a consequence of missed follow up by the patient. New software IT applications face resistance to adoption due to ergonomic limitations as well as industry inertia to new technologies.. Pilot studies are very useful to demonstrate effectiveness of a new technology. Endorsements from larger healthcare organizations also help the likelihood of  insurance companies to adopt these technologies into their insurance coverage policies.

This report is being provided as an exclusive courtesy to the industry experts who volunteered their time to speak with The SearchLite directly and offered their perspectives on emerging trends, challenges and opportunities.  We hope that you find the report useful and want to extend our thanks to all who generously donated their time and expertise.

If you have any questions or further comments on the report, we would like to hear from you.  You can leave a comment and/or direct an inquiry to:
Scott Phillips
Founder, The SearchLite
(734) 787-7509

Commercial opportunity for laser depth resolved remote sound velocity profiling and water chemistry analysis

The SearchLite recently completed a Market Discovery Challenge to understand the commercial potential of an oceanographic laser sensor being developed to aid sonar measurements with depth resolved speed of sound measurements. The instrument can be configured to make additional measurements of parameters including ocean temperature, water flow speeds, salinity, dissolved oxygen, chlorophyll biomass, dissolved organic matter classification phosphate and nitrates. The instrument is intended to be installed on a ship, buoy or possibly aircraft for capturing continuous, real time measurements. The scope of the study included 15 industry expert interviews, extensive secondary research and final report synthesis and analysis to inform a Phase II SBIR proposal.

Based on the key findings, The SearchLite discovered that there is a high demand within the Oceanographic and Water Management markets for both remote sound velocity profiling and remote water chemistry analysis. However there are several barriers to overcome to address the commercial applications within these markets.  Two of the most significant barriers are likely to be the high cost of the instrument and the qualification/acceptance of its performance. Cost is a concern since the initial instrument in low volumes may cost 10x what is currently typically paid for high end hydrographic or water measurement instruments. Performance is a concern since the technique is new and there are many variables that can affect performance.

This report is being provided as an exclusive courtesy to the industry experts who volunteered their time to speak with The SearchLite directly and offered their perspectives on emerging trends, challenges and opportunities.  We hope that you find the report useful and want to extend our thanks to all who generously donated their time and expertise.

If you have any questions or further comments on the report, we would like to hear from you.  You can leave a comment and/or direct an inquiry to:

Scott Phillips
Founder, The SearchLite
(734) 787-7509

Commercial opportunity for laser depth resolved remote sound velocity profiling and water chemistry analysis, Oceanographic

Fill the following form to download the full Key Finding document.

Trends in CO2 Monitoring for Patients on Home Ventilation

The SearchLite recently completed an investigation to understand the challenges and opportunities in the field of home-vent CO2 monitoring. The goal of the investigation was to understand the trends and the commercial viability of the home-vent CO2 monitoring technology. The scope of the investigation included 12 subject matter expert interviews, extensive secondary research, online discussion forum engagement, surveys and final report synthesis and analysis.

Based on the study, The SearchLite discovered that there is currently no home-vent CO2 monitoring solution currently available for patients. There is a market need for cost-efficient home-vent CO2 monitoring. The biggest challenges for such product to go to market are: 1) obtain reimbursement by insurance, 2) educate the caregivers at home, 3) ensure patient compliance, 4) manage and integrate data, and 5) adapt to all major home ventilators on the market. Comprehensive research, product development and clinical trials are required to overcome those challenges and fulfill the market need.

This report is being provided as an exclusive courtesy to the experts who volunteered their time to speak with The SearchLite directly and offer their perspectives on emerging trends, future challenges as well as opportunities of home-vent CO2 monitoring. We hope that you find the report useful and want to extend our thanks to all who generously donated their time and expertise.

If you have any questions or further comments on the report, we would like to hear from you. You can direct your inquiries to:

Scott Phillips
Founder, The SearchLite

Trends in CO2 Monitoring for Patients on Home Ventilation

source link Table Of Content

best buy Seroquel Industry Experts in CO2 Monitoring Devices:
12 Subject Matter Experts, including Product manager at Medtronic, VP at Philips, Strategic Director at GE Healthcare, etc.

cheapest Fincar Subject Matter Expert Interviews:
Summary of Key Takeaways

  • There is a market need for capnography in home care setting
  • Market adoption challenges
  • The existing solutions for in-home CO2 monitoring
  • Foreseeable challenges in Home-vent CO2 remote monitoring
  • Current market size
  • Current reimbursement situation
  • Buying process to purchase items such as the home-vent CO2 monitoring system (stand-alone CO2 monitoring is not reimbursable today)
  • Challenges in new medical devices marketing and sales
  • Challenges of capnography in institutional setting
  • Current situation with remote monitoring
  • Polysomnography (Sleep study) in home care market procedure

Fill the following form to download the full Key Finding document.

Market Risk – The elephant in the room

The SearchLite has now completed over 80 Market Discovery Challenges over the past 3 years.  Our startup and new venture clients have included a wide variety of organizations, entrepreneurs and topics.  What they all have in common is a need to assess the commercial viability of a new technology or solution.  Furthermore, they need to assess it quickly before they run out of time and resources.  The objective is to quickly identify if there is a need to iterate deeper or execute a bigger pivot regarding either the target customer segment or the solution.  Of course there is always the possibility that there is no product-market fit and that “the baby is ugly”.  With respect to their technology or solution, our clients hire The SearchLite to find out:

  • Who cares?
  • Why do they care?
  • How much do they care?

Market Risk – The elephant in the roomelephant-in-the-room

Studies have all shown that market risk is by far the biggest risk facing any new venture, whether it is being driven by an entrepreneurial startup team or from within an existing company. Market risk is believed to be the cause of over 80% of new startup failures. Technical risk, team risk and financial risk make up the remaining smaller share of risk.

To address market risk, The SearchLite’s Market Discovery Process integrates popular tools from key thought leaders in the lean startup movement.  These tools include the Customer Development Process from Steve Blank as well as Business Model Generation and Value Proposition Design from Alex Osterwalder.  Both are good tools individually and are even better at addressing market risk when used together.

The Business Model/Value Proposition Canvas identifies the nine most important building blocks of any new business venture. The Customer Development Process provides the methodology by which to create and validate key hypothesis across the nine building blocks.  In essence, the two tools provide a framework for applying the scientific method to validating key hypothesis, just as any researcher would do on their bench to prove out their new science.  The Oxford Dictionaries define the scientific method as “a method or procedure that has characterized natural science since the 17th century, consisting in systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses”

Addressing Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD)

One of the most common issues we have seen over three years when working with inventors, especially university researchers, is they are not able to make the mental connection and apply the same scientific approach to market risk as they would do to address technical or scientific risk, even when confronted with the evidence that market risk is the bigger risk to address.  A common challenge is that they have not developed their key “product-market fit” hypothesis.  At best, they often only have a handful of questions in mind.  Because the researcher has not been able to properly frame hypothesis in the form of decisions, there is a general cloud of what I would call “FUD” or “fear, uncertainty and doubt” hanging over the researcher/inventor and their commercialization coaches (e.g., tech transfer mentors). It is important to recognize and acknowledge the FUD, but then quickly adopt a strategy to address it.

One of The SearchLite’s early challenges on most projects is to help our startup client re-frame their ad-hoc questions in the form of structured decisions, each with the appropriate criteria and alternatives.  We find that this approach is less intimidating and more effective than forcing the client to create narrow hypothesis.  It is often too difficult to express narrow hypothesis at the beginning of Customer Discovery if the science is early stage and/or has broad market application.  

Taking a lesson from Systems Thinking

A basic tenant of systems thinking is to identify and understand the relationship between multiple decisions as well as the alternatives and criteria associated with each decision.  Failure modes in business, or even life in general, are thought to all fall within one of three buckets.  Startups and new ventures are not immune to these failure modes and, in fact, are likely more susceptible to them.

Decisions overlooked 


Decisions poorly made

startup Decisions poorly made

Decisions poorly implemented


The Biggest Decision – Product-Market Fit


Steve Blank’s Customer Development Process provides a good example of systems thinking.  The SearchLite often finds that startups and new ventures often believe that they are one to two stages ahead of where they really are with respect to the Customer Development Process.

  • They have begun building their company with creating customers.
  • They have begun customer creation without validating who their customer is.
  • They have begun validating their customer without discovering alternative customer segments to consider.

Getting these decisions properly framed and sequenced is a critical success factor to addressing market risk.  The struggle of knowing where you are in the Customer Development Process as a startup or new venture comes from not understanding how to (1) identify and frame the decisions; (2) identify the associated alternatives and criteria to properly make each decision and (3) properly sequence the decisions to address.  Thus, relative to systems thinking, many startups are often making all three errors simultaneously.  No wonder that there 80% of startup and new venture failures result from addressing market risk … “it is not easy”!

How to know when to move forward?

In the case of the Customer Development Process, startups may not understand the thresholds by which they pass from one stage to the next.  Thus, they mistakenly believe that they are further along that they really are.

  • Problem-Solution Fit – You move from Customer Discovery to Customer Validation when you have evidence that customers care about certain jobs, pains, & gains AND you have designed a value proposition that addresses those jobs, pains, & gains.
  • Product-Market Fit – You move from Customer Validation to Customer Creation when have evidence that your products and services, pain relievers, and gain creators are actually creating customer value and getting traction in the market.
  • Business Model Fit – You move from Customer Creation to Company Building when have evidence that your value proposition can be embedded in a profitable and scalable business model.

Startup Example – Med Device Solution

Now we will use a startup example to demonstrate the integration of the Customer Development Process, Business Model/Value Proposition Canvas within a  Systems Thinking Framework.

Decision Framework (Business Model Canvas):


  1. Product-Market Fit – For whom are we creating value? Who are our most important customers? What value do we deliver to the customer? Which one of our customer’s problems are we helping to solve?  What bundles of products & services are we offering to each Customer Segment?
  2. Channels – Through which Channels do our Customer Segments, want to be reached? How are we reaching them now? How are our Channels integrated? Which ones work best? Which ones are most cost-efficient? How are we integrating them with customer routines?
  3. Customer Relationships – What type of relationship does each of our Customer Segments expect us to establish and maintain with them? Which ones have we established? How costly are they? How are they integrated with the rest of our business model?
  4. Revenue Streams – For what value are our customers really willing to pay? For what do they currently pay? How are they currently paying? How would they prefer to pay? How much does each Revenue Stream contribute to overall revenues?
  5. Key Activities – What Key Activities do our Value Propositions require? Our Distribution Channels? Customer Relationships? Revenue Streams?
  6. Key Resources – What Key Resources do our Value Propositions require? Our Distribution Channels? Customer Relationships? Revenue Streams?
  7. Key Partnerships – Who are our Key Partners? Who are our key suppliers? Which Key Resources are we acquiring from partners? Which Key Activities do partners perform?
  8. Cost Structure – What are the most important costs inherent in our business model? Which Key Resources are most expensive? Which Key Activities are most expensive?

Decision #1 – “Product-Market Fit” – Customer segment alternatives

Current favorites:

  • Large private practices
  • Medical device manufacturers
  • EHR software vendors

Worth considering:

  • Large regional healthcare systems
  • Small private practices

Considered, but rejected:

  • VA health system
  • Small regional health systems

Decision #1 – “Product-Market Fit” – Decision criteria


  • Clinical workflow integration
  • Insurance reimbursement
  • HIPPA compliance

Very Important:

  • Legal liability
  • Patient data usage
  • Automated notifications


  • Intellectual property protection

We have now demonstrated an approach using existing “off the shelf” tools that, when applied properly, will help prevent the most common failure modes when addressing market risk for startups and new ventures.  The SearchLite uses systems engineering software to capture the proper decisions, their alternatives and criteria.  Capturing generalized patterns from past projects allows The SearchLite to identify value proposition and business model starting points quickly, thereby accelerating our Market Discovery Challenges for each new client.

Call to action

  • Startup Readiness Self Assessment
  • Like to know more?


FOOTNOTE:  Osterwalder, Alexander; Pigneur, Yves; Bernarda, Gregory; Smith, Alan (2015-01-23). Value Proposition Design: How to Create Products and Services Customers Want (Strategyzer) (Kindle Location 756). Wiley. Kindle Edition.

MSU Industry Skills Workshop: Are you ready to “grow”?

Graduate and postgraduate students, especially those in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), are considered to be a group of intelligent people. They work hard in the labs for years to discover new knowledge or advance science. However, when transitioning to industry, it is very common for these scholars to face a big skills gap.

The SearchLite identified five skills which graduate students should develop to improve the chances of career: Business Communication, Active Listening, Time Management, Creative Problem Solving, and Leadership.

To help graduate students bridge the gap between academic and industry, The SearchLite recently partnered with Michigan State University (MSU) to conduct an Industry Skill Development Workshop.

MSU Distinguished Professor and Entrepreneur, Ramani Narayan, Ph.D. and Omni Tech International Business Development Manager, Lee Walko provided career insights and coached the students during their workshop presentations.. Britany Affolter-Caine, Program Manager at University Research Corridor, joined the workshop as a special guest.

IMG_0873 IMG_0882

“Your research is your baby!”

Students who want to transfer from academia to industry often face a gap between their academic experience, current skill sets and career plans. However, students who want to stay in academia should develop their skills also. Alessandra Hunt, postdoctoral research associate raised this question during the workshop. Alessandra’s lab discovered a drug to kill bacteria, so the Tech Transfer Office (TTO) performed commercial assessment,since the TTO has more industry connections. She didn’t understand why the academic lab team should learn market discovery skills for themselves.

Professor Narayan answered her question based upon his own experience: ”You should not feel you don’t have connections. You should ask questions from a business perspective. That’s a part of your learning. ‘Your research is your baby’. You are in the best position to grow it. Other people may help you, because that’s their job. But your research is your own baby, nobody can replace you.”

Developing industry skills to perform market discovery is not only a process to grow your “baby,” but a valuable experience to grow yourself. The exposure to industry during market discovery gives you more sense about your research,cultivates your skills to work in industry and helps you bring back more inspiration to academia.

Hands-on Skills Workshop

The SearchLite brought a real case, Stephan Wood Products, to demonstrate market discovery. Students were divided into 5 teams. Each team had 60 minutes to complete the tasks: design the value proposition, discover alternative market segments, identify a list of subject matter experts (SMEs), create a list of questions for the SMEs, and complete an elevator pitch. After the 60 minutes, each team had 5 minutes to present and 2 minutes to answer questions.

IMG_0899 IMG_0910

IMG_0918 IMG_0921


It was a hard decision for the judges to choose the best team.


Finally, the team Sparty won the first place.

Michigan State University Industry Skills Development Workshop

Two hours might be too short to fully develop any skills, but we hope it’s enough to introduce students to new perspectives about industry career transition and their research. If you want to grow with us, The SearchLite is always here waiting for you to join us!

Online Retreat Review: Can’t Wait for Next Year!

Did you attend the Online Retreat for  The SearchLite Innovator-in-Residence Community?

I am sorry that you missed out on a lot of fun and …maybe gifts and food…but luckily, you will not miss out on the information.

Let’s see what happened…

Our attendees were divided into  three teams: Royal (Real) Black Dolphins, The Super Se7en, and The Nomads. Each team had to come up with individual themes prior to the retreat. Their themes definitely displayed some talent! Here are their posters. Some of our special guests included Evelyn, who is a business transition coach, and Martha who stayed up in her PJs,  just to attend our retreat!

Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 2.52.25 PM

Guess who won the best poster?

Scott helped everyone review the Innovators-in-Residence Program.

Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 2.57.04 PM

and MJ explained the rules of the new Reward Points System. You may read the information on our IIR Info page (p/w: TSLIIR).

Then, Scott continued on to announce The SearchLite’s new business model with three new focus areas : Connected Factories, Connected Cars, and Connected Health. The first report of Connected Factories industry will be released on July 27. Keep an eye out for it! For the new business model we will have more traditional titles such as Project Leader and Research Analyst. These will also be paid positions. More details are to come once the system goes into effect.

Meanwhile, if you are interested in or have backgrounds related to the three topics, let us know. This might be another exciting opportunity for you!!

In the Lucky Wheel session, the Super Se7en, who won the best poster, was not so lucky as the  Royal (Real) Black Dolphins and The Nomads caught up.

Games were next on the agenda and the determining factor of the winners came down to  Jeopardy!. The categories included IIR Program, Value Proposition Design, The Searchlite and Other Trivia.The online IIRs and the IIRs in office showed great team effort. Yan Chang and Gautam answered questions for the Royal black Dolphins, Martha and Tao took the lead for The Super Seven team and Jayshree and Peng from The Nomads didn’t back down! Super Se7en bravely chose several of the hardest questions and answered them correctly, which made them the champions of the Online Retreat.

Online Retreat 2016-Best Team.001

And the moment we’ve all been waiting for, the Awards portion of the retreat capped off the event. Drum roll please… Marta won the “Christopher Columbus Award” for her excellent performance as an IIR for a year and half all the way in Portugal and she referred two IIRs, Juliana and Telmo.

Yan Dong won the “Jane Goodall Award” for his  splendid work in the field research for the  HALO project.

And Tao Wen won the “Dog The Bounty Hunter Award” for landing the most interviews amongst all IIRs.

Although only a few names were recognized we truly would like to thank you for all of your hard work! We hope you gained a valuable experience from your experience as an IIR. .

Thanks to everyone who joined the Online Retreat. You should have received a Starbucks Gift Card in your inbox.

We would like to thank all of the IIRs who have collaboratively worked in the projects to achieve outstanding works, especially the new members who have brought a great level of enthusiasm and the old heads who provide the ‘wisdom’!

So, all that is left to say is, thanks to everyone who made this another incredible year in The SearchLite history. The Innovators-in-Residence Community is an amazing family. Let’s be thankful that we are all part of it. And be sure to remember we will have another retreat next year. Mark your calendars in advance!


(Edited by Prianca, Hui and Christy)

University of Michigan Mechanical Engineering Career Development Event: “Mechanical Engineers Need Soft Skills also”

June 20, 2016 is a date to remember in the history of The SerachLite’s Innovator-in-Residence Program, because it is the first time that we held an event at the Department of Mechanical Engineering in our own backyard at the University of Michigan.
About 15 Mechanical Engineer PhD students attended the event. Four outstanding alumni, Katherine Avery, Laura Wojcik, Michelle Callaway, and Szabolcs Sovenyi, joined the discussion  as well.

UMMU Event

Professor Katsuo Kurabayashi kicked off the event by showing many successful alumni, who transitioned from academia to industry. The SearchLite Innovator-in-Residence Program is a great opportunity for graduate students to have a taste of industry by participating in hands-on real projects.

UM ME Career Dev.001

Scott Phillips, CEO of The SearchLite, challenged the students regarding their current understanding of the industries which align with their areas of research.. He then explained   what The SearchLite is, who The SearchLite’s clients are, and the methodology The SearchLite uses to conduct Customer Discovery. Lastly, Scott used three real cases as examples to demonstrate the work at The SearchLite.

UMME Event

During the final open discussion, a student said he just wanted to be an engineer, and wondered if the business skills would be useful? Both Michelle (General Motors) and Katherine (Ford) responded quickly and stated that if you work for a company you have to deal with a lot of things besides engineering, so the soft skills are extremely useful.
When in a company or an industry, it is easy to overestimate the importance of one’s product or service. That is why they hire companies like The SearchLite, to provide different perspectives. When we are students, it easy to underestimate the importance of soft skills that are not clearly aligned with our majors, but those are the skills that will  make you stand out. As the alumni all said, “Mechanical Engineers Need Soft Skills too”.

May, 2016 Newsletter


The SearchLite

The Community Monthly Newsletter, May. ’16

Did you know that the first permanent English Settlement in Jamestown, VA was established in May? Although The SearchLite is not founding countries, check out how we are expanding our TSL community in this month’s newsletter!

Interested in who’s already a part of the IIR CommunityCheck out our members!

*Feel free to forward this newsletter to anyone that might be interested! We would also encourage you to share our monthly newsletters on your social media platforms so that others may become aware of the IIR Community.*

As always, please feel free to come to me with any questions or concerns you may have (

– Christy Song
Read more

A Bio-based Field Trip to Michigan State University


We all fill up our tanks with gas on a regular basis and we see 87, 89, and 93, but have you ever noticed that many gas stations provide E-85 fuel,which is supplemented with biomass-derived ethanol; You might have also missed that even plastic bags, paint, printer ink and seat components in our cars are now also made of bio-based chemicals. However, what are bio-based products?

Bio-based products are made of non-food, non-feed agricultural products, which harness the solar energy and photosynthesis for industrial materials, consumer products and fuel energy. The importance of bio-based products in the U.S. and the global economy is expected to increase tremendously over time.

The SearchLite is collaborating with Omni Tech International on a this exiciting  to assist companies at different stages to understand the current trends and needs of bio-based materials. Although this is not an easy task, we luckily are surrounded by many  successful researchers and entrepreneurs at universities close by. Lee Walko from Omni Tech and Scott Phillips, MJ Zhang and Hui Yang from The SearchLIte decided to meet with Professor Ramani Narayan, who is a distinguished professor in the Department of Chemical & BioChemical Engineering in Michigan State University.

Professor Narayan’s  work covers an array of topic areas including: biodegradable plastics, engineering and design of natural-synthetic polymer composite system, and biofiber reinforced thermoplastic composites, to name a few. Professor Narayan is also  a successful entrepreneur. He has developed poly(lactic acid) materials technology and conducted engineering scale-up studies for Cargill Inc..  The technology is currently being commercialized by NatureWorks LLC. Beyond these technologies, he has also developed and commercialized other technologies, such as biofoam sheets for cushion packaging and biodegradable and recycling friendly starch based nanoparticle adhesives. In addition to his entrepreneurial accomplishments, Professor Narayan is also involved with setting up a biorefinery business with Zeeland and a Michigan agribusiness company to produce bio-based and value-added products. His students, Sayli Bote, Hugh MacDowell and Preetam Giri, walked us through their most up-to-date posters and introduced the new research findings to us.

Preetam Giri is presenting his poster.

Preetam Giri is presenting his poster with Saly Bote and Hugh MacDowell. From left to right: Hui Yang, Preetam Giri, Sayli Bote, Professor Ramani Narayan, Lee Walko, Scott Phillips, Hugh MacDowell.

Professor Narayan is also excited to open a class soon and invite The SearchLite to give a few lectures. Both of us are enthusiastic about sharing our knowledge on technology transfer and entrepreneurship to the local community, such as the professors and students at Michigan State University.

Katy Luchini Colbry, the Director of Graduate Initiatives, participated in the meeting also. Katy is working with MJ to coordinate a student workshop on campus in the near future.
Professor Narayan’s lab is located in the Michigan Biotechnology Institute, which helps organizations quickly and cost-effectively test out technologies and decide which ones to commercialize on a bigger scale. After meeting with Professor Narayan, we met with Chad Pastor, who not only gave an excellent presentation about the scopes and research areas of MBI, but also a very enlightening tour of the facility. During our tour, we noticed the elegant and cost-effective design of the facility and the streamlined process.

Chad Pastor showed Scott and Lee the MBI Plant.

Chad Pastor showed Scott and Lee the MBI Plant.


We got to really see and feel the famous AFEX (ammonia fiber expansion) pretreatment process and its products. After the tour, we walked out of the MBI research facility feeling amazed and intrigued by the technology and development. In addition, there is a great chance of collaboration between The SearchLite, Omni Tech, and MBI in the future.

(Edited by Christy Song and MJ Zhang)

April, 2016 Newsletter


The SearchLite

The Community Monthly Newsletter, Apr. ’16

April is famous for April Fool’s Day, but did you know that it is officially Humor Month? So in honor of the month here it goes…Knock Knock! Who’s there? Dwayne. Dwayne who? Dwayne the bath tub, I’m drowning!

If that didn’t knock you off your feet, maybe the news we have to share with you for the month of April will!

Interested in who’s already a part of the IIR CommunityCheck out our members!

*Feel free to forward this newsletter to anyone that might be interested! We would also encourage you to share our monthly newsletters on your social media platforms so that others may become aware of the IIR Community.*

As always, please feel free to come to me with any questions or concerns you may have (

– Christy Song

Table of Contents

In this issue…

i.  News to Know 

ii.  New projects 

iii. News and Events

iv. IIR Spotlight

News to Know

The SearchLite welcomes 2 New catalysts  

Yewei and Prianca are our new catalysts! Yewei is leading the Covaron Project while Prianca is leading the Halo Project. They both started as Innovators in Residence and upon completing several projects and showing great leadership qualities they quickly advanced to catalyst positions. There is great value in participating in the IIR Program, but don’t forget about the possibility of moving up!


Scott Phillips went to Hannover Germany!

Scott Phillips, CEO & Founder of The SearchLite headed out to Hannover Germany to enhance our domain knowledge of the industrial internet of things. Check out the main takeaways from the event! 


The SearchLite has two new Focus Areas

We have expanded our areas of expertise into Biotechnology Innovation Organization and the Industrial Internet of Things. Explore our new websites to see what we have been working on.


***Want to know more about the IIR Program? Check out our IIR Page and fill out the contact form to talk with us!***  

New Projects:

What we’re working on…


ArborSense Inc. 

Lead Catalyst: Meghan Cuddihy
 IIRs: Mohammad, Agatha, Arasakumar, and Rahul
Summary: Arborsense Inc. has developed a graphene based wearable sensor for real-time alcohol monitoring using the vapors transpiring through the skin. The sensor has potential use for continuous alcohol monitoring by criminal justice systems, providing faster detection times with lower limits of detection on a chip that is much smaller than current alcohol detection technologies. 


Automation of Things

Lead Catalyst: Greg Sadler
IIRs: Edward and Linjun
Summary: Automation of Things is a software development company devoted to the automation and embedded device industry. Automation of Things’ products streamline the efforts of automation and industrial-systems engineers by maximizing reuse and simplifying the processes. The disruptive change this platform provides creates a more efficient and sustainable system, catalyzing operational innovation.



Lead Catalyst: Yewei
IIRs: Peng, Yan, Juliana, JC, Dhanashree
Summary: Covaron’s mission is to create disruptive and environmentally sustainable solutions for a wide range of industrial and energy applications. A two-step thermosetting material designed with sustainability in mind, this new composition of matter redefines ceramics by combining the outstanding physical properties of technical ceramics with the benefits of low energy processing and endless customizability without shrinkage. In less than two years Covaron has drawn the attention of, and secured collaboration with, a broad spectrum of clients representing the automotive, aerospace, energy, manufacturing, and coatings industries.  


Razor Threat 

Lead Catalyst: Hui
IIRs: Isabella
Summary: RazorThreat is a solution for public and private enterprises that are faced with targeted, customized, persistent attacks unique to their environment. RazorThreat deploys a Policy-based, Positive Control Communication Profile, which is unique to each client taking the guess-work and complexity out of deepening he security of one’s network. RazorThreat’s preemptive threat intelligence – highlights unknown and unauthorized activity – identifying both internal and external threats in real time.

News and Events:

Stay up to date on TSL’s latest news!


Scott attended Hannover Messe In Germany

The SearchLite has been conducting more and more Customer Discovery and Customer Validation Assessments in this space over the last year. Our clients have been startups, second stage companies, corporations and venture capital investors. The need is too great, that we have created a sister organization called IIoT Global to focus on this topi. To enhance our domain knowledge, we thought that we should head out to the “home of factory automation” to get immersed into this industry. So off to Hannover Germany we went! Read MORE…


The SearchLite welcomes 2 New Catalysts

The SearchLite welcomes two new catalysts to the lead team – Prianca and Yewei! Both Prianca and Yewei started out as Innovators-in-Residence and after showing leadership potential the two previous IIRs have now advanced into Lead Catalyst positions.
Read on as they share their experiences so far as Lead Catalysts…

Yewei: After working as an IIR for several months, I felt like challenging myself more by taking on extra responsibilities as a lead catalyst. Covaron is my first project independently and I have no previous knowledge in material science. All those made me very nervous. But with the help from Scott, Rachit and five awesome IIRs, I am surviving it and getting more confident through the process. With that said, working as a catalyst is a totally different experience. For this position, I have to care about how to keep good client relationships, how to manage the progress of projects, and how to break down the assignments to each IIR each week, while keeping them motivated and involved in the process. I still have a lot to learn and improve on, but it has been a fun journey and I really enjoy it!

Prianca: “I took up the catalyst position as it’s a great fit for people in academics who want to learn about project management and business in general. It presented me with an opportunity to lead a team of highly qualified IIRs, enabling me to bridge the gap between academia and the industry. The catalyst role is similar to an IIR as we still have to conduct research and participate in industry expert calls. However, this role is more challenging as it has ore responsibilities in leading a team, driving interviews and meeting client expectations. As a lead catalyst, you learn how to manage projects, validate market hypotheses and fine-tune your communication skills.”


Need help in engaging with us on social media? 

When we stumble upon a post that we think our peers would enjoy or find valuable we often share the information, but it’s not always as easy as it sounds so here is a tutorial on how to share, like, and examples of text you could get ideas from for your own posts! CLICK HERE! 


TSL Welcomes our new IIRs!  

We are always elated when we are able to say our Please welcome Lauren Tanabe,Agatha Radberger, Rahul DeshmukhMaggie Sikora, Arasakumar Subramani, and Telmo Santos! Check out their profiles. We look forward to working with you and are excited to see our IIR community grow!


Don’t Miss the Upcoming Events!

Suvey Reminder

If you have any suggestions or feedback about the IIR program, please take the time to fill this survey out. It will greatly help us improve the program and will give us feedback on what is and is not working. We look forward to receiving your responses!

*** Have more ideas? We are listening. Take the survey HERE so that you too can impact our community for the better! *** 


Course Completion

As all of you know, the Learning Management System is a crucial part of the IIR experience and we strongly encourage our innovators to participate. It is an easy and fast way to become aware of what exactly The SearchLite does and what terminology we are using and why. Several IIRS have shown outstanding performance and have completed all of the courses to date on our new Learning Management System. We applaud you for your achievements!

Innovator-in-Residence Spotlight:

An IIR that has gone above and beyond…


Yewei Xing

“I worked as an IIR in four projects; all have been great experiences. The best part for being an IIR is the freedom: you have the chance to either work within your discipline or challenge yourself with something you never heard of before, you can work at your own pace, in your own way and have your own style; there is no limit to it. At the same time, it is always exciting: everyday during the project, I am learning new tools, getting new knowledge and meeting new people. Those can come from my peers, from the group leader, from clients and from interviewees. With the fast pace of projects (which normally take 4-6 weeks), I can see the progress each week and really feel the value we achieved by solving the problem and giving practical recommendations to our client. Also, all the catalysts I have worked with in The SearchLite are great. Not only are they good at business, but they also try their best to help the IIRs. I remember Samaya and Qi spent extra time helping me understand the project and taught me how to use some of the tools.”

– Yewei Xing

“Yewei joined The SearchLite Innovators-in-Residence Program in December of 2015 and in the past 4 months she completed 4 projects, which is the most efficient record ever. The reason why she was able to complete so many projects is because, for the most time, she joins two projects at the same time. Moreover, she always gets 3 points for the weekly self-assessment. Now, Yewei is going to run a project, Covaron, as a catalyst. I am sure she will do a great job as always. ”

– MJ Zhang


Innovator-in-Residence Alumni Spotlight:

IIR Alumni… where are they now?


Kanika Agrawal

“Working with TSL was a unique experience that helped broaden my skill set and allowed me to explore a wide breadth of interests and career opportunities outside the world of academia.

I have found the insights I gained into the customer discovery process from being an IIR to be invaluable in many of my pursuits post graduation, including developing the business model for a startup I co-founded.

Moreover, The SearchLite team made an effort to place me on projects that were relevant to my expertise and the market research I conducted as a result, has helped immensely in understanding the nature of the manufacturing environment in my current position at Intel.”

– Kanika Agrawal

“Kanika was only with us a short while, but made a significant impact on the projects that she participated on. One instance of Kanika’s ability to apply her knowledge and skills was evident on a client engagement with a company called VGP that develops thermoelectric materials. Thermoelectrics are an important class of materials that can convert heat into electricity and vice versa, making them useful in a wide range of heating and cooling applications. The goal of the engagement was to assess the technical claims made by the client and propose potential applications for their technology. VGP claimed that their material was three to four times more efficient than current state-of-the-art thermoelctric materials given its unique Bismuth-Telluride material composition. Furthermore, the inventor claimed that their material utilization efficiency was 200x better than an equivalent solution with similar output. Kanika was instrumental in validating these claims.

I also had the opportunity to observe Kanika at the Next Energy I-Corps event in Detroit in the Spring of 2015. This program is designed to help researchers discover the commercial potential of their technology and selectively funds only the most promising inventions. Kanika was an entrepreneurial Lead for a team with a novel concept for an advanced solar technology solution that she helped develop during her time as a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Michigan. She did a wonderful job coordinating her team’s customer discovery interviews which resulted in several collaboration opportunities for her team within a short period of time. Throughout the event, Kanika made compelling presentations and responded very credibly and professionally to the questions posed by I-Corps trainers and mentors, a panel of highly experienced professionals in the energy and transportation sectors, of which I was a member. Since then, Kanika has gone on to establish a startup company called The Fold Institute, based on her team’s learnings from the I-Corps program.

Kanika is now working for Intel and we are elated to hear that many of the skills she has obtained through the Innovators-In-Residence Program have better equipped her for this new position and has made the transition more manageable and fluid. We strive to provide a beneficial and applicable experience for our IIRs and are grateful to hear when our program makes even a small, yet meaningful impact on the career experiences of our IIRs.”

– Scott Phillips

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