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Key Takeaways from the 2023 BioKansas Innovation Festival and Conference

Clarkson’s Cara Ridenhour, Elizabeth McGuire, and Katja Owens-Glassman recently attended the 2023 BioKansas Innovation Conference and Festival in Kansas City, Missouri. Building on last year’s success, the Conference continued its focus on innovations across science and technology, with discussions and presentations centered around biotechnology, economic development, digital technology, innovative tools and technologies, the supply chain, and more.  In addition to the conference, the event also featured its first Startup Pitch Competition, where finalists across three separate tracks – Agriculture and Food Tech, Health and Therapeutics, and Digital Health – competed for investor funding.

In this piece, we’re highlighting just a few of our top insights and key takeaways from this year’s conference and how these themes continue to resonate with our clients within the bioscience ecosystem:

2023 BioKansas Innovation Festival and Conference Key Takeaways

  1. The role of technology in expanding and expediting growth.
    The identification of how to select, use, and implement technology to support a business’s growth strategy is becoming more critical. As companies pursue digital transformations, their ability to leverage artificial intelligence (AI) becomes a greater challenge in meeting the health and research needs of both patients and scientists. Doug Hohulin, Chapter President of the Kansas City VR/AR Association, stated in his talk that “innovation moves at the speed of trust.”  This quote conveys the critical importance that trust has both on the development and role of technology in growing and expanding its use across the entire ecosystem of science, business, and technology.
  2. Data security has become a leading concern for both business and research.
    The accessibility of data to support businesses and researchers in making informed decisions quickly continues to be of great importance. However, the means to maintain security now overshadows the discussions around the ease of access and shareability of data. Increased ransomware attacks, cyberattacks targeting personally identifiable information (PII), and credit card information – along with the concern over biodefence – has increased the demand for skills, strategies, and response plans for both helping to mitigate these risks as well as how to respond after a security attack has occurred.
  3. Simulations technology is becoming a critical element for businesses development.
    Operational expansion has often included no more than a written plan, financials, and timeline.  With the velocity with which bioscience projects move in the quest to scale from research to clinical to operational, the necessity to evaluate multiple scenarios becomes vital to cost savings and meeting those timelines. Using simulation (digital twin) technologies – with their ability to visualize the systems, processes, workflows, and people flows – allows for the assurance that an appropriate layout of machinery and other critical processes are “seen” even before they are installed. The use of simulation tools enables fact-based planning and execution and can lead to an improved operational strategy and business development.
  4. Disruption has been at the center of everyday life since 2019.
    The question of, “Why?” remains embedded in the ethos, with few understanding how things got so bad over the past few years and worrying that we’re not prepared for the next catastrophe. Addressing these questions becomes a never-ending dialogue, which most easily can be answered by the simple words, “Yes, it can happen again.” The more important question is. “What should we be doing now to prepare?”At the Conference, Clarkston’s Elizabeth McGuire presented a comical fable adventure of twins Sustainability and Reliability from the plant ESGR. The twins helped disrupted businesses understand the importance of preparing for the unknown today and to not wait. She shared the criticality of starting at the beginning of the supply chain process,  ensuring the supply chain is the center of the business strategy, as well as the need to identify, define, develop, and prepare for the unexpected. She further explained that by aligning both sustainability and resiliency as a single strategy, organizations establish a holistic supply chain – one that encompasses an environmental, social, governance, and resilience (ESGR) strategy and recognizes its importance to increasing business value. Linking both strategies together prepares businesses for the unknown, and when leveraged with the extended supply chains’ collaboration, can improve a business’s ability to meet the demands of flexibility and agility expected by consumers today.

Looking Ahead

From discussions on technology and data and cybersecurity, to simulations of “what ifs” and the ability to be nimble during times of disruption, the 2023 BioKansas Conference was filled with engaging and enlightening discussions about the advancements in technology and how it’s supporting the growth and expansion of the bioscience industry. During a “Women In Technology Panel,” Diane Acevedo, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Research Associate at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital stated, “Science without service is science fiction.” This simple statement epitomizes the overall success of the conference. It brought together a group of divergent participants from various backgrounds and successfully helped them walk away with a clearer recognition of how science and service must work together to solve the obstacles within our path.

These are but a few of the highlights from the conference that remain critical for not only the life sciences industry but across all industries. As we continue to observe our clients navigating some of these vast challenges, we remain committed to helping you assess your risks, develop your plans, and help you meet the challenges of a new tomorrow. If you’re interested in chatting more about this year’s conference or other emerging topics in the life sciences space, let’s connect.

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Tags: Data Integrity, Event Recap, Life Sciences Trends, Supply Chain Planning & Execution, Emerging Technology