OA places #1 in UIC competition; Lean Culture Hacking through industry-specific Bootcamps

Congratulations to our Digital Health Bootcamp graduates: Aefaaz Ali Mansoor Ali Siddique, Ankita Gosain, and Mohammad Abdelmaid who recently ranked #1 at UIC College of Business (COB) student expo competition. Bootcamp instructors were Narciso Albarracin, MHCI, Florence Cusi, MD, Ephraim Caangay, MD, and Raymundo Ginez, MHCI.


Outcomes. Within 15 weeks, the team helped shape components of our digital health platform (DHP) vision to improve how family members communicate and care for aging parents as a whole (aka dyad). We were inspired by Topol (2019) - Deep Medicine: How Artificial Intelligence Can Make Healthcare Human Again and see opportunity in the complex chain of interactions of “dyad <-> family <-> physician(s)”.

Details. Specifically, the team extended our current DHP approach using AI and machine learning (ML) capabilities but innovated further using a hybrid approach of classical ML as well as deep learning (DL) to classify mobile messaging and also auto-suggest hashtags. This created a small learning system that can localize to a family’s specific jargon.

Bottom line - it empowers family caregivers to interact in a more consistent, relevant, and timely manner using familiar interactions such as text messaging.

Bootcamps as cultural evolution. As a UIC Capstone sponsor, this is our third team being awarded the top prize. We were not always this way. We started with less formal internship-style student assignments. We assigned safe projects and tasks off the critical path. However, we observed that the students did not engage as well and it was difficult to communicate how our industry sector works and what methods and tools you will actually need outside of the classroom. We needed to evolve the approach.

We evolved towards a structured boot camp to fully engage faculty and students, maximize team output, and mitigate previous project risks. Examples of these risks are 1) industry immersion, 2) team formation, and 3) technical skills ramp. We stacked our team to ensure there was coaching and mentoring to address these concerns early and often until a team can get a sense of full context, momentum, and delivery flow. We pushed up access to subject matter experts (SME) and assess technical skills day one. In the end, a boot camp externalizes your values, culture, and a possible way to explore H2 and H3 possibilities. Huh? What are these H2 and H3 things?

Lean Culture Hacking as H2/H3 exploration via Capstone projects. Earlier this year, I wrote about Lean Culture Hacking in relation to the classic Mckinsey - 3 Horizons (i.e, H1, H2 and H3) thinking and Steve Blank’s lean innovation perspectives. Blank more recently reemphasized:

However, today many Horizon 3 disruptions can be rapidly implemented by re-purposing existing Horizon 1 technologies into new business/mission models.

Blank offered four options for H1 or incumbents to survive H3 disruptors:

  1. Incentivize external resources

  2. Acquire external innovators

  3. Rapidly copy

  4. Innovate better than the disruptors   

Start Small, But Do Start. Capstone projects offer a low cost and risk-mitigated approach to address points #1 and #2 pragmatically. These projects are nice small bets you can make prior to placing larger bets.

The Bootcamp is the interview. Additionally, boot camps offer parallel recruiting benefits. Resumes and even on-site interviews cannot match real-world observations captured over a boot camp. 

Your Own Learning System. Although it may take one or two attempts to achieve something that fits your own culture, the downstream benefits of coaching, teaching, learning, and co-creating far outweigh the boot camp and setup costs. Once the habits stick, a continuous improvement cycle will sustain. Boot camps ran effectively can be celebrated too!


Co-create with us. At ONTOADAPTIVE, LLC (OA), we are passionate about making a real-world impact where humans and cognitive technologies meet. We approach industry problems, engage clients, and build products with a “culture hacking” mindset. In a fast-moving digital world full of AI hype and cognitive technology, we believe in a human first approach to lean innovation. Drop us a line.