Best Capstone 2022 Award Winners

MOT Winners

MDI Winners

MOT 2022 Capstone Recognitions – Nicodemus TaranovskyElizabeth BarnesCasey Guinn

Graduation requirements have been completed and diplomas are in hand for the MOT Class of 2022! It’s time now to announce and highlight a few of the outstanding capstone projects from this spring! Selections were difficult as always, but we are delighted to recognize the winner and finalists for our annual capstone award.

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Nicodemus Taranovsky

First, the 2022 MOT Best Capstone Award winner is Nicodemus Taranovsky for his project, titled "Towards a Data Strategy for the Alliance for Safety and Justice."  Mr. Taranovsky is the IT Manager for ASJ, a national advocacy organization that is one of the US's largest and most active criminal justice reform nonprofits. ASJ management provided Mr. Taranovsky with a clear mandate for digital transformation. Mr. Taranovsky’s capstone work on developing a data strategy laid the foundation for the digital transformation that is now taking place at ASJ.

Mr. Taranovsky used several tools for his capstone, including automated transcription and qualitative analysis of stakeholder interviews, the Capability and Data Maturity Models, the Business Model Canvas, and the Leading Organizational Change and Renewal Model. His report also has a comprehensive, targeted literature review. Based on his extensive research and analysis, Mr. Taranovsky outlines a unified data strategy to integrate siloed applications, develop robust systems and processes, improve data transparency and collaboration, shift data culture, and enhance organizational efficiency and impact. He used numerous MOT tools to arrive at his recommendations, which clearly lay out the "what," "why," "when," and "how" for each and identify the resources required. Implementing the data strategy will involve a cultural shift and a journey, one for which Mr. Taranovsky has laid out the roadmap and gained accolades at ASJ . . . and TLI!

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Elizabeth Barnes

We are pleased to also announce two runners-up for the award! Elizabeth Barnes is Senior Director of R&D at AtriCure, a medical device company with an office in the Twin Cities. The rapidly growing medical device industry is resulting in a continuous stream of mergers and acquisitions (M&As), by large, established corporations as well as by smaller companies. AtriCure has acquired four companies since 2007. Each acquisition has been unique, but there are common challenges, especially around technical knowledge transfer, and that is the topic that Ms. Barnes’s capstone focuses on in her project, “Best Practice Guide for M&As in the Medical Device Industry.” Ms. Barnes used the Six Sigma DMAIC process (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) as the framework for integrating learnings and tools from the MOT curriculum, internal and external interviews, and literature review. The best practice guide that she has developed includes a comprehensive itemization of activities and challenges for technology integration and a reference summary for cross-functional responsibilities and roles. The capstone recommendations also cover governance and process ownership. Although developed for AtriCure, Elizabeth Barnes’s Best Practice Guide for acquisitions is readily applicable across the medical device industry, and aspects of it will be useful in other sectors as well.

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Casey Guinn

In his report for his capstone project, “Digital Servitization in In-Vitro Diagnostics,” Casey Guinn, our other finalist, states that, “Before the MOT program, I thought of digital transformation as making paper or manual processes digital and managing them on an electronic system.” Through the MOT program, he realized that the opportunities went vastly beyond mere digitization of existing approaches. Mr. Guinn is a Senior Manager at DiaSorin, an Italian manufacturer of healthcare diagnostic systems with a manufacturing and development site in Stillwater, Minnesota. These complex systems involve biological, electrical, and mechanical components and must be carefully calibrated and monitored. If performance or quality issues arise, a process is initiated that involves significant interaction between the company and the customer and takes significant time and cost to complete.

Mr. Guinn has developed a new digital servitization model for the business, exploiting several MOT tools and leveraging advances in the internet of things, cloud platforms, and data analytics. His innovation is a system of products, services, infrastructure, and networks that is expected to reduce downtime for customers, enhance the quality of diagnostic results, and reduce costs for DiaSorin. This model can be seen as the latest step in the evolution of customer engagement, from transactional to contractual to relational. Mr. Guinn has laid out a roadmap for design and implementation of the solution, including the build-out of the technical foundation, identifying key partners, creating a core team, and developing processes and governance for continuous improvement. He has already received positive feedback from his leadership on his innovation and the approval process for implementing his solution is underway.

The MOT capstone goodness doesn’t stop here. . . There isn’t space for me to describe all the other strong projects that were completed, but trust me, we had several!

Congratulations to Nico, Liz, Casey, and the rest of the MOT Class of 2022!

- Tariq Samad

Director of Graduate Studies, Technological Leadership Institute

MDI 2022 Capstone Recognition – John Hicke, Haley Rasmussen, Courtney Backstrom

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John Hicke ​​​​​

Congratulations to John Hicke as the MDI Best Capstone 2022 Award winner. John’s exceptional capstone was titled “Analysis of Resistant Hypertension, Assessment of the Renal Denervation Landscape & Recommendations for Medtronic’s Position in the Global Renal Denervation Market.” John provided an extremely comprehensive report. John works at Medtronic as an Associate International Clinical Support Specialist.

We are also pleased to announce two runners-up for the award. Haley Rasmussen is a Senior Portfolio Strategy Associate at Boston Scientific and her capstone was “An Evaluation of Digital Therapeutics: Should MedTech Companies be Interested?”

Congratulations also to our other runner-up, Courtney Blackstrom. Courtney is a Senior Quality Systems Engineer at Biofourmis. Courtney’s capstone was “The Application of Quality Assurance to Marketing Compliance for an International Medtech Startup.” Courtney has also returned to the Technology Leadership Institute this summer helping Professor Hale teach the Biopracticum course.

Judging was extremely difficult as there were several exceptional capstones. Congratulations to John, Haley, Courtney, and the entire MDI Class of 2022!

- Mark Wehde

MDI Fellow, MDI Faculty, Technological Leadership Institute