Themed Cohorts

Organizations need an unbiased view on the speed and trajectory of disruptive forces, and FIRSTEP  gives enterprise leaders a unique, and efficient (time & cost) way to see the forces of disruption through the lens of edge innovators. 

Three times per year times, we identify a critical topic in Health.  Next, we find the most promising entrepreneurs working on disruptive innovations in and around that theme, and we invite them to participate in a two-day ‘thesis formation’ process, as our guest.  We know they have a thesis already, because they've bet the farm on chasing a big idea that rests on their foundational thinking, but inevitably, they've never really stress-tested that thinking (and deep down, they know that exposes them to risk).  The entrepreneurs goal, in participating with FIRSTEP, is to unspool that foundational thinking as a group, and wind it back into a team-view on which forces have the greatest potential to impact their success, and how those forces are most likely to unfold... in essence, they come to stress-test the foundational thinking that lies below their BIG IDEA, and to course-correct their trajectory if required.

Our process is pre-NDA, so no confidential information is at risk, and that makes it possible for enterprise leaders to participate and take an active role in the sessions.  That's important, because hearing the enterprise perspective can be very, very valuable when you're innovating on the edge.  Part of the FIRSTEP magic lies in our unique ability to create immersive experiences where both sides suspend bias long enough to share foundational thinking. This fosters a deep level of mutual understanding, helping enterprise leaders see the forces of disruption through a new lens, while helping innovators stress-test their key assumptions and broaden their thinking to include an enterprise perspective. 

Enterprise leaders interested in fresh thinking on critical topics in health can subscribe to either an individual theme, or to a full year of themes (3).  Partners are invited to attend any of the innovator sessions, as well as the 'unpacking event' where we share insights into the forces and edge thinking from the entire cohort, and they receive:

- Innovator Insights - for each participating company, we produce an ‘Impressions Brief’ and thesis summary, both of which help Enterprise evaluate fit for collaboration and investment. 

- Theme Event - Theme Subscribers attend a private event where we unpack the key learnings and insights from the edge (forces / insights / innovator impressions etc.).  The 2-day event is densely packed with data, presentations and facilitated discussions, presenting the learnings, and exploring how they are directly actionable for your organization. The event can be attended in person or remotely, and all presentations and discussions are archived for later sharing across your organization.

- Theme Outputs - we capture the collective thinking of the entire cohort of participating start-ups, and synthesize the learnings into a set of specific insights and a crisp thesis on how edge thinkers see the disruptive forces unfolding over a 3 to 5-year horizon.  These are shared among our enterprise patrons, in in a variety of forms (written / visual / video).

The goal for cohort patrons is to gain a fresh new perspective on the forces of disruption.  That's not to say that you'll always agree with 'edge-thinking', but deep exposure will almost certainly help to identify, and break-down hidden assumptions, and instill the fresh thinking needed to spark insights into new growth opportunities, and it will almost certainly surface previously unseen risks. For those interested in venture investing, there is the added benefit of access to unique insights into the companies themselves.

we currently have three cohorts underwaY


This cohort covered two themes:
1. the digitization of healthcare
2. pharmacogenomics

26 foundational insights emerged from the Digital health Cohort, and we consider these to be so critical for anyone placing bets in the HWB sector (Health, Wellness & Betterment) that we have worked with TELUS Health to release them in a book (hard cover and digital) along with a series insight videos. 

Cohort Insights Book

Companion Videos

On-Site Briefing
Insights briefing (1/2 day) & edge-driven Horizon 3 risk & opportunity review


How are personalized HWB (Health, Wellness & Betterment) apps and services (ie: use a persons genotype, phenotype, environment and behavior, to provide personalized HWB analysis and recommendations) most likely to unfold over the next 3 to 5 years?

If you're taking a multi-omic approach to creating an innovative new precision medicine solution, for health, wellness or betterment, or you're developing an innovative part of the infrastructure capabilities necessary to support a Precision Health future, you may qualify to go through the FIRSTEP process as our guest... we'd love to hear from you.




How are integrated technologies, that help app’s, services and data, connect with people trying to solve HWB jobs (Health, Wellness and Betterment) most likely to unfold over the next 3 to 5 years?


Platforms are emerging to match health solutions with consumers looking to solve their health jobs - we are interested in inviting participants (start-ups and other innovators) that are either building platforms or platform tools to help decrease the friction between consumers and health, wellness and betterment solutions.


How are apps and services, that 'give consumers control over their health and wellness jobs', most likely to unfold over the next 3 to 5 years?

If you are actively developing an innovative consumer facing app or services, or a technology to help help platforms better enable consumer facing solution, you may qualify to go through the FIRSTEP process as our guest... let's talk.