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CIMIT CoLab™ Overview


CIMIT CoLab® is a secure, cloud-based platform that enables a team, institution or network to more effectively encourage, manage and measure innovation. It provides a scalable, virtual infrastructure to support the many collaborative processes multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional teams require in connecting the needs of healthcare providers, medical foundations, and other non-profits with the vast experience, insight and innovative talents of patients and innovators within or beyond their physical and/or virtual borders.

Some of the world’s most innovative organizations have adopted CoLab to codify their best practices and deliver them in a scalable, easily accessible way. It is designed to be easily configurable by “process owners” themselves so they can adapt it to their unique needs/situation. As a result, CoLab can help organizations cost effectively accelerate any part of, or the entire healthcare innovation cycle, from needs discovery to development and/or dissemination of proven innovations.


CoLab is built on the Web 2.0 platform developed by Liferay. CoLab's technology and implementation combines with CIMIT’s fifteen plus years of experience plus that of other world-leading organizations in successfully navigating the healthcare innovation cycle. CIMIT itself has been a laboratory for innovation in healthcare research since its inception in 1998, operating with leading healthcare and research institutions across Boston and world-wide. (

Core CoLab Elements

CoLab is an integrated solution that can work alone or in combination with an institution’s existing infrastructure to augment available social media, knowledge and innovation management tools. CoLab combines four key elements in one platform:

CIMIT Modules graphicCommunities: Individuals and groups linked in dynamically defined roles

Processes: User configurable, codified workflows for collaborative practices, like the “CIMIT Model”

Portfolios: Projects and activities organized for reporting and management oversight

Content: Secure, structured, web-accessible information such as; documents, wikis, videos, links, ratings, decisions, etc.

Examples of CoLab in Use

The following are examples of ways in which CoLab is being used by a variety of groups. The functionality is ready to be deployed by and/or reconfigured by others:

1) Workgroups

A secure, virtual workspace that helps pre-defined or self-assembled teams form, share information & ideas, generate & curate content, prioritize actions and track tasks. Workgroup examples include CIMIT’s own Programs, cross-institutional proposal teams, and management teams responsible for redesigning a primary care delivery process.

2) Needs Curator

A crowd-sourcing approach to capture the needs that clinicians and patients as well as their families and lay care givers have in providing care. Needs are posted and open to the community to allow others to voice opinions and/or a potential available solution.

3) Challenges & Ideas

A secure, structured way to stimulate, solicit and manage ideas in response to institutionally articulated challenges – engaging employees, customers/patients, suppliers, etc. Examples include Kaiser Permanent’s use within its Idea Book web-portal

4) Proposal Process

An integrated way for funders to manage and encourage innovators to collaborate in moving ideas through stages with structured peer review and panel selection. Examples include CIMIT’s own call for proposals; this past year CIMIT processed more than 300 pre-proposals with 500 reviewers from across the globe more efficiently and effectively than before.

5) Impact Planner

Capturing CIMIT’s best practices for accelerating the impact of an innovative technology into patient care. The Impact Planner is based on CIMIT’s Accelerator Program (, and provides an interactive process for investigators to work with experts to develop and evaluate a robust plan to accelerate an innovation to patient care. It provides the Accelerator Team with a complete web-based project management system to manage Accelerator Projects; to support solicitation of proposals, product definition, development strategy, business planning and valuation; and to track the clinical impact of a technology once it leaves CIMIT.

6) Project Tracking & Reporting

Assign reporting and deliverable tracking tasks to project teams to automate the notification and submission process.

7) Convening Facilitator

Creating and managing convening events, from workshops to conferences, requires the execution of many collaborative processes between people from different institutions and industries. CoLab Portals have been used to prepare (by, for example, managing calls for papers, abstracts, collaborators) execute (by, for example, sharing and voting on ideas) and support collaborations after an event concludes (by, for example, providing a secure virtual workspace to collaborate).

Examples under Development

The following are examples of functionality currently being developed and we welcome interested “lead users” to work with CIMIT to improve these modules and suggest others:

1) Clustering

Enabling the administrators of a Portal to connect with other Portals to share select information. Examples of sharable information include processes, ideas, evaluations, metrics, etc.

2) Connector

Leveraging Induct’s “smart search” capabilities, CoLab is designed to tap into knowledge management resources to access content and find or be found as a collaborator or resource. For example, we envision helping find commercially available products to address articulated needs.

3) Funding Finder

The curated content within CoLab provides a body of knowledge that describes the current interests of innovators. Innovators can use that asset through the smart search capability to find potential funding opportunities from target sites – such as or the USDHHS– that innovators indicate as being of potential interest.

4) Best Practice Curator

CIMIT has used the principles described in the book Innovators Prescription by HBS Prof Clayton Christensen ( to develop a framework for curating “needs” and the capturing, curating and disseminating best practices to others based on the agnostic “Jobs-to-be-Done” framework.

5) Clinical Impact Registry & Dashboard

Portfolio managers and funders can use this module to track the impact and outcomes created by the projects they support. The approach implements CIMIT’s Clinical Impact Study ( and streamlines the reporting interface with investigators during and post-funding.

6) Pre-Competitive Procurement Manager

CoLab has been selected by the EU funded DECIPHER program to create the virtual infrastructure to manage a pre-competitive procurement process for new IT platforms in a way that encourages innovation and the participation of small and medium enterprises.

7) IP Management

Based on the best practices established by Boston University’s Office of Technology Development, this module captures the flow of information innovators and institutional intellectual property managers along with external parties such as law firms and mentors need to streamline and maximize the impact of research.

8) Regulatory Master File

Capturing real-time, date-stamped research information in the proper format, with the needed reviews and linkages to provide complete regulatory submission packages for drugs and devices.

Using CoLab

CoLab is being offered as a “Software-as-a-Service” through CIMIT for healthcare institutions and non-profit organizations that wish to manage their own “Portals”. Please contact CIMIT (John Collins: if you would like to learn more about using CoLab to support a team, project, lab, organization or network.

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