Free to Be CRT
- By Laurie Watanabe
- Mar 01, 2020
This is the time of year for innovation, or at least the time of year for
seating and mobility product launches. Cue the spotlights and confetti!
Of course, the latest and greatest tech offerings typically have
spent months or years in development, from conceptual stages through
early designs, early testing, design changes, more testing. There’s paperwork.
There are focus groups and beta testing, all of which lead to design
tweaking and more testing. Even once a product launches, there’s
marketing (to people like me) and educating, and of course, endless
listening to and incorporating feedback from professional and end users.
In this, our International Seating
Symposium issue, we look at some
of the hows behind the making of
the complex rehab technology
(CRT) industry. Our cover story,
by Associate Editor Haley Samsel,
analyzes the convergence of CRT
and robotics (page 14) — what’s
already happening now, and what
the future could look like.
For our second feature story, we asked what qualities and skills define
a successful ATP. Earning the right college degree(s)? Knowing the technology?
Understanding funding and documentation policies? Emotional
intelligence and knowing how to work with the rest of the seating and
mobility team? The industry took our survey, and we share the answers here
These two stories have a common thread. There is something different,
something unique about successful CRT products and the successful professionals
who recommend, build and fit them. On the tech side, we heard
that sometimes, a CRT product that gets its start with a major company
— Microsoft or Toyota? — eventually has to leave that resource-rich environment
to be able to move to the next level. CRT is not your average consumer
product, and its unique needs can get lost within a huge company. CRT
reminds me of a smart, dreamy, offbeat kid who has to strike out on his or her
own. Love ya, Mom and Dad, and thanks for everything, but I’ve gotta be me!
Similarly, our story on making great ATPs is full of references to intangible
qualities, or at least to combinations of qualities that don’t always show up in
a pen-and-paper exam or quick job interview. Survey respondents emphasized
that there’s far more to this job than book smarts. You need people
smarts, and this-isn’t-working-now-what-should-we-do smarts. Basic professionalism
is important — Be clean, courteous and well mannered, said one
survey participant — but so is having a truckload of patience and the ability
to maintain a positive attitude throughout lengthy procurement cycles.
Success isn’t always easy for CRT or the people who serve its consumers.
The landscape isn’t always friendly. But the rewards can be beautiful.
Happy Innovation Season. Go forth and conquer.
This article originally appeared in the March 2020 issue of Mobility Management.
Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.