Early Adopters: Takeaways from Cambia Grove's Inaugural Pop-Up


Recently, Cambia Grove created a brand-new event called the Cambia Grove Pop-Up in collaboration with members of the Portland, Oregon health care startup ecosystem. As I work to design programs to support startups, I have the privilege of learning some of the same insights that founders learn. One key insight from “Success Stories from the Field” that I have taken to heart is the importance of finding early adopters while establishing your company and products. This message especially resonated with me as we designed new programs with new partners.

The Cambia Grove Pop-Up is an intensive, two-day immersion into some of the Cambia Grove’s best programming. The event took over five months to plan. We made enhancements and format changes to our favorite programs and formed new partnerships. These partners came from Portland IQ: OHSU, OBI, Providence, Stoel Rives and others. We received support, introductions and endless feedback while developing our two days of programming—allowing continuous improvement every step of the way.

When we finally brought our packaged product of programming to market, we were both shocked and thrilled that it “sold out” in two days, with an ever-growing waitlist to follow. At that point the pressure was on to make sure the event was high value and provided an outstanding experience for startups, speakers and participants alike.

The pop-up consisted of an interactive 5 Points of Health Care™ workshop focusing on product development and commercialization. We hosted a national thought leader Stephen Konya, Senior Innovation Strategist at Office of National Coordinator of Health and Human Services – U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, to talk about data initiatives and their impact on patients and innovation with OHSU’s Chief Privacy Officer Kuli Mavuwa. We also engaged a roundtable of health care MBA students and faculty to talk about opportunities coming down the pipeline.

Throughout the two days, attendees networked—a lot! They learned from each other, from our dozen office hour hosts, and from 15 speakers. They had opportunities to participate in one-on-one interactions, breakout sessions, panel discussions and fireside chats.

We learned:

  • “If health care was coffee, based on inflation between the 1930s and today, a pound of coffee would cost $81.” – Sean Kolmer, SVP Policy and Strategy, Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems
  • Ongoing national data initiatives, including the 21st Century Cures Act and data resources, will help shape the ecosystem of the future.
  • “Value-based care is what every startup wants.” – Brigitte Piniewski, MD, Board and Charter Member, TiE Oregon
  • “Anything that adds additional (EHR) clicks is a non-starter.” – Dr. Shorin Nemeth, Medical Director Comprehensive Pain Service & Oncology Palliative Care, Providence Health & Services
  • Local, state and federal resources available for health care startups exist! Check out OBI and Regional HHS Office
  • “You have to design a fundraising system that you can command and guard.” – Sara Batterby, The Batterby Group

Overall, I learned Portland is full of talented and established early adopters that are eager to transform health care. Over the past five months, I met people who were quick to understand our unique and ambitious program – taking in all the feedback and leveraging a talented ecosystem to execute two days’ worth of high-value programs for both entrepreneurs and ecosystem builders.

Creating something innovative is hard. Thank goodness for those early adopters who support, encourage, and give you the insight you need to make things better than you could have alone. Thank you to the Portland startup community for embracing the Cambia Grove Pop-Up and for giving us a shot! We had such a blast and you’ve given us the boost to keep pushing health care transformation around the country.

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