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External Sources of Innovation

Our primary source of ideas for innovation is founded in the challenges and concerns of our clients and staff. ABS began thirty-one years ago based upon the observation that a large amount of a researcher’s time was often spent growing cells and sourcing and preparing tissues (both animal and human) prior to even beginning an actual experiment. These tasks delayed discovery and expended valuable resources. This knowledge led us to become the first company to address this problem by providing custom cell culture services, prepared membranes and cell extracts, and founding a global network of human biospecimen collection sites. Today, such outsourcing is commonplace. In 1990, it was highly innovative.

In addition to the voices of our clients and associates, we also look outside our industry to see how others have solved their problems. Through these insights we continue to improve our IT, inventory, and other systems along with our business processes. There are many examples of innovations that began in one industry and were applied to other industries. Gaming controllers have morphed into car navigation and media systems. Subscription models for magazines have been applied to software and various services. Car rental models have been applied to vacation homes. Apple Music and similar formats evolved from pirated music minus the legal and ethical issues. Blockchain for cryptocurrency has applications in clinical trial data management. The permutations are nearly endless.

Decades ago, we used the concept of just in time inventory management. This concept was used in many industries, but it was not generally applied to human biospecimens collections. ABS formed a large global biospecimen network to quickly collect samples across a large network rather than storing most of them in a central location in hopes that they might be utilized. At about the same time, several companies had attempted to store large quantities of samples but failed in part because biospecimens were too often collected in ways that did not meet researchers’ specifications as technologies, data needs, and consent requirements changed. The unfortunate result was that expensive collections with substantial storage costs were not useful for many research applications. Our network solved this problem by quickly providing highly customizable collections.

It is hubris to think all good ideas must originate with ABS. Competitors may also have good ideas. Although we were the first company to provide cells, tissues, and their extracts for biomedical research, our goal is not necessarily to be first with an idea, but rather to be the best at what we do for our clients. For over three decades, we continue to look for ways to deliver more value to our clients. We invite our clients to share your needs and frustrations so that we can help speed your research.

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