MJ Medical

Research and development - A means and an end


For a consultancy firm like MJ Medical, it’s easy to understand why research and development is so important. At its core our business model is essentially providing applied technical knowledge to complex healthcare facility construction projects. Staying at the cutting edge of the knowledge-base that informs these projects, and constantly developing our tools and processes for delivering our services, is key to delivering a high-quality output to our clients and staying competitive in our marketplace. Every year we invest approximately 15% of our total revenue into our R&D programme, and from a commercial perspective the reasons are clear; the return on investment for good R&D when viewed over the long-term tends toward the exponential.

However, the R&D programme at MJ Medical is about much more than this rather myopic take. A real and sustained interest in the subject matter of our work is a characteristic of both our individual team-members and our wider team culture. The natural outcome of this is for us to want to dedicate significant time and resource to learn more about that subject, working together in innovative ways and guided by our interests and discoveries. For us then, R&D is less of a means to a commercial end, and more an end in itself. It forms a central part of our team culture, our collective identity, and our enjoyment of what we do. The value the programme provides MJ Medical in this sense is unarguable, as demonstrated by the feedback from the team.

The implementation of our R&D strategy and programme is focused around quarterly ‘huddles’, where all of our team come together over five days to update, review and critique the R&D work undertaken over the previous period, pitch new ideas for R&D projects, plan for the next period, and also eat, drink and be merry. At any one time we run between 10 to 20 R&D projects, with every member of our team involved in at least one project. They include a diverse range of topics, from how to improve patient experience and clinical outcomes through better patient furniture, to using digital technology to improve systemic care models and rationalise estate requirements. The outputs are varied, from published papers that inform our wider industry conversation, to new tools and processes or internal reference knowledge and data that help us deliver our services more effectively.

As well as sharing our research outputs with our industry colleagues through learning organisations we are involved with such as Healthcare Design Leadership and Healthcare Planning Academy, we are currently exploring other avenues such as a quarterly newsletter and an open-source library. In addition, we regularly present our work at key industry conferences, like the European Healthcare Design Conference (SALUS – Conference European Healthcare Design 2023). At this year’s conference, running from the 12th to the 14th June at the Royal College of Physicians in London, we will be presenting several R&D projects we have been working on. These include a poster attempting to unravel digitisation in health, and a presentation on the conundrum of why, in an industry so focused on evidence-based design, so few projects conduct post-occupancy evaluations. If you are interested in hearing more about our R&D programme, come along and talk to one of the team.

Nathaniel Hobbs