Surgical Innovation Discovery Course

The Surgical Innovation Discovery Course (SIDC) is designed for surgical trainees by surgical trainees.

Program Objectives

Participants in the Surgical Innovation Discovery Course will be taught an innovative approach to tackling tough clinical problems utilizing a Scrum-like methodology. This 8-week interactive course will use fast-fail rapid prototyping and customer discovery to help surgical trainees quickly refine and de-risk novel ideas. By the end of the course, participants will have thoroughly explored their idea, have two tangible low-fidelity prototypes, and be able to convey their idea’s potential impact on surgical care or patient outcomes. Teams that decide to move forward with their project will be encouraged to apply for the Michigan Surgical Innovation Accelerator (MSIA) course to explore commercial viability.


At its core, Scrum is an agile framework that focuses on team collaboration for solving complex problems one task at a time. It is an empirical process, where decisions are based on observation, experience and experimentation. It has continuous experimentation and feedback loops which helps teams learn, improve, and pivot as needed. It was originally created and applied for software development teams to narrowly focus on complex problems in a rigid and relatively short time frame. SIDC will support and encourage Scrum core principals but will be adaptive to unique team scheduling necessary for surgical trainees, incorporating flexibility and allowing a longer time frame to work on projects. Asynchronous communication will be encouraged when necessary.

Teams will consist of a Resident or Fellow PI, their project team, and a CSI leadership team member, who will provide guidance, prototyping, and encourage project team accountability throughout the course. Each team will move through the observation and planning portions of customer discovery before starting the prototyping process, incorporating additional customer discovery and refinement. Coaching, resources, and supplies will be provided for all participants in this course.

SIDC is a hybrid course and will begin in Winter 2024.

Winter 2023 Cohort


  • Sarah Dermody, PGY-4, Otolaryngology
  • Peter Kahn, PGY-4, Otolaryngology
  • Michael Kemp, PGY-7, General Surgery
  • Brianna Spencer, PGY 4, General Surgery
  • Jonathan Williams, PGY 3, General Surgery
  • Jaes Jones, PGY 4, Neurosurgery

Winter 2023 Cohort Success Stories

We are now accepting applications for the SIDC Winter 2024 cohort. Apply online by December 1, 2023 →

Contact Us 

Questions can be directed to Candice Stegink, Associate Director of Innovation ([email protected]).