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Clockspeed and Modular Architecture in the Medical Device Industry

Updated: Apr 6, 2021

Clockspeed is a term coined by the MIT professor Charles Fine in the late 1990s. It describes the various rates of evolution in industries - where each industry evolves at a different rate, depending in some way on its product clockspeed, process clockspeed, and organisation clockspeed. As an example, the SW industry has a fast clockspeed, lasting months or even weeks, while the cooperage industry has not changed much for thousand years.

A complex product can have a number of clockspeeds, e.g. a car might have a chassis with a clockspeed of 10 years, the interior design of 5 years, the electronics in a dashboard of 2 years and the software of only a few months.

Competitive industries rely on the use of modular platform based architecture to ensure cost effective and rapid upgrades. It is clear however, that also heavily regulated industries, e.g. the Medical Device industry, could benefit from a more modular approach in product development. This would lessen the need for testing, verification, validation, documentation, etc.

The new Medical Device Regulation (MDR) will become effective on May 26, 2021- and for those companies with a vision and roadmap to launch variants of a products, it makes sense to use agile modular architecture.

If you are interested in finding out how you can take advantage of modular platform product development with you medical devices, please send us a line at

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