Brandy Gordon Smith's Big Idea
Brandy Gordon-Smith, RN, had always been an idea person. She had pages of ideas that she had come up with over the years, but she felt discouraged not knowing how to make those ideas a reality. When she heard about Community’s Launchpad Innovation Competition in 2014, she didn’t hesitate to submit one of those ideas — a mobile workstation, called Elevation Station, for home care clinicians that provides them with a clean working surface to use when conducting in home patient procedures, offers more organization and customization, is easy to clean and provides them with some control in an uncontrolled environment.
Out of 800 ideas submitted, she was one of nine people selected to be a semi-finalist. She was blown away by the creativity, insight and compassion shown in the ideas of her fellow semi-finalists, who were just like her — mothers, fathers, nurses and more.
Throughout the entire process, the Launchpad team was supportive and encouraging. They offered the semi-finalists a step-by-step toolkit that helped them further examine their ideas and willingly met with Brandy several times to answer her questions.
“I literally felt like I was part of a community, as we all worked together to develop our ideas and presentations,” Brandy said. “After all, that’s what Community is all about — people working together to make positive differences.”
With the help of Launchpad, Brandy has been able to turn her idea into an opportunity. She has researched nursing research articles and blogs, spoken with leaders in the industry, and surveyed home care clinicians, all of which has further validated the need for Elevation Station.
Initially working on the design with the help of her eleven year old son and his Legos, she has since learned how to create line and CAD drawings and next steps will be actual prototype building.
“I am seeing my idea come to life right before my very eyes,” she said. “I told myself through this entire process, that I am lucky to have made it this far…the competition, meeting great people and leaders, the lessons my son is learning and the admiration of his mother I can see in his eyes, the potential to make a difference in the lives of clinicians and patients and the tools Launchpad has provided me with for future endeavors is a great accomplishment already.”
Apparent to Brandy throughout the process is the importance donors play in the creation and development of ideas like hers.
“Without the support of the Allen Hicks Innovation Fund and benefactors like you, none of this is possible,” she said of the effort. “All 800 ideas to make a difference would still be locked away in the minds of compassionate Community employees. I was just thankful for this opportunity to share an idea in a safe place in order to potentially make a difference in someone’s life.”