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Nigel Sharplin

Founder and Managing Director of InFact

As Founder and Managing Director of InFact for the last 23 years, Nigel has directed the delivery of more than 400 new technology products to market for New Zealand export manufacturing companies, CRIs and entrepreneurs.  InFact’s values have directed the business toward socially and environmentally ethical client projects thereby creating real sense of purpose and meaning in the work.
Nigel has developed a strong innovation and commercialisation focus for the InFact business, and its large team of designers and engineers use customer-centered design methods to innovate technology into commercially viable outcomes.  As a BetterByDesign coach, Nigel also spent 10 years working with industry helping to bring design thinking to life for other New Zealand tech companies.
Having established four start-ups across medical, forestry, IOT and design sectors, Nigel intimately understands the challenges of translating important research and science into products that will change customer mindsets, thereby allowing the adoption of these new technologies at scale.  He firmly believes that working with collaborators, partners, customers and end users is the only true way to evolve sustainable and desirable product outcomes that can make a difference in the world.


Tara Creaven-Capasso


With 30 years of international commercialisation experience, Tara is a Regulatory and Quality executive delivering successful outcomes to the global Medical Device and Health Technology sectors. She is co-founder of:

  • Covid-19 Corporation Ltd. (NZ), a R&D COVID-19 vaccine company (2020).
  • Caduceus Medical Development, Ltd. (NZ), a NZ based consulting firm (2014), with offices in the US since 2010.
  • Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society (RAPS) NZ Networking Group (2018).

    Tara is a:

  • Member of RAPS
  • Recognised SME, invited international speaker and educator with RAPS;
  • Member of the Society of Quality Assurance (SQA);
  • Member of Life Science New Zealand;
  • Regulatory Advisor  to government and industry.

Commercial highlights  include but are not limited to successes in:

  • Approval of 70+ health technology products in all major markets world-wide;
  • Guiding technology innovators through the complex regulatory process resulting in viable health products;
  • Regulatory strategy and pathway development including expedited programs, from late discovery through late clinical trial and approval phases;
  • Develop and maintain positive working relationships with government agencies and key stakeholders;
  • Strategic alignment of quality management systems (QMS) to ensure start-up ventures deliver adequately compliant products; while giving the business much needed flexibility.
  • Trainer with the British Standards Institute (BSI) – European Notified Body.

In 2020 I was honoured by receiving an elected fellowship to RAPS for my significant contributions (in education and product realization to the community in global regulatory sciences) and leadership in advancing the regulatory profession.


Ju Zhang

Founder & CEO of Formus Labs

Ju is the founder and CEO of Formus Labs and a passionate believer in the power of computational biomechanics to improve orthopedic practice. Ju has a PhD in Bioengineering from the Auckland Bioengineering Institute and conducted post-doctoral research at the ABI, Imperial College London, and Stanford University on the way to building Formus Labs.



Dr Nada Signal

Associate Professor and Associate Head of Research for the School of Clinical Sciences

Dr Nada Signal is an Associate Professor and Associate Head of Research for the School of Clinical Sciences. Nada is a Principal Investigator with the Medical Technologies Centre for Research Excellence and recipient of a New Zealand Health Research Council Emerging Researcher Award (2019) and the AUT Vice-Chancellor's Award for Research Excellence-Emerging Researcher (2019). Her research focuses on innovation in rehabilitation clinical practice and the development of novel technologies to augment rehabilitation.



Assoc Prof Rocco Pitto

Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Auckland

Session: Clinical Research Brought to Life

Dr. Pitto’s clinical practice focuses on total hip replacement through both anterior and posterior approaches, and total knee replacement using computer-assisted technologies. Dr. Pitto also has extensive experience in revision total hip and knee joint replacement.

Dr. Pitto is very committed to teaching (and learning from!) residents and colleagues and has received several honours in his career.  He has received the SICOT Trainees Award in 1991, the John Charnley Award of the Hip Society in 1998, the Best Poster Award of the Hip Society in 1999, the Best Paper Award of the Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons in 2006, and the John Insall Award of the Knee Society in 2017.

Dr. Pitto is particularly active in the clinical research area of hip surgery and in the promotion of education and research in orthopaedics. 2006, he was elected President of the AO-ASIF Alumni, New Zealand Chapter (Association for the Study of Internal Fixation). He is active member of the International Hip Society and currently President of the Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons. 


Andrew Clews

Head of Health Technology at Callaghan Innovation

Session: Health Tech Activator as part of What is Happening in the MedTech Sector?

Andrew Clews is Callaghan Innovation’s Head of Health Technology and leads the sector team working to support NZ based HealthTech businesses in commercialising their R&D. Andrew represents Callaghan Innovation as part of the Consortium for Medical Device Technologies (CMDT) and sits on the steering committee of the NZ Health Research Strategy (NZHRS). As New Zealand’s innovation agency, Callaghan Innovation works with ambitious businesses of all sizes, delivering a range of innovation and research and development (R&D) services to suit each stage of their growth. Callaghan Innovation works with more than 200 Health Technology businesses via the HealthTech Activator (HTA) an initiative to deliver advice, funding support, capability building programmes and connections across the HealthTech sector. 

Andrew joined Callaghan Innovation in 2014 following more than 16 years in the US working in complex sectors as diverse as electromechanical devices and life sciences. He has a background in business internationalisation and the commercialisation of new technology, new products and new brands in complex categories. Andrew has held senior management and leadership team roles in a wide variety of organisations from major corporates to startups and IPO-focused growth companies.


Ross Pearce

Programme Manager Design at Callaghan Innovation

Session: 10 Types of Innovation

Ross is a passionate innovation leader with 30+ years of innovation leadership and product development experience focused on identifying, creating, and delivering compelling value.

Ross defines innovation as “the discipline of creating value". Throughout his career, he has helped many New Zealand and Australian businesses to achieve successful commercial outcomes through clear focused actions, practical execution, and robust innovation discipline.

He has led innovation and design efforts across a wide range of technologies and HVMS sectors that include medical, scientific, automotive, consumer, computer, electronic, security, refrigeration, marine, heating, juvenile, gaming, communication, furniture, retail, logistics, and vending.

Prior to moving into executive innovation leadership roles, Ross ran his own full-service product development consultancy in Australia for 10 years. Konstrukt was an early champion of diverse collaboration and the use of emerging digital design technologies that included advanced parametric CAD, digital visualisation, and 3D printing.

A creative strategic thinker, Ross has a passion for understanding new thinking around innovation practice and effectively adapting and applying that to help New Zealand businesses deliver profitable growth.


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