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Krista Donaldson: The $80 Prosthetic Knee that’s Changing Lives

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Krista Donaldson: The $80 Prosthetic Knee that’s Changing Lives


The Knee market is a market of 9.87 billion USD and this market is growing at the rate of 5.3% annually. There are a variety of knees available in the market that ranges from 20000 USD to 1400 USD, and these both are out of the coverage limit of a person who spends less than $4 in a day. The problem discussed in the case study is about the innovations in $105 knee that has been introduced by D-Rev with Krista Donaldson. The available, affordable knee was the Jaipur knee ($ 105) which lacked in comfort of the user that generated the need of innovation to produce better and effective. The company aims at doubling the market in the coming 3 years with the aim to serve a huge section of the needy.

How does Krista Donaldson specifically demonstrate an entrepreneurial mindset?

An Entrepreneur Mindset is the ability of the person/ organization to reach the customers first and finding a new market for a new/ existing product. The problem in this case was recognized by Krista Donaldson, the store manager made Krista think about innovating for the people and making them able to use the technology. This made the mindset of Krista, to develop and innovate in the medical device industry. The main customer segment was the poorer section of the population who were spending less than $ 4 a day. The product was made by thinking in a way that creates value to the users by paying less amount for the same, because the available knees were costly and those which were inexpensive were lacking behind in meeting the requirements of the people.

The earlier knees were having 4 main problems:


  1. Noisy: The initial prosthetic knee was noisy which means when the users sit of shows any movement, the clashing of the rods creates a huge sound that tends to be disturbing for others.
    2. Unstable: The knee was unable to create stability and it was tough for the users to walk with ease.
    3. Sharp edges: The knee’s edges were sharp and can be easily identified even when the user wears anything, due to dynamic sitting style some users were seen wrapping bandages around the knee to make it look and feel smoother, this was creating an uncomfortable situation for the users of that knee.
    4. Non- Durable: The knee invented earlier was not durable and the focus was drawn to make the knee more durable in the next version.

    How does Krista Donaldson adopt theories of creativity to solve the specific problem?


Every product requires innovation to stand in the market. Here in this case, the problems mentioned above were realized and a decision to make an effective and efficient knee that can perform almost every task that a high-end knee could do was made. For any creativity the main focus is upon three things: (Sternberg 1985, 1988B and Sternberg and Lubart 1995).

1. Analytic: The Analytics in this way means the development of the mechanism of the knee. it should be designed to aid the helpless people to stand their own by overcoming all the bottle necks discovered in the earlier versions.

2. Synthetic Ability:  The ability of the to think and generate undiscovered points is the Synthetic ability. The discovery in the third version made the users stand on their own by improving stability is the justifiable practice of synthetic ability.

3. Practical ability: It is the quality to complete a specific task. The innovation in the creation of the third version by omitting the earlier faced short comings is counted under Practical ability.

Krista Anderson followed these theories of creativity along with the mindset of accomplishing three main aspects that includes World Class, Obsessed, and Market Place.

How does Krista Donaldson show an innovative approach to meeting a customer need?

The innovation in the Jaipur knee to produce a better version was the innovative approach. This was done by understanding the problems faced by the users (as mentioned and explained above Noisy, unstable, Sharp edges, non-Durable) and solving them to make a better version of it. The new $80 knee was having a noise cancelers to omit the disrupting sound of the Jaipur knee and the edges were made smooth so that it won’t be identifiable to the people, the next innovation was made in the mechanics of the knee to make it more stable and the focus was made on the durability of the product so that more and more users can enjoy the benefit of a low cost efficient prosthetic knee.

The few key features of the product are listed under:
• The knee was light weight so that it becomes easy to operate.
• The knee was made water-resistant
• It ensures high performance
• The main feature was Affordability i.e., $80
• The knee enables high range of motion. It allows to move 165 degrees
• The design made was universally acceptable and user friendly.

Recommendations and Conclusion

The Study was about the innovation in the prosthetic knee that was made in the Medical device industry, the product mainly aims at providing prosthetic knee to those who spend less than $4 a day. Krista Donaldson identified the problems in the earlier versions of Knees and decides to innovate the new knee as per the requirement of the people. This was the first version made for world-wide. There are still 80% of the Amputees that do not have access to a prosthetic knee. Below some recommendations have been made to make the product even better and accessible.

1. The foremost consideration regarding this prosthetic knee is awareness, the people in need are still unaware of its presence, people are still unaware that a prosthetic knee worth $ 80 is available. There are only 596 units of amputees fit to the needy. Hence the company should focus on the Marketing techniques.

2. There should be a proper training planned for fixing the knee and skilled personnel should be given training to fix the knee in the legs of the patients so that a huge number of people could be served (as mentioned by Krista).

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