There’s nothing wrong in taking your design cue from Apple, seeking something more sophisticated in its operation yet sleek, cost-effective and easy to use. As Cheryl Powell, the Beacon Journal medical writer, reported this week, that is the aim in applying “value-driven engineering” to medical devices. It is what brought nearly 300 people to Akron, putting their minds together to enhance medicine for doctors and patients.

All of it had another purpose, the Austen BioInnovation Institute looking to elevate its profile, and that of the city, as a center, or “place,” for innovation in biomaterial devices. Count as a mark of accomplishment the impressive cast that gathered here, the leaders in the field.

Again, Apple offers a clue about the direction. As Powell relayed, you may pay more for the device to treat scoliosis, now in development by Apto Orthopaedics. What the patient gets in return is one surgery instead of many painful operations. In other words, the outcome is better, and even less costly for the long term.

The BioInnovation Institute hardly is alone in the pursuit. What the conference confirms is that the institute is getting noticed, the local collaboration among the hospitals and universities, the building on strengths such as polymers. Now the challenge is to keep moving ahead, public and private partnerships developing, the city and the country becoming more competitive.