The Stanford Biodesign Program began in 2001 with a mission of helping to train leaders in biomedical technology innovation. A key feature of the program is a full-time postgraduate fellowship where multidisciplinary teams undergo a process of sourcing clinical needs, inventing solutions and planning for implementation of a business strategy. The program places a priority on needs identification, a formal process of selecting, researching and characterizing needs before beginning the process of inventing. Fellows and students from the program have gone on to careers that emphasize technology innovation across industry and academia. Biodesign trainees have started 26 companies within the program that have raised over $200 million and led to the creation of over 500 new jobs. More importantly, although most of these technologies are still at a very early stage, several projects have received regulatory approval and so far more than 150,000 patients have been treated by technologies invented by our trainees. This paper reviews the initial outcomes of the program and discusses lessons learned and future directions in terms of training priorities.