Innovation for Health & Wellbeing

This blog first appeared as part of a series of Scottish Government blogs on Innovation in Scotland covering the Co-Lab (orate) health and well being event at TEDx Glasgow in May 2018

It was late December when the request came via Scottish Government to do something innovative on the NHS at the TEDx Glasgow. Gurjit, the TEDxGlasgow curator convinced me we could make some magic happen. And that is how, with no team, no budget, no ideas and (no) pressure I blindly accepted the challenge.

Eight weeks later I had a bunch of sponsors, financial and in kind, and some very vague ideas of what we might be able to do.

Another four weeks passed, and I had a merry band of volunteers from all different organisations and the ideas started flowing. It was clear we all wanted to do something different, not a typical conference stand. It was also clear this was a collaborative effort across government, NHS, innovation centres, academia and SMEs. We also had Young Scot on board to ensure what we did would appeal to youngsters – my youth being well and truly behind me!

And so Co-Lab (orate) was born.

  • A collaborative across organisations demonstrating how we are collectively innovating for health and wellbeing.

  • A pop-up laboratory demonstrating interactive prototypes for innovative solutions to our health and wellbeing challenges

  • And storytelling. What do we want our future to look like and what are the stories of positive impact we can tell today?

Visitors started their journey in the 16th century understanding the significant impact Scotland has had on medical and health innovations in the last 500 years. They were then teleported into the future, developing personas – our older selves and future generations – and their expected digital needs for health and wellbeing.

This was followed by the interactive laboratory showcasing current innovations. From 3D printed organs, that even had the smell of human organs, to food allergen apps to help individuals when they are out and about.

From sight test apps for children to nurses working virtually to develop national solutions. From recording patient outcomes following cancer for tailored support to wearables for measuring patient vitals when in hospital.

With over 10 organisations with working prototypes, a range of videos, stories and interactive elements our guests got a flavour of some of the exciting innovation work being undertaken in collaboration, across Scotland, to support a healthy future.

With an estimated 1000 guests visiting the pop-up, over 30,000 twitter impressions and 3 insight boards we were able to capture thoughts, ideas, challenges and feedback from the public for health and wellbeing. And the big themes emerging?

  • Health begins with us as individuals and we need education, services and a holistic approach to enable us to manage our health and wellbeing and not rely on the NHS to patch us up

  • Mental Heath is a key priority to tackle (access to services, types of service, self management etc)

  • Tackling food poverty, and access to low priced healthy food is key for future generations

  • A need to start working differently in the NHS and challenging long-term norms

  • And Data. More uses of data, more open data, let the citizens access data so we can all benefit from the potential value held by the data

And the feedback we received? Watch the video to find out.

tammy watchornComment