NHSA Insider: February 20

A regular blog by Chief of Staff Nicola Wilson from the engine room of the Northern Health Science Alliance

Colleagues, you may remember that I ended my last ‘NHSA Insider’ piece informing of my upcoming business trip to Nice to speak at, and attend, AgeingFit 2018 – a two-day European business convention dedicated to innovation in the healthy ageing sector.

There I had the pleasure of meeting Dr Ayrat Khabibov, Head of Development at Moscow International Medical Cluster; [who, as an aside, had clearly looked at the NHSA website and asked me informed questions about our work, most notably “How does such a small core team get to be so successful at what you do?”] and chairing his panel. This was on a subject close to the NHSA’s heart ‘Meeting the Challenges of Cross-Sectoral Working with Data to Drive Innovation’.

Alongside Ayrat were Professor Patrizia D’Allessio, Professor of Cell Biology, University Paris-Sud and Blanca Jordan, Health Sector Director at ATOS. Some very exciting activity has been generated from connections I made at the convention. Firstly, making new connections with my co-panellists which will hopefully lay foundations for future collaboration and secondly an opportunity to spend time with a colleague from closer to home, Lee Omar, CEO of Liverpool’s Red Ninja. During our time in France there was a large media splash back home on a piece of AI created by Lee and his team, which is designed to cut the time it takes for an ambulance to transport a critically ill person to hospital by changing the traffic light sequence along the route.

I am very excited about the capacity this AI has for saving lives and so, true to our core aims, the NHSA has offered our support, via introductions to our network, in assisting wider adoption and spread across the North. If you would like to hear more about the plans for wider adoption of the LiFE system and be introduced to Lee and his team of bright shiny stars, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Maximising on fortuitous meetings aside, my focus on my return has been firmly placed on NHSA business planning for 2018 and reviewing and capturing our activity of the last year in preparation for reporting to HEFCE.

Let me reflect on the purpose of business planning for a moment and the importance of synthesising dreaming and doing. Thomas Edison wrote “Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing.”

I am renowned for my system-led approach of support to my CEO and the team; from heating the mug in which I have my morning coffee to ensure it stays hotter for longer to my ever-present ‘to do’ list to writing a project plan for our large deliverables. However, these characteristics require exposure to the creative and artistic minds of the team for ideas to be brought to life. It is my belief that, and attempting to answer Ayrat’s question above, for a team to be successful it requires a fertile environment where the vision and aspirations of the creative, on what can be done, are converted into successful delivery via the process of planning. When I am planning the garden in my newly built home, I shall be giving careful consideration as to where to plant a tree!

I look forward to writing again in a couple of weeks, when my focus will be on the role of women in senior business roles as we recognise International Women’s Day.

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