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What do coffee, printing presses, margarine, electricity, refrigeration, recorded music and printing presses have in common? Err…………well according to Calestous Juma author and academic, they have all faced difficult Innovation journeys in taking root in our society. His book ‘Innovation and its Enemies’ (Oxford University Press) traces 600 years of the challenges new ideas and products have faced. Today we are looking at 3D Printing, Gene Editing, Transgenic Crops, Robotics and Drones to name but a few. I wonder where he would position the ability to make an ‘on-line’ hospital appointment or make a ‘case record’ accessible to a patient? Not in the same league you might have thought but maybe it will be as socially acceptable as coffee one day!

An interesting observation is the call to action for cross sector engagement with the Public sector taking a stronger lead in bringing industry, academics, technologists, engineers and scientists together to collaborate. Engaging the public early and getting their ‘buy – in’ to the creative process and not simply the solution is something we have yet to mobilise. Finding ways to do this isn’t necessarily difficult but does take time and imagination as well as the ability to try something new. It should’nt surprise us that organisations steeped in safe practice and Terrarium evidence based risk management are not in themselves well geared to this approach. But that’s the point really isnt it – we collaborate to acheieve things that would otherwise be unachieveable on our own. We need to bring people to the table who are different to us and celebrate that difference for the value it will add rather than reject it because it ‘doesn’t look like one of us’. Most of all we need to get our politicians ‘on board’ with this philosophy and give them the confidence to resist arguments that polarise public from private sectors. In the world of Health and Social Care collaboration is good for patients and tax payers.

This ecosytem of synergisitc activity needs to be part and parcel of our system leadership thinking and development. After all, its sat there on our doorstep. When we look at the level of ambition of Sustainability & Transformation Plans it becomes glaringly obvious that new models of care and the future sustainablity of our Health and Social Care sytems will need all the creative and innovative enterprise they can get. Academic Healh Science networks and other public sector bodies such as Local Enterprise Partnerships have a key role to play clearly in fostering this collaboration. However, the key ingredient is local leadership in all sectors and across all professional groups and we need to support their attempts to make change happen.

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