Disrupting ourselves is the first step to thriving in a new global data economy- and could transform health and care

The Disruption Summit held on 5th September was a great festival of ideas with people across the spectrum of retail, manufacturing, health, financial services, cars, homes, and education brought into a vortex of discussion on how AI, VR, AR, blockchain and other technologies would change their worlds. There were chants of ‘purpose’ over ‘profit’, ‘why’ over ‘what’ and ‘cause’ over ‘cash’.

The message was clear- uncertainty is the new normal and preparedness the new mindset to survive.  Business leaders need to get used to conducting business where ’doing’ is more important than ‘thinking’.   J C Oliver from Unlockd talked about passion trumping knowledge (‘doing the Donald’) and the need to disrupt ourselves.

And business leaders do need to disrupt themselves before they can change mindsets in their organisations.  In a world characterized by increasing complexity and uncertainty some business leaders in big companies have responded by layering yet more bureaucracy- who else but senior executives is going to address all those vexing new issues, like globalisation, digitisation, diversity and sustainability? This mindset has produced a surge in new C-level roles: Chief Analytics Officer, Chief Collaboration Officer, Chief Ethics Officer, and even Chief Happiness Officer.

But we have got to invent new paradigms.  We don’t need all these new C suite executives when companies need to get flatter and smaller and more ‘distributed’.  At a time where data and information abounds, citizens want more control over their lives, more transparency and trust.  It is clear that young people want different things in life- aspiring to do things on their terms. 

Blockchain enthusiast swear by the new ‘Community Token Economy’ coming soon to help create new digital economies (see Outlier Venture’s excellent white paper here) that  will redistribute power and wealth- and give power back to the people without the need for big corporations and their C Suite armies paying consultants and agencies telling us what to think and do.

Blockchain is now being promoted by the United Nations as a promising tool to start solving the world’s greatest problems- in democratising access to energy, aid, land, voting and healthcare.  The ID2020 Alliance—a new organization composed of UN agencies, non-profits, companies, governments, and other enterprises—isbuilding a digital ID network that would make identity personal, persistent, portable, and private. That is, it would be unique to only one person, live with a person from life to death, be accessible from anywhere, and could only be given out with permission.

Blockchain can be sued to trade any digital asset.  In the session I chaired at DISRUPTION Summit on new thinking in data powered health, we talked about data as the ‘new oil’ – the new oil that is making some companies very rich, but which we all have a stake and claim to as the world’s largest resource to change our lives for the better.   Hot on the heels of Sir John Bell’s report on the UK life sciences industrial strategy, which highlighted a very urgent need to review how companies are given access to NHS data (belonging to the British tax-paying public), we looked at how we can give power to people by giving them control over how they share their data.   We asked the question, what will happen when the normal consumer, begins to realise the value and power of their data?  Nic Oliver, CEO of People.io, does a great job at persuading us that we need to take back control (and earn money from our data that we are currently giving away for free) at a time when unfolding technologies such as blockchain and the new GDPR data regulations (coming into force in 2018) will put the citizen at the centre of data ownership.

Following the Summit, we are now convening major stakeholders across policy, technology, health and social care to look at how we can use data to improve health and care, exploring opportunities for creating data cooperatives to accelerate innovation and adoption of new technology with reference to the ‘British Data Exchange’ model, and taking learnings from other examples and other industries, especially banking. 

Please contact me on tina.woods@colliderhealth.com if you would like to get involved in this programme and other developments exploring how personal information could be traded for social good in a citizen-driven data value exchange.  The opportunities for health and care are enormous but also for the future of society.

Tina Woods