Building alliances: the importance of cross industry collaboration

Recently, we have talked a lot about collaboration and its importance in healthcare, for example in my last blog. This was reinforced last week by the King’s Fund, who held an event called Ideas that change health care, to address some of the big questions in healthcare.

There was a wide range of fantastic sessions, covering topics from the use of artificial intelligence to genomic medicine. However, the final session of the meeting was one which reinforced not only the importance of collaboration, but the importance of looking outside of our own field to do this.

We believe that by involving key stakeholders in healthcare we have the opportunity to work together to improve outcomes. What we saw at the King’s Fund were examples of how involving stakeholders from outside of healthcare can also have amazing results.

Heather Wright, from Aardman Animations (the makers of Wallace and Gromit, amongst many other things) discussed the significance of storytelling and how allegory is a powerful tool for communicating complex issues. This was demonstrated in their moving work Santa Forgot for Alzheimer’s Research UK, which tells a story about the effects of Alzheimer’s disease. Alongside this, Ed Matthews from the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design presented on the importance of inclusive design, focusing on ensuring that older people are accounted for when healthcare systems are created. These speakers demonstrated how creative and design industry perspective can add a huge amount of value to our work in healthcare.

Dr Tom Fowler from Genomic England then discussed the importance of including the public in the work of the 100,000 Genomes Project to ensure that data is appropriately used. Both Ed Matthews and Tom Fowler really demonstrated the value of including your end audience – something we have also been striving to do through our patient involvement work.

As was pointed out during the day, recent research from the King’s Fund showed that 66 per cent of adults are willing to pay more of their own taxes to fund the NHS.[1] This is an interesting insight into the public view of health, and maybe now we are in a position to start having some difficult conversations about the future of health and how we fund it. Realistically however, we can only do this if we involve all of society closely in the design and running of our health systems, and explain fully why certain decisions are made. If people are involved, they will be invested, if they are invested, they will be more open to difficult conversations.

These speakers all eloquently demonstrated the tough decisions that are ahead and how collaboration and co-creation, across society, is our best hope for ensuring health for all. Collaboration runs through our approach to work and we are always happy to discuss this, whatever challenges you are facing. So, please do get in touch.


[1]. King’s Fund. What does the public think about the NHS? September 2017.

Available at: Last Accessed 08 October 2017.