Here Tony Bowden, CEO of Helicon Health, shares his thoughts on the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator official launch event.
The Accelerator launch was split into two parts, an informal morning session for the cohort of 32 companies to learn more about the programme, and the official launch event itself.
Part one: Getting to know one another – my reflections
Apart from the interview we attended before selection, this was our first encounter with the DigitalHealth.London team and the first Accelerator cohort. I must say, I was extremely impressed by the level of expertise, enthusiasm and organisation displayed by Anna King (Commercial Director at Health Innovation Network), Jenny Thomas (Accelerator Programme Director), and the whole Accelerator team. Especially considering that there were thirty two companies invited to join the Accelerator, which is a heck of a lot to have all in one room, and that we were getting to know the team and one another on a personal basis. And who knows – to potentially work together to address the scale and complexity of the challenges within the NHS – all within a two hour session, is incredible.
Well, I’m here to tell you that it worked and worked very well. The evidence is that I now feel that the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator team is an extension of the Helicon team – and at the time of writing (just seven days later) we are working closely and continuously on addressing challenges and solving problems together on a daily basis. This hasn’t happened by accident! While I have always encouraged the Helicon team to be collaborative, or in the words of Simon Stevens ‘combinatorial’, it is great to be working with such a well-organised and collaborative group.
Jenny Thomas has obviously chosen her team well and a huge amount of thought went into designing this important first session, to get people talking and learning about one another and their companies. This was done in a really fun way – for example, interviewing someone you didn’t know and hadn’t met before and then presenting for them. That really encourages active questioning and listening, and I found the whole process exciting and stimulating. I also immediately made up my mind to get to know a few complementary companies much better, as I saw fresh opportunities opening up. Lastly, I love sport of any kind, and I particularly enjoyed the soft chuckable wireless microphone cube! It was fun to throw and catch and a very practical tool to make sure we could all hear.
Part two: The formal sessions and pitching!
The second session was inspirational. We heard how the Accelerator programme got off the ground and met some of the mentors in a panel session, and heard from Health Innovation Network Chief Executive Tara Donnelly and the senior executives.
I thought these sessions set the context very well, and I particularly liked the fact that the general feeling was that there are huge opportunities but some large challenges – and that we are all in this together to try and make it a great success. A very positive but realistic vibe!