On the 5th February 2020, we launched Technology for Good – Community Think Tank at the Microsoft Reactor in London. Over 60 innovators joined us on the day to take part in our launch.
Thank you so much to all the attendees who sparked plenty of interesting discussions around technology and its application to people with neurological conditions.
The event was hosted by Sharon Curtis – Founder of Technology for Good – Community Think Tank CIC and our Think Tank Ambassadors Lucy Grimwade, Jonathan Curtis and Gosia Szewckuk.
Sharon Curtis talked talked about setting up the Community Think Tank, inspired by her sons diagnosis, and finding out about the struggles of others with neurological conditions. She wanted to look at how technology could be used to make the lives of people living with neurological conditions better.
Sharon discussed how the needs of people with neurological conditions for healthcare, education and social care were not being met, and the need for wider and inclusive collaboration to address these issues.
The event introduced the concept of Community Think Tank “Bright Sparks” to get people together with different experiences, expertise, insight and knowledge to help innovate and enable future technology.
Also introduced were the key values for the Community Think Tank and why these are important: to be inclusive, creative, collaborative and ambitious.
The Community Think Tank priorities were shared, supporting independent living, enable access, support well-being and enable research.
1 – Supporting independent living
Supporting independent living is about technology that can support people with neurological conditions to live well independently, whether that is a smart device in the home, technology that checks that the person is safe and hasn’t had any falls, tracks their whereabouts if they wander, or helps them with everyday living tasks or organization skills, enabling them to feel more confident about being able to manage more independently.
Most people want to be able to live independently but for some, it is a real struggle, or impossible. The alternatives might be living with a carer or living in a home that might be undesirable for that person.
As far as technology goes there is a real opportunity for smart devices, apps and technology to help with everyday living. The Community Think Tank will identify gaps where technology could give people the tools to enable independent living.
2. Enable Access
Many people take for granted that they will be able to access healthcare when they are unwell or have an injury, that their children will be able to have an education provided, that they will be able to go to the gym, take part in a football team or gain employment, but this is not necessarily so easy for people with neurological conditions.
This priority is about Enabling access to healthcare, education, employment, social care, and the community.
3. Support well-being
Ensuring good mental health and well-being needs to be a priority for people with neurological conditions.
According to the charity Mind 1 in 4 people will suffer a mental health condition at some point in their lives. If you have a neurological condition not only is this statistic much higher, it can be more challenging to get effective help.
The effects of poor mental health can be devastating and we are all aware of just how challenging they can be to solve.
This is a real technological growth area, there are apps to track fitness, apps to track our mood, apps to help with meditation and access to support networks via technology. This technology could be adapted to suit people with neurological disabilities better whilst still keeping vulnerable people safe.
4. Enable Research
A lot of the time we don’t have answers to why the patient responds in certain ways to treatment. We don’t know what the outcome is likely to be of various therapies for individuals, or which drugs are most likely to be successful where there are co-occurring conditions.
This can be made particularly hard if the person is non verbal or or is unable to advocate for themselves, as they are sometimes not able to give us feedback on how the treatment or intervention is working, or making them feel.
Technology offers the opportunity to collect some of this data visualise this on a more personalised basis and provide real insight so that individuals, healthcare professionals and researchers that can use to make smarter healthcare decisions and further knowledge and research for the future.
Our first focus for our Community Think Tank
Later on in the evening the group voted in our first Community Think Tank vote for our first focus. We are happy to announce that the first of our events will be focused around our priority to “Enable Access”.
We will be shaping the brief of our first sessions, talking about enabling access on our podcast and on the technology for good site and then announcing our innovation events soon.
Community Think Tank Process
We shared the Community Think Tank process with the group. Specifically how the Community Think Tank will take these priorities, enable ideas, create innovative technology and enable people with neurological conditions to use that technology to improve their lives.
How to get involved in our Community Think Tank
We discussed some some of the ways to get involved with the Community Think Tank.
- Connecting with us, on the technologyforgood.co.uk where you can sign up to our newsletter
- Participate on our facebook group
- Join our events on meetups
- Follow on twitter, or our soon to launch podcast, linked in or on Instagram.
- Join in with the Community Think Tank as a Bright Spark at one of our events.
- Help shape the agenda of our innovation by providing input into our briefs and reports.
- Share your stories and technology that is making a difference to people with neurological conditions by being a contributor on technologyforgood.co.uk or speaking at one of our events.
- Help with fundraising, awareness, event sponsorship or running events.
- Once we have funding for a project there will be opportunities to join a “Bright Sparks” delivery team or take part in community reviews.
- Help us promote and share a new technology that the Community Think Tank has produced.
We were joined at our launch by Georgia Harper from the Embracing Complexity Coalition. Georgia explained how 50 neurological charities and organisations are getting together to collaborate on key projects and their research so far.
The Embracing Complexity presentation is available to download here.
ORCHA – Helping address the barriers to digital healthcare uptake.
We were also joined by Saira Arif from ORCHA who shared with us how they are helping address the barriers to digital healthcare uptake and adoption and how they are empowering people to actively use and embrace digital health.
Saira covered the sheer number of healthcare applications that are available and how they go about ensuring that they are safe and secure for patients. She explained how ORCHA rates and review each app to help patients and professionals choose the apps that will help them.
Saira also explained that ORCHA run workshops for app developers to help them meet the regulatory requirements.
The slides for Saira’s presentation are here
Next Steps for The Community Think Tank
We are delighted to have launched Technology for Good – Community Think Tank and excited to work on our first focus “Enable access”
Our next steps will be to publish our project overview for the Community Think Tank. This will outline our project purpose, strategic direction and objectives.
Once our initial project overview is drafted the Community Think Tank will.
1 – Research and scope our first priority “Enable Access”.
2 – Produce a report on technology that is currently available and what the challenges and the gaps are. We will be publishing articles and discussing this priority in greater depth on our podcast.
3 – Produce an innovation brief for “Bright Sparks” team.
4 – Recruit a “Bright Sparks” team to take part in our events.
5 – Run our innovation sessions and hackathons.
6 – Agree a worthwhile project with the Community Think Tank.
7 – Pursue funding via crowd funding, grants or fundraising.
8 – Create a “Bright Sparks” delivery and community review team to deliver the solution.
9 – Launch and promote projects and ensure our technology is rolled out and can help people with neurological conditions live better lives.
If you would like to get involved in the Technology for Good – Community Think Tank. Please sign up on our meet up group page and feel free to contact us directly about the project firstname.lastname@example.org