ENO; OPERA FOR ALL. It has always been thus…


We look with pleasure and amazement at the past 50 years of English National Opera  at their Gala Performance earlier this week.


I am fifteen years old. My cousin – who is at least five years older and a real Student – calls me. “Hey – I have two tickets for The Mastersingers. Wanna come?”


I don’t know what a Mastersinger is – and I say so. “It’s an Opera”, he says. I don’t know what one of those is either, but now is not the time for that discussion. “Sure” – I say: – “I’ll come straight from school”. The performance starts at 5pm apparently. It means catching the suburban bus, the local train into london, the tube to Islington. The place is somewhere called Sadlers Wells.


I hadn’t given much thought to this. Only when I got to the opera venue did I realise that The Mastersingers is some five hours long. It means hitching a ride back home through London. A local taxi picked me up somewhere in the street as I started walking. I’m sure there are laws about this sort of thing nowadays. I told my Mum the next morning I had a wonderful time.


I didn’t have a wonderful time. I had a change of life experience. I saw people singing and creating a life ambience – from nothing. I felt emotions I never knew existed. I discovered I could go to the pub on the corner and buy a shandy, no questions-asked. I could wear my jeans at somewhere posh. I could visualise a new musical dimension.


My cousin called me some 50 years later. “Did you get those tickets for the new production of The Mastersingers?.” This time, we are the ENO Coliseum, the grandeur, the sense of a journey as the orchestra starts to play – has not lost any of its ability to stir up excitement.


And that is the secret of ENO Opera for All. Once you walk through that door – there is no turning back.


The idea espoused by the current ENO Management that this is some new concept – is beautiful in its outreach, but it misses the point that ENO was always this. The only difference is not concept but one of scale.


The ENO Gala Performance brought together established Artists, but also showcased the upcoming Harewood Performers, who are every bit as exhilarating, – and finally focussing on the latest ENO prodigy who is still at School just finishing GCSEs. The future of ENO belongs to the new people, who are young enough to have completely new ideas and ambitions, better and newer communication skills.


Key at ENO is to be the Family. The Drop Off point at whatever stop you have reached on your opera journey. This is not a London based chic concept for SW1 – this is for pan -UK.


I sat next to two people at the Gala, who by total chance are the neighbours to my Music Professor when I was at Uni. We had never met before, but it was like a meeting of old friends, the strands of common ground, across different generations.


I took a moment of thought; if only my new neighbours in the Stalls had been there all those fifty years ago – perhaps they could have given me a ride home?
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Can We Celebrate 70 Years of the NHS?


As increasing numbers of ordinary people move away from this cherished institution – we ask the question – why do they do so?

This is not about private medicine and public services. The UK NHS and its principle guardian of healthcare – free to all – at the point of delivery – is the cornerstone of just about every UK and European belief that healthcare is a public right – not something that you only get if you can afford it.

Fair enough.

The problem is when you put that into practice for the ordinary lives of people like you and I. The principle might be ok but – well, if other places are offering something better, and its within our price range, we are going to choose whatever that something else is.

And so they do.

At the recent Employee Benefit Fair in London just a couple of weeks ago, of the 115 Exhibitors, some 30% were all offering private walk in Doctors facilities.  And the services they were offering were better, than their NHS counterparts, particularly in areas that can be monitored remotely by smart technology on the wrist of all of us. As the provision of healthcare moves away from hospitals into a more community based environment, if for just a few bucks a  month, say you can have your diabetes monitored every day, in real time – or your heart and blood pressure similarly managed – does it matter that you never get to see a real Nurse?  All you want is the Nurse to call you when things look wrong – and for you to be able to drop by as you pass thru the local train station en route to work.

So why do so few NHS Hospitals and CCGs want to adopt similar practices?

The problem is twofold; if we can  solve a specific problem, with  technology, using half the nurses – then we can schedule the remaining nurses somewhere else where there is a greater need. Except that clinical grass roots staff have a fear of change and a fear of losing their job. And Managers have a fear of losing their nurses – and their silo based budgets.  As long as they have lots of people coming through those hospital doors – the money will keep rolling in.

And second – we regularly get emails and responses from NHS senior Managers saying;  “Sure, come by for a conversation, but not for a conversation that means we have to do something”. There is this misplaced belief among so many NHS Managers that as things have always been done this way – then life will continue to be done this way.

Not any more.  

We are seeing already that the public is voting with its feet. Sure, its a small beginning – but its a beginning none the less. As a senior more enlightened NHS Director told me – “we cannot keep trying to squeeze 100 appointments into the time reserved for only 40”.

There will become a time, sooner rather than later, when the public itself will start to wonder why they are paying any money for public healthcare at all. By then of course, it will be too late.

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Charisma. Either you’ve got it. Or you haven’t.

We look at the growth of the Park Annual healthcare forum in Gothenburg and ask – why is it so successful?

It’s a question of how you measure success. There are talking shops, and there are talking shops. For Iris Ohrn, Investment Advisor at Business Region Goteborg, the emphasis is as much on the “shops” (ie the actual business quotient), as it is on the “talking”. She is eager to support all companies interested in the Gothenburg innovation system. Although she can have a chat with anybody she certainly prefers and enjoys discussing concrete business and investment opportunities in Gothenburg – based companies. The chat – is not the end, but the means to an end.

It is a subtle distinction that can easily be lost in the informality of the Park Annual event itself. There are many “Life Science”. Forums out there. The secret sauce of Park Annual is not focusing on trade, investments or scientific research as such. It focuses on gathering all groups ex. entrepreneurs, scientists, innovators, companies and investors in the heart of Göteborg and get them to network and be inspired in a very relax by effective way. Entrepreneurship and innovation are one of word that best describes the event and that could differentiate it from other also good events. Usually start-ups and innovators are the starts of the event.

What Iris says is; “It provides a great forum for debate. You leave the event with a very positive feeling. With that feeling that you are not alone and that is great fun to be part of the Innovation system.”

And it is indeed true – there are indeed similar events. The NJ Pharma Hub; and PACT in Philadelphia come to mind, where both of these have the advantage of zillion times larger population. But that may not be an advantage. Sweden is a small and export dependent country. It is home, so to say, to just 0.13 per cent of the global population. Which means that, in order to succeed, its companies need to be born global and more focussed.

Iris continues: “ Our products compete on the global market from day one as our internal market is very limited, despite our purchase power. We top most lists when we talk about innovation and competitiveness. We do not compete by market size but by the quality of our products. Our formula is collaboration, collaboration at all levels, small and large companies, public and private sector, universities, hospitals and patients. Most of our success relies on our capacity to collaborate. Now, more than ever, cross-sectorial collaboration is our focus. Digitalization and the rapid technological development are disrupting most industries.”

But probably the key missing ingredient is not just the mix of University supporting industry backed by Government It is more the qualification of what constitutes success that we mentioned above. And it is two fold – sure, there are commercial yardsticks, performance indicators. But underlying all of that is the understanding that Park Annual is a healthcare forum. The basic raison d’être is eradicating diseases. Park Annual has its heart in it.

Park Annual is on the 27th Sept 2018 at Sahlgrenska Science Park Sweden.

A Better Way To Get To Hospital…

Here’s a clever idea, sent to us by Susan Lewis on behalf of the Formativ Health  company, the beauty of which is its simplicity. You wonder why nobody else thought of this.

If you’ve got to go to hospital – then you want the simplest way to do it. It is reasonable to assume that you are probably sick.  The one thing you don’t want is the hassle of parking the car. Hospitals have volunteers for this sort of stuff, to get you there. But what if you could just dial a ride, so to say, from someone who is already going? Have a read of this great announcement:

“Formativ Health, a technology-enabled health services company focused on transforming the patient-provider experience, announced today it has entered into an agreement with Lyft, the fastest-growing rideshare company in the U.S.

Formativ, whose technology and services support physician practices, hospitals, and health systems, will work with Lyft to integrate Concierge into its Patient Engagement Platform (PEP). Through this integration, Formativ’s 250+ Patient Engagement Specialists can schedule non-emergency Lyft rides for patients directly through its PEP platform to provide Lyft rides in 40+ States. Lyft rides can be ordered on-demand or in advance, and patients don’t need to be a Lyft user to take advantage of the service.

The PEP, which leverages the Salesforce HealthCloud, is the core of Formativ’s technology offering, enabling improved patient-provider experiences when combined with their team of highly trained Patient Engagement Specialists. Formativ’s PEP solution includes enterprise-wide scheduling functionality that enables improved appointment inventory visibility and features automated waitlist, online self-scheduling and many other key practice management capabilities.

According to a 2017 study by the American Hospital Association, nearly four million patients per year miss out on care, due to lack of available transportation options related to cost or geographic barriers. These missed appointments make it difficult for patients to get the care they need, and this partnership is one way to make it easier for provider organizations to cut that number down.

“For many patients, access to reliable transportation can be the biggest hurdle in getting them to the doctor’s office. Formativ partnered with Lyft to enable our team of patient engagement specialists to book on-demand or scheduled rides for the patients we serve on behalf of our clients, addressing some of the negative social determinants of health, decreasing barriers to care and making life that much easier for patients,” explained David Harvey, chief technology officer at Formativ.

Lyft was founded in June 2012 by Logan Green and John Zimmer to improve people’s lives with the world’s best transportation. Lyft is the fastest growing rideshare company in the U.S. and is available to 95 percent of the US population as well as in Ontario, Canada. Lyft is preferred by drivers and passengers for its reliable and friendly experience, and its commitment to effecting positive change for the future of our cities, as the first rideshare company to offset carbon emissions from all rides globally.

New York City-based Formativ Health is a technology-enabled health services company focused on transforming the patient-provider experience. Their services help health systems, provider groups, and payors respond to the rise of consumerism by combining powerful technology with an empathetic approach to customer service. Formativ helps clients enhance their patients’ experience, adapt to evolving risk-based payment models, improve financial performance, increase practice productivity, and elevate physician satisfaction and patient loyalty. For more information, visit http://www.formativhealth.com or on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20180907005060/en/

IS DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION MISSING THE POINT?

We focus on the upcoming IP Expo Europe Conference at Excel London  and ask the question – are consumers being left behind? 

If so, this would be a pity. It is no coincidence that IP Expo Europe is just a few days before the Chinese IRC Retail Conference also in London, whose view is;  With the challenge of slowing retail sales, international expansion is key to maintaining double-digit growth.

The emergence of the Chinese eCommerce market, in a country whose GDP is constantly growing, is a clear opportunity to Re:Generate retail. Today’s QiXi day – the Chinese equivalent to Valentine’s day – is poised to generate record growth in international eCommerce sales. In other words, ECOMMERCE can drive retail.

The problem is, that’s not how ordinary people are viewing this. It’s not just Consumers, although there is  a dawn of realisation in the minds of the general public that the great benefit of online retail might also be killing the social high street that binds society together.  Maybe going shopping wasn’t so bad after all?  When one third of all the things that people buy online, are routinely returned to their sender – and there are more charity shops than thriving retailers – perhaps we are missing something in the way we describe and market “digital transformation”. Transformation might not necessarily be for the better.

The same feeling is also spreading into our public sectors; increasingly we are seeing new “digital transformation” labelled projects, that are little more than typing our patient records into someone’s Windows 7 desktop.  The NHS has “ringfenced” (oh please, don’t be naive) – money for “digital transformation” that will simply throw money at projects its hospitals were going to do anyway.  Digital Transformation is great PR.

At a time when emails no longer carry the same immediacy as they originally did – and it is now better to communicate sending something called a Letter in the mail – are we missing the point in thinking that everybody of course knows what blockchain is? Or are we blinded by selling technology to ourselves, when we are forgetting that what people want are the benefits of said technology? What that  technology is  – is irrelevant.

And that’s the point. IP Expo Europe  is not addressing consumers. It is a platform for the vendors of said technology, to show us the best ways of delivering business benefit.  We as “consumers” of technology should know how to translate that into something our own customers will understand. But to get there – we need the face to face, the casual conversation, the in depth presentation – with our peers – that will show us better ways to get where we ourselves need to go.

This may in turn reflect back into our struggling retail market, as long as it is a catalyst for methodology change, marketing people to get together. In short, the key to overall success, is a mix of the two -ECOMMERCE drives face to face retail.

We expect the greater awareness of vendors and delegates at IP Expo Europe will bear fruit in the change in the way vendors market what they do, and organisations handle their consumer data, in particular, becoming more open to international business – which will in turn drive the very retail sectors that are under pressure. 

If so, then Digital Transformation can start to create social good in the very areas that have been left behind. 

The Future Shapers. Protecting Your Assets

Information per se is not important. What drives our world, is access to the right information. We interview TheFutureShapers Director, Richard Copland about the growth and need for relevant information in our business.

We have some strange ideas about ownership. You wouldn’t ever consider walking into a supermarket, pick up a bar of chocolate, eat said chocolate, and only pay the girl at the till if you happen to like the chocolate. You would never go to a football game and only pay for the ticket if your team win.

Then again, if you listen to some music and want to buy that song – you wouldn’t think twice about giving some of that price to the composer and artist, would you. Or maybe you would? Yet the storms that greeted the music industry in its protection of musicians rights and copyright, are as of nothing, to the market that is open to the protection of yours and my IP whenever we create and publish a good idea, a new piece of code.

TheFutureShapers publishes relevant and highly insightful Articles, about key markets and industries where technology will make a difference. As an impartial and disinterested hub of knowledge, Futureshapers looks to publish the insight that others miss.

Yet in many ways, TheFutureShapers has transformed from being a high level crystal ball with far sighted reach – to an organisation that has stumbled on a genuine market need that will make it and its investors a fortune. The knowledge that it disseminates, itself has a value greater than merely the access to it, and the people who have created such knowledge should be rewarded.

The Ethereum Smart Contract technology is a blockchain based solution that manages the IP of the ideas and technologies that you create. It gives you ownership and therefore a value, for the work you have put in, the thought processes that you have developed over time.

Like all good ideas, its simplicity has the same financial needs to come to market, as any Start Up. Enlisting the support of you and I to invest financially, fits the modus operandi of being a solution to cater for all.

So far via Crowdcube, the company has raised nearly £50k. Target is £200,000. This puts the company in the public domain as far as proper visibility is concerned.

TheFutureShapers can be viewed by linking direct into the Crowdcube website; https:// http://www.crowdcube.com/companies/the-future-shapers/pitches/qay2mq

AND NOW FOR THE RUSH OF PUBLIC SCRUTINY…

The recent Presentation from John Keyes at the DAMA event #LifeWithGDPR2018 – drew a lot of attention.

We are going to publish the key points in brief – but what is becoming crucial for companies, is to have a rapid and foolproof and automated way – to deal with the requests for private information that are going to flood to all of our corporates that deal with the public.

Recently  launched, is  a relevant solution called ALTADA – http://www.altada.com – which is an eloquent and seamless way to deal with this issue. Please see their website. But here are the key points…

And remember, we haven’t even gone two months yet since GDPR first came into play.

* 169% increase in Weekly “Breach Notifications” since May 25th. Up from Avg 54 per week in 2017, to 145 per week in 4 weeks from May 25th

* 54% increase in weekly “Complaints and Enquiries”

* Upcoming E-Privacy regulation – Direct Marketing will require “consent”. The current perception that some companies have that they may use “Legitimate Interest” as the legal basis for Direct Marketing is unfounded.

* Article 6: “Legal Basis”
The 1st question the DPC ask when a concern is raised: “What is/was the legal basis for processing”

* Article 12: Transparency.
“I havn’t seen a Data Privacy Notice that complies with Article 12 yet”

It will be interesting to see how these stats pan out over the year – It would be great if John and the DPC could publish them regularly on their website….