And so our Digital, Innovation, Creativity and Enterprise module concludes with one final conference themed ‘Get Digital.’ Following the hustle and bustle of our gamification poster presentations, held mere minutes beforehand, it was a relief to finally sit down and undertake the last element of our module. The digital age is one that has taken the world by storm, and the following three speakers were here to give us an insight into their work in this fast-paced innovative working environment:
- Dr. Johnny Walker – CEO & Founder of Health Founder
- David Erixon – Head of Digital and Customer Innovation @ Ulster Bank
- Alistair Croll – Author of “Lean Analytics” & Public Speaker
Dr. Johnny Walker
First to take to the stage was Dr. Johnny Walker, a clinically active Interventional Radiologist & Nuclear Physician, International Medical Entrepreneur & Mentor whose m
ain goal is to disrupt healthcare for the better. He is also the founder of “Health Founders,” an international organisation made up of innovative thinkers and advanced technologies focused mainly, as mentioned previously, on disrupting the current healthcare ecosystem.
“From performing ultrasound scans in the Australian outback to starting global medtech empires, Dr. Johnny Walker has his finger on the digital pulse.”
– John Kennedy, siliconrepublic.com
The word ‘disrupt’ really was used quite a lot throughout the talk. It was evident that emphasis was purposefully placed on this word as the current healthcare system was contradicted and rigorously questioned throughout the talk, posing many questioning thoughts in the audience’s mind.
“We need to look, listen, design, disrupt, transform.”
Walker outlined that it is majorly flawed, unsustainable and inefficient in the rapidly evolving world of today. His solution to this problem was the creation of ‘Health Founders’, a step towards gathering like-minded innovative people together in order to generate and implement new ways in which people can make us of an efficient healthcare platform. Their answer to this gap in the market is ‘Jinga Life.’
“At Jinga Life we are driven by one purpose; to change the way we care for people on the planet by using simple, compelling technology to help them care for themselves in their own homes.”
A Jinga digital family life tree is a cloud based personalised health monitoring system which is accessible by each member of the family. It is maintained and managed by the true curator of care within a family, the Jinga. I was incredibly impressed by the idea of the healthcare system moving in such a digital direction, an idea that has never crossed my mind before.
Not only do places like the hospitals and GPs need to see a drastic change, but so do pharmacies. Walker pointed out that they have not developed their premise design in decades and, having thought about it, it was quite shocking to come to the realisation that such an integral element of society has not adapted to the constant changing world of today.
“Pharmacies need to disrupt their own industry…or else someone from outside will come and do it for them.”
In the words of Johnny Walker, “The robots are upon us, guys.” It is clear that technology will not cease to continuously evolve over the coming years, and with ideas as impressive as Walkers’, I am certain t
hat the future of the healthcare system is about to get exciting. I am, without a doubt, actively looking forward to see what the future holds for Jinga Life and Health Founders.
Erixon is the Head of Digital and Customer Innovation at Ulster Bank. He outlined that he is Swedish and stated that less than 2% of Sweden’s value of transactions happen with actual physical money. It’s interesting what’s going on in Sweden, as he believes it is a prediction of what will begin to happen in other countries. I found this statistic intriguing as it is a significantly low percentage of people utilizing monetary items other than electronic ones. It was a bit of a wake up call for me to realise that these changes are occurring right this moment.
Apple Pay is Ulster Bank’s innovative response to this here in Ireland. It involves using an Ulster debit, Visa or Mastercard credit card and an Apple device to make transactions, intertwining the fact mentioned previously in regards to monetary exchange moving towards technology. One can make contactless payments in shops, pay with a single touch within apps and use Apple Pay to make online purchases.
‘22Seven’ is a similar enough app that was talked about as it has a strong correlation to the topic of digital money management. It is a cloud based money management system developed to help you view and utilise your money efficiently and effectively. It lets you see your money all in one place and will guide you and give you tips for smart money management along the way. The video that follows explains this fantastic new development, based in South Africa, in more detail.
The connection between Walker’s Jinga Life and Erixon’s example of 22Seven really encapsulated the direction in which the world is moving, where both ideas are shifting towards cloud based software and cutting out the middleman.
Discontinuity is a word that was repeated vehemently throughout the talk by author of ‘Lean Analytics’, Alistair Croll. Discontinuity is defined as “unpredictable, unforeseen, natural or man-made sudden change,” by BusinessDictionary.com, and this is held valid in relation to the relationship between technology and the world around us.
70% of North Americans lived on a farm at one point in time. Today, less than 1% do so. This is a statistic that puts a lot of things into perspective. Primarily, the rise in technological developments has cause people to move away from this kind of lifestyle. This is one type of discontinuity.
The digital revolution necessitates, but also makes possible, radical changes in how and what we learn. (Kafai, 1996)
Croll described a statement such as, “I can’t imagine my life without my phone”, a discontinuity. Once upon a time, this would not have been the case. Smartphones have become a prosthetic brain to a large portion of the world’s population and this is a pretty frightening thought.
Some points that I found particularly interesting are the ways in which innovation brings about unintended consequences. For example, the invention of the personal computer was brought about with the aim of moving away from the use of paper and to focus mainly on the use of the digital elements provided. However, the demand and utilization of paper has increased dramatically ever since along with the introduction of personal printers, as that eased the process of handling notes, etc. A statement that stuck with me is that sometimes it is unintended consequences, such as these, that appeal to a market the most.
As a business student and aspiring entrepreneur, these points and examples planted numerous thoughts and ideas into my head that I will undoubtedly generate further. The three talks combined made for an informative and stimulating two hours that I thoroughly enjoyed.
Looking back on all DICE conferences, I realise just how much food-for-thought I have been fed, and I am thankful for having had the opportunity to get to listen to all the fantastic speakers we were presented with over the course of our DICE module.
I will certainly be keeping an eye on the progress and business developments of a multitude of the speakers that I have written about over the course of my three blogs and I hope that you have enjoyed the account of the various talks as much as I did!
A big thank you to Roisin Lyons and Darren Greene for all the work put in throughout the course of the previous nine months to make this module a success!