Transforming health and wellbeing. Digitally.

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Digital transformation isn’t just about achieving greater efficiencies. It’s also about creating an environment that’s happier and healthier with better outcomes for everyone.

This is the focus of Share Cambridge on 25th April 2019.

For local authorities, central government and the healthcare sector, the biggest challenge facing us is how to achieve these better outcomes for people and communities through transformed public services – harnessing emerging technologies and data in ways that are ethical and avoid exposing people and their data to cyber security risks.

It’s well-documented that online communication can have an enormous impact on people’s wellfare. Managed properly, it can alleviate loneliness, reduce isolation and unite communities. When it comes to people’s health and wellbeing, digital transformation offers powerful opportunities. It enables intervention to take place early at a local, community level. It also allows people to be proactively involved with their own care, encouraging engagement and collaborative response and treatment freeing up resources at the expensive acute end of the system. Digitalisation and effective and secure information sharing can help people to live independently avoiding entry into the care systems. It also means people are better informed about conditions, helping to prevent illness and enabling faster discharge from hospital care.

But the opportunities are far greater than just transforming the care setting. Taking a fresh look at the determinants of people’s wellbeing can enable the public sector in the widest sense – housing authorities, leisure providers, environment, education, police, public health, alongside care organisations and health providers – to refocus their efforts on addressing the often entrenched and endemic problems in our communities. In short, digital technologies and better use of data can help to transform outcomes in collaboration with people in their diverse settings.

However, as with everything, there’s a potential downside. Digital technology also exposes people to significant risk. Cyber security and privacy breaches are a real threat and fear of negative outcomes, including data protection concerns and nervousness about technology itself, can also sometimes make end users wary of engaging with the opportunities presented.

To be successful, digital transformation needs to actively foster inclusivity. It must take into consideration existing socio-economic inequalities and actively address them to ensure services are truly available to all. It must also incorporate a means of training and educating people to ensure they have the skills necessary to reap the full benefits of the digital age.

Factors including age, gender, education and other socio-economic factors have created a digital divide. One that needs to be closed if society is to benefit fully from the positive effects of digital transformation on wellbeing. While this divide remains, digital technology will only serve to create greater inequalities and, in essence, a digital underclass. How do we close the gap between those who are fully engaged digitally and those who have limited or no access to digital technologies and their ensuing wellbeing outcomes?

Perhaps unsurprisingly, those most likely to be impacted negatively by the risks associated with digital transformation are those with lower levels of education and skills. Digital literacy is increasingly a requirement for job opportunities and a lack of appropriate skills can lead to people being trapped in poorly paid roles, never receiving the necessary training to harness the benefits of digitalisation.

It is, therefore, essential that education is a vital component of any digital strategy. In a healthy society, inequalities cannot be left to grow and fester. Education needs to be delivered from the grassroots upwards and ongoing. A passion for lifelong learning is born in the classroom and we need to see digital skills incorporated into the curriculum and viewed, correctly, as an essential timetabled subject. Young people entering the job market today need to be able to live and work in a digital world. For their whole-life wellbeing, they need cognitive skills, IT competency, specialist and general skills and the ability to adapt quickly and enthusiastically to change. In the UK, digital literacy is acknowledged as a core component of the curriculum but – in order to deliver lessons of the required calibre – teachers need intensive training too.

Socitm is committed to promoting steps to build a digitally capable workforce and to address gaps in leadership, diversity, and hard and soft skills. We want everyone to have the opportunity to gain the skills and experience required to thrive in the digital age.

We also drive the development of digital leadership in the public sector, championing the need for all leaders and managers to have a strategic vision of the possibilities and potentials of technology. By improving digital proficiency among managers and employees at all levels, we are striving to eradicate digital inequality in the work place. We champion the importance of diverse leadership and teams, including the empowerment of women, for the design of services and products that work for everyone. We are constantly researching the best and most effective ways to gain, re-train and retain people so they have the up-to-date skills needed to work creatively, productively and happily in an ever-evolving workplace.

Innovation and the sharing of excellence are vital to our vision and our operations. We know that when our members and partners come together, break-throughs are made and initiatives that make a tangible and positive difference to society are discussed and facilitated. One of our key policy areas is Health and Wellbeing and we know that, in offering opportunities for open discussion and ideas sharing, we can help shape best practice and maximise the potential of digital transformation to create a healthier, happier and more efficient world for all.

On 25th April Sam Smith, Socitm’s vice-president, is hosting Share Cambridge 2019. Focusing on health and wellbeing, the event will explore how digital transformation can help drive innovation in services supporting health and wellbeing. It will also examine how digital alignment can support service providers.

Throughout the year, we have been fortunate to work alongside our policy partner, DELL EMC, putting health and wellbeing under the microscope and examining how digital transformation really can change people’s lives for the better. DELL EMC are sponsoring this event and will be hosting a human centred design and co-production workshop focusing on the standards and platforms that are being used to deliver innovation and create new health care models​. However, Share Cambridge 2019 isn’t just for IT professionals in local government and the healthcare sector. It’s for anyone who wants to unlock the full potential of transforming people’s lives through digital transformation. Socitm public sector and NHS members can attend the event for free and there will be plenty of opportunity to network and share experiences alongside our ground-breaking speaker agenda.

Only by coming together can we equip ourselves to eliminate digital inequality and ensure everyone benefits from the improved wellbeing the technology allows. Just as digital technologies expand the boundaries of information available to people and enhance human productivity, so collaborating and sharing excellence expands the boundaries of our creativity and helps improve the health and wellbeing of us all.

Register.

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We know diversity, skills and leadership are vital to digital wellbeing. So much so that they come together to form one of our key policy themes. Policy changes people’s lives, helping them to be healthy, active, caring, vibrant, connected, inclusive, sustainable, growing, curious, creative, learning, safe and secure. Download our Diversity, skills and leadership policy briefing to discover how our vision will achieve better outcomes for all.

Transforming health and wellbeing. Digitally.

Our March Leadership Academy advocate

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Sometimes accidents occur out of the blue… but, sometimes, good things come along too, by accident.

Through our association with Socitm, together with a colleague, two members of LGSS were offered the chance to attend the Top Talent Course in December last year.

The course was expertly lead by Colin Litherland. The content was delivered with a light touch in a collaborative way that seemed relaxed but was always focused. Colin moved us effortlessly through theory, exercises, discussions and introspection. We learnt things about ourselves and our general management styles in a way that allowed each one of us to stand back and look at ourselves and reconsider. The course gave us tools and strategies to try and apply in our day to day working lives. It was also refreshing to be able to discuss more personal, thoughtful, collaborative approaches to colleagues and work situations. Dare I say it, but especially as a man in the workplace, we are often conditioned to behave in a certain way and not show a more considerate side for fear of how this might be perceived. It was refreshing to be challenged to think about these behaviours. Even the LGSS colleague I attended with, who Colin found to be a seriously hard case, had some moments of re-think and found some empathy he didn’t know he had ;D

At the end of the course, we split into two groups and each made a presentation. What struck me most was the way in which we were inspired by the course to work together, we were really motivated to do this, and how in small teams, some of us hadn’t met before, we worked effectively and collaboratively towards two excellent presentations. By sitting down together during the course and discussing openly some important issues, I got a much better understanding of every person in the group I attended with and genuinely missed the time I spent with them and missed them when the course, all too soon, ended! My journey has been complicated by an HGV ploughing into stationary traffic on the A14 and the effects this had on my brain. The SOCITM top talent course was a happy accident and I will take the learning I did on that course with me through my professional and my personal life!

By Alex Haidar
Systems Implementation Team Manager at LGSS – Cambridgeshire County Council

Our March Leadership Academy advocate

Our January Leadership academy advocate

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Empowering Women Course is of huge importance to me for a number of reasons:  it helped me to build a strong understanding of my abilities and strengths, work through my personal barriers in a supportive environment and start to look ahead, plan my future self.

During the 3-day course I went on a roller-coaster of activities that were cleverly designed and carried out by our talented course facilitators and allowed me and my fellow women to take a step back and evaluate key aspects of our careers and personal goals, learn techniques on how to deal with challenges that may prevent us from taking that brave next step.

The group activities were reinforced by 1:1 tuition from an experienced coach who worked with me on the specific challenges and together we created a plan of actions that will allow me to achieve the goals I set. This is an incredible opportunity to work with a trained professional on the areas of future development underpinned by a practical advice, which completes the whole journey of personal discovery.

Having said all that, I cannot underestimate the value of the support network we created as a group of professional and strong women who are dealing with their challenges together. We worked through some tough dilemmas and personal issues that bonded us together and I now have a group of amazing women, friends that I can call for help and advice should I need them.

The help and advice given during these sessions provided me the incredible insight into my work and personal life to allow me to be truly empowered.

Since attending the course and graduation I have been promoted within my organisation and I feel empowered to grow our internal talent, so I am passing the opportunities that have been given to me to my colleagues.

 

By Tanya Last

Our January Leadership academy advocate

Friday round-up: A week in tech (30/11/18)

Regular followers of this round-up may have noticed that I have implied on occasion that popular time-wasting exercise Facebook is run like some kind of vast international crime network.

Well, wouldn’t you know – now it’s official (sort of)!

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Appearing before a truly global hearing, and filling the giant and ominous gap left by elusive el capo Don Zuckerberg, Lord Richard Allan, Facebook’s vice-president of policy solutions, was told by MP Paul Farrelly that the thought that occurred to him was ‘racketeering’. Ouch.

Featuring inquisitive politicians from nine countries, and following the unprecedented seizure of a nest of Facebook documents by MPs on Monday, the committee grilled fall-guy-for-the-day Lord Allan – but were enraged and astonished by the continuing absence of boss M Zuckerberg.

The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee tweeted: ‘9 countries. 24 official representatives. 447 million people represented. One question: where is Mark Zuckerberg?’

Where indeed. Ecuadorian embassy?

Canadian politician Charlie Angus joined in the fun, telling Lord Allan that ‘We’ve never seen anything quite like Facebook, where, while we were playing on our phones and apps, our democratic institutions…seem to have been upended by frat-boy billionaires from California’.

Well, quite.

So, what’s going on? Well, as you probably know by now, Facebook has an interesting relationship with its users’ data, and the fuss can really be distilled into a few words: Cambridge Analytica, Brexit, Trump, Russia.

And the event’s big reveal? Discovered amongst the seized documents was an email from all the way back in 2014 in which a Facebook engineer reported that huge amounts of user data were being pulled from the social network by Russian IP addresses.

Lord Allan didn’t seem to know much about any of this mischief and said he’d get back with more info. However, since then Facebook has said it looked into the matter at the time and ‘found no evidence of specific Russian activity’. Right.

In fact, Lord Allan didn’t seem to know much at all. He couldn’t name a single instance of his firm banning apps for breaking its rules; but later that day the Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham told the hearing that Facebook informed the ICO it had banned 200 apps during the past summer alone!

If you’re still a Facebook user, I’d enjoy it while you can. I don’t think it’s going to be around much longer.

***

Now, here’s a couple of stories about various things going on concerned with China, determined as I am to be put on a dark list in some file in Beijing.

New Zealand has joined the growing list of countries to ban the use of tech built by Chinese firm Huawei, citing national security concerns.

With 5G networks being set up across the world, poor old Huawei keeps getting the bum’s rush when it knocks on the door to see if anyone wants its communications wares.

Australia has already forbidden the company from its 5G fields, while the US, UK, Germany, Japan and Korea are looking into things very closely.

It’s feared that with the line between Huawei and the nosey Chinese government being blurred at best, any kit laid down by the firm could be used for spying etc.

But perhaps there’s some good news after all: Papua New Guinea isn’t fussed and is planning to go ahead and allow Huawei to build some internet for it. Back in the summer, Papa New Guinea’s government avowed to build its own version of Facebook, so perhaps Huawei/the Chinese government can help out there, too.

What next? This isn’t much of a story but it’s mildly amusing/sinister. An AI system in the Chinese city of Ningbo spotted someone jaywalking and displayed their face on a billboard to shame them.

The only problem with this otherwise terrific scheme was that the shamed individual, Dong Mingzhu, had actually only appeared in image form on the side of a bus.

Ningbo police laughed that the silly AI system/overlord had made a silly mistake when it spotted Ms Dong’s visage in an advert. Good times.

***

Burnt-tasting coffee hawkers Starbucks has introduced a massive shakeup of its tax policies and will henceforth dutifully and happily pay its fair share.

Only joking. What the firm has actually done is pledged to block access to pornography over its free WiFi in its US shops.

Apparently, you’re not actually allowed to use its wireless to watch porn anyway – but now the firm will explicitly block its consumption.

I assume you’re thinking what I’m thinking: who on Earth would watch porn in public, in a coffee shop of all things, anyway?

Well, according to Starbucks, which has yielded to anti-porn group Enough is Enough, ‘it occurs rarely’. Thank heavens.

Enough is Enough successfully pressured McDonald’s into making its WiFi porn-tight back in 2016, and is furious that Starbucks apparently broke an earlier promise to do the same.

The group said: ‘Starbucks continues to serve up free, unrestricted WiFi to its customers, opening the door for patrons to view graphic or obscene pornography, view or distribute child pornography (an illegal crime) or engage in sexual predation activity.’

And there’s already been a reaction. According to abysmal celebrity ‘news’ site TMZ, porn website YouPorn is so incensed by the move that it has banned Starbucks products from its…make sure I spell this correctly…offices.

Not sure this is proper news, but it’s got WiFi in it so that’ll do. In the meantime, as the proscription doesn’t appear to be in force in the UK, I suppose you should take care where you sit/who you sit next to/what you touch if you happen to be visiting Starbucks.

By Max Salsbury

Friday round-up: A week in tech (30/11/18)