Embracing the technology of today to reinvent the services of tomorrow in the Public Sector

Leaders from across the Public and Healthcare sectors gathered at IBM’s GovernmentConnect and HealthConnect events to learn how the cognitive era can benefit public services. Sharon Bagshaw, VP Public Sector, IBM UK Ltd, started the day by announcing the winner of the Civil Service Millennial Challenge. Hoot is a cognitive toy owl that interacts with children to help them stay healthy through gamification techniques. A truly innovative idea from a combined team of Civil Service Fast Streamers and IBM Foundation Graduates that embraces cognitive technology to tackle childhood obesity, one of today’s most challenging societal issues.

Sharon Bagshaw and Julia Glidden, Global GM Government, IBM, then spoke about how IBM and how cognitive technology come together to transform the Public sector, asking the question, ‘What is the Government doing in the digital economy?’ IBMers and government bodies were invited to the stage to discuss their thoughts on cognitive technologies and how they can assist in transforming public services.
The debate drew out points such as:
– How digital is the current state of play, but not the end destination
– Cognitive technology embraces the unstructured data that forms ‘digital intelligence’ and will be the next big disruptor for Government and Industry alike.
– It is not a case of human vs machine but human and machine; working together, complementing not replacing.2

Victoria Ford, Head of Engagement for Government Digital Service, shared how technical transformation is the foundation of digital transformation for the UK government. Fixing it once, fixing it well and then sharing the expertise gained from any transformed service is key for all government departments as there is a need for government to be faster, smarter and more agile.

The importance of cybersecurity education was a key message delivered by Jane Cannon from the Home Office, “Cybersecurity is something that everyone needs to know about; we need to raise the general public’s awareness and get everyone contributing to it”.
The second part of the day was dedicated to Health in the UK, hosted by our own Healthcare Director, Andreas Haimboeck-Tichy. Helen McKenna from the Kings Fund kicked of the main session talking about the vision of digitising the NHS – a paper-free NHS, Bob Wachter’s recommendations and digital maturity.

Helen critically evaluated the challenges the NHS is facing, and outlined how technology can enable the NHS on its journey to digitalisation.


Paul Grundy, Chief Medical Officer for IBM, then turned the agenda to focus on patient-centred medical care. He highlighted that data is going to fundamentally drive transformation for integrated community-based care, making patients the centre of focus.3

Grundy’s talk was followed by an interesting panel discussion from IBMers and health professionals about how analytics can add real value to the user experience, citing the examples of Alder Hey Children’s hospital and the London Borough of Harrow. After the break, a discussion on the future of hospitals in combination with cognitive computing, was highlighted by Andrew Watson. This provided the audience further food for thought on deep data and digitalisation.


John Ainsworth, Professor of Health Informatics at University of Manchester, outlined that personalised medicine, supported by evidence-based decisions derived from data, will be the future of healthcare, with genomics playing a major role.

Andreas wrapped up a successful day posing the question, “How do we empower people and how do we make data work for us ?”.