Leading innovation is not about the kit, it’s about the culture

17th June 2021 about a 3 minute read
"There is an over emphasis on the kit when it comes to innovation and tech. But the equipment is just the conduit to deliver digital change."

I was delighted to be asked to speak at a UK Digital Leaders Week session about effective leadership in the digital world.

It’s been a brilliant week-long online event highlighting a wide range of issues from ‘tech for good’ to digital inclusion and from encouraging more women in tech to closing the IT skills gap post-pandemic.

The points raised in my session around technology and the human touch, and the importance of inspirational storytelling, narrative and vision in leadership, are subjects close to my heart.

And of course they are core to our work at Future Care Capital (FCC) where we’re driving new ways of thinking around how digital technology can enhance patient care.

When we discuss technology and digital transformation of the workplace, much of the engagement we receive at FCC is around the kit and the technical side of digital.  But it’s the culture change aspects of digital transformation where leaders have a central role – leading change, problem solving, putting the user at the centre, tackling old problems in a new way.  

This is important in terms of leaders supporting the workforce in the use of technology, as well as in how we improve the way care is being delivered. This was highlighted in our Care Tech Landscape Review published earlier this year.

If leaders don’t get the communication right, they won’t get the culture right.

In a health and care setting making the best use of digital technology is ultimately all down to how people are ‘humanising’ that technology. And it’s about how leaders are using their interactive soft skills to shift mindsets and influence for improvement.

We’ve all seen how the pandemic has accelerated and accentuated digitisation and we’re all acutely aware of the pressures it has placed on staff, and of course leaders.

Now more than ever the concept of wellbeing needs to be at the forefront of leaders’ minds when they are supporting and developing their teams. Some do it better than others. Some don’t do it all.

A key part of the discussion in today’s session was the question of the extent to which leaders acknowledge their own needs when it comes to supporting their teams. Do they have the skills they need to do the job?

Our expectation is that leaders in health and care must and will continue to embrace this whole area of rapidly developing technology.

I was particularly taken by a point made earlier in the week by Lee Waters, Wales’ Deputy Minister for climate change, when he talked about the over emphasis on the kit when it comes to innovation and tech.

But the equipment is just the conduit to deliver digital change – and keeping that at the forefront of our minds will help us ensure that technology is used to its best effect