Care Innovation Challenge 2023

Released On 10th Jul 2023

Care Innovation Challenge 2023

Hosted by The National Care Forum (NCF), The Care Innovation Challenge 2023 took place 1st – 2nd July at Coventry University’s TechnoCentre.

As with previous challenges, the weekend saw leading experts in the sector exchanging ideas and working with people with lived experience, and voices from the regulatory and policy world, to provide mentorship to the participants.

Amongst those working on solutions were people from a diverse range of disciplines including software development and occupational therapy. Regardless of background, age or experience, everyone came together with the combined aim of finding innovative ways to solve challenges and maximise opportunities for providers of social care and those who depend on it.

The NCF reports that Coventry University didn’t only act as fantastic hosts but also a contingent from their research department added to the mentor numbers and brought their own academic perspectives to the idea generation sessions.

The role of new technologies was high on the agenda and Ben Hewitt, Finance Director at Marr Procurement was keen to see this being brought to the fore in the solutions that participants were working on, stating, 'The Care innovation Challenge is extremely important to keep bringing the sector forwards. Innovation is huge right now, everyone is talking about AI and tech delivery. In social care and healthcare, we seem to be a little bit behind the curve and that’s primarily because we are focussed on care delivery itself and the human touch element, but there’s a lot that technology can bring. In terms of innovation, we just need to keep pushing and bringing it forwards.'

In her usual role as master of ceremonies, NCF's Chief Executive Officer, Professor Vic Rayner OBE, kept the atmosphere of positivity and encouragement going. This included leading everyone in a singalong of ‘Thank you for being a friend’ by Tony Christie and Music for Dementia to coincide with BBC Radio 2’s campaign to shine a light on those unsung heroes who work in care and care for their loved ones.

Vic commented, 'Following another Care Innovation Challenge weekend filled with high energy collaboration in the name of social care innovation, our whole team is still buzzing and we’re so grateful for everyone’s time and contributions. The finalists picked up on all the core challenges facing social care - supporting the workforce, promoting independence, addressing isolation, getting data to support prevention and ensuring transparency around costs.'

Ben Howard, part of Team Careberry, whose project was chosen to go through to the final, said, 'We came to the challenge with an established idea and through the mentorship we received we were able improve it and our idea is now really shaping up. There are so many people here with such different experiences that our idea has grown into a massive project that we are really looking forward to working on.'

Reflecting on the potential of Team Careberry and the other finalists’ ideas, Alice Ainsworth, Deputy Director for Social Care Technology Policy in the Department of Health and Social Care, said, 'My particular interest is around digitally enabled innovation and when you start to look at the ideas that come forward, nearly all of them are data driven, so you get the best ideas and you get the best evidence from those ideas, when you have got the data to show what the impact is. I’m interested in supporting people who have passion and interest in this area – to help them bring ideas to the surface, so we can help them to be heard.'

For the five finalists it now all comes down to the next few months and the continued mentorship they will receive as they prepare for the final at The Care Show at the Birmingham NEC on 11th and 12th October. Meanwhile, applications have opened for The Care innovation Challenge 2024! Visit the Care Innovation Hub website and follow #CareInnovationChallenge for ongoing updates and the final reveal of the winning project.

In other news, Housing Minister Rachel Maclean MP has committed Government to introducing mandatory disclosure of event fees in retirement housing.

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