A new era of digital leadership

Andrew Greenway profile picture

13 July 2020

Andrew Greenway
Founding Partner
Public Digital

We've just started working with NHS Providers, the representative body for NHS trusts. Over the next three years, together we'll be delivering digital development sessions for NHS trust boards all over the country. Last week we released our first guide. It's called A new era of digital leadership.

We’ve said 'new era' because digital transformation isn’t new to health. Every trust has taken on technology projects and digital initiatives. All have seen some benefits, all have got some scars. There’s an argument to be made that no sector stands to gain more from internet-era ways of working and technology, yet none has been more wounded by its flawed implementation.

We’ve said ‘new era’ because digital transformation isn’t new to health.

What is new is the scenario that a global pandemic has left the NHS in. While COVID-19 has accelerated the adoption of some technology across healthcare, that doesn’t mean the NHS has been transformed overnight. Far from it. Achieving lasting change - and the improvements to clinical outcomes, patient experience and staff satisfaction that can be gained from it - means looking at underlying ways of working, and seeing how they need to evolve.

That will mean leaders having to develop curiosity and confidence in new areas. Which, hopefully, is where we’ll come in. We’ll be running board development sessions around the country - remote for now, but hopefully not forever - publishing guides and convening peer learning events. Much of that will involve sharing our mistakes, so others don’t have to make the same ones.

So far, alongside working on the guide, we ran webinars for over 100 NHS non-executive directors in June, with the first board sessions starting in the summer.

It's still early days for the programme. So far, alongside working on the guide, we ran webinars for over 100 NHS non-executive directors in June, with the first board sessions starting in the summer. As we go, we plan to dive a lot deeper into some of the issues that make digital change really hard, especially in complex organisations like the NHS.

But it's an exciting time. Healthcare is never dull, or easy. Lives are always at stake. And while it faces pressures like never before, the NHS is one of the most sweeping canvases in the world to work on changes that matter. We look forward to helping some of the leaders charged with making those changes happen.

About the author

Andrew Greenway profile picture

Andrew Greenway
Founding Partner

Andrew Greenway is a founding partner in Public Digital, writer and former senior civil servant. He was a product manager and programme lead in the Government Digital Service, where he led teams that delivered the UK's first digital service standard and design manual, set up GDS' recruitment hub, and wrote the Digital Efficiency report. He now coaches and advises chief digital officers working for governments around the world.

Outside GDS, Andrew worked in five UK government departments, covering energy, climate change, business, health and science. He ran a Prime Ministerial review into applications of the Internet of Things in 2014.

Andrew has authored two books, Bluffocracy with James Ball, and Digital Transformation at Scale. He has written about institutional reform for the Guardian, New Statesman, Spectator magazine, and other UK and international publications.

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