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04th Dec 2023

The MedTech Ecosystem Collaboration Workshop

Gabrielle Percival

The main concept behind our MedTech Innovation Assembly 2023 was to unite the different ecosystems that exist within our country’s geography. From the north to the south and everywhere in-between, our 117-strong attendees and 55 speakers gathered for the day’s first session: The MedTech Ecosystem Collaboration Workshop.

The Panel

The interactive session’s panel was made up of the following representatives from each region:

  • West Midlands: Perninder Dhadwar 
  • West Yorkshire: Vee Mapunde and Neville Young 
  • North East: Michelle Duggan and Nicola Broughton 
  • North West: Katherine Boylan 
  • Scotland: Duncan Hand 

After each panellist had given a short introduction to who they are and what they do, it was time to get down to business. The audience of medical and health professionals was encouraged to get involved and share their challenges and unique perspectives on the current and future MedTech landscape.

Read on to find out what they had to say. Plus, explore each region’s focusses, ambitions, and challenges for the future of the UK’s MedTech ecosystem!

How can knowledge and best practice be shared between regional MedTech ecosystems?

It was a big first question, but one the floor was keen to share their thoughts on. And it also led to a lot more questions, including: 

  • The UK’s golden triangle – how can knowledge be best shared across different regions?  
  • What could happen if were to stop regional funding – would this help us to prevent a more united front on a global scale?  
  • Could we develop ‘super clusters’ to stop segregation of the different ecosystems that exist in the UK?

Success in sharing failures

Alongside these thought-provoking questions, there were forward-thinking answers. Delegates agreed that it would be beneficial for regions to not just share best practice, but their failures as well. The idea of larger, more established MedTechs collaborating with smaller companies that aren’t their competitors was also largely agreed upon. 

Though the MedTech Ecosystem Workshop was the first session of the day, it was encouraging to hear from delegates that they also felt more events like our MedTech Innovation Assembly 2023 would be a sure-fire way to enable regions to knowledge-share!

What barriers are there to collaborative innovation in the UK and how can these be overcome?

The second focus of the workshop addressed common challenges felt by the different regions in making MedTech innovation a more collaborative exercise. It seems the use of KPIs to measure ‘success’ are quite the sticking point. To quote an audience member:

‘We only get rewarded if bums are on seats in our region!’

Regional pride

Similarly, there was also the idea that regional pride can get in the way of true collaboration between MedTech ecosystems. Of course, healthy competition has always been a key driver for regions, NHS trusts, and MedTechs themselves to drive advancements in both product and service provision. But there was a sentiment among the delegates that it doesn’t need to be so strict or hush. Some said they felt they lacked knowledge about the different regional ecosystems. Not least where each one’s MedTech assets can be found or accessed.

Scale and collaboration

Lack of collaboration between companies and the NHS themselves was also a talking point. A discussion was then raised around the challenge of scale – the idea that once the initial barrier of collaboration was overcome, the next challenge awaits. Namely, the compatibility of different pieces of MedTech within, or even across, regions.

How can we work together to stop reinventing the wheel and elevate the UK to become a competitor in MedTech on the global stage?

Lastly, our panellists were invited to share their thoughts on what can be done to overcome these barriers. And truly unite the UK’s regional MedTech ecosystems for a more prosperous future. Suggestions were in abundance, including:

  • More general access to each region’s activities
  • Making more use of accelerator programmes
  • Clearer policies on data sharing
  • Process mapping

It was clear that everyone in the room is motivated to unite the fantastic work that’s going on across the UK. But the barrier remains enablement.

Providing a space for this network of MedTech and HealthTech experts from around the country to meet, share, and inspire moving the UK’s MedTech movement forwards was one of the core aims of our inaugural MedTech Innovation Assembly 2023. We hope that the day’s sessions were able to open that enablement door a little wider. We’ve got big plans for next year’s – we can’t wait. Can you?

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