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Together we can unlock a true digital revolution in Social Care

“The future is already here – it's just not evenly distributed.”

William Gibson’s famous quote could have been written about digital transformation in Social Care. Technologies that can help providers deliver better care to patients and residents more efficiently have never been more: 

Advanced. Anyone who gives ChatGPT a try will most likely be blown away by the quality of modern AI and its possibilities in so many parts of our lives and society. 

Equally astonishing are some of the breakthroughs in assistive technology, such as Microsoft’s eye-tracking technology that enables people with speech and mobility challenges to play games using just eye movement.

These types of innovations have an extremely positive trickle-down impact as they move into the mainstream. Take, for example, the increasing use of virtual reality for delivering training in health and social care. And it’s taking less and less time for new inventions to reach widespread adoption. 

Accessible. 96% of internet users in the UK have a smartphone. And thanks to Apple and Android, software developers can instantly deliver their software directly to thousands, even millions, of people at once.

The rise of the smartphone has made us a more digitally savvy population, enabling many of us to quickly start using a new piece of software without having to invest hours in training and reading manuals first.

The cumulative effect is that new ideas can be turned into new products, new ways of working, and actual results more quickly than was previously possible. 

Affordable. While the cost of living has gone up recently, if we look at the long-term trend, the price of almost every type of technology product has dropped significantly over the last two decades. A basic internet-connected tablet can cost less than £50, for example. 

The rise of software-as-a-service and cloud computing has made it much more efficient for companies like us to build, implement and maintain game-changing software so we can provide it at an affordable price point for industries like care.  

Yes, we can still benefit from improvements to essential infrastructure, including faster internet speeds, better mobile coverage, and more extensive 5G networks. But many of the essential parts of the digital revolution in care are already in place right now.

All that’s left is for you to light the touchpaper, and that’s why we created Trailblazers. We wanted to provide a platform to celebrate those pushing the envelope for their organisations and the sector.

Here are three key things we learned from studying their achievements:

  1. Cultivate curiosity. Sometimes there will be an obvious answer to a problem. But most of the time, you will need to go searching for the answers, and that might mean looking outside of Social Care for new sources of inspiration.
  2. Embrace collaboration. None of the projects and innovations highlighted in these pages would be possible without bringing your wider teams on the journey with you. When choosing suppliers, ask whether they are genuinely invested in your success and build long-term, trusted partnerships. 
  3. There is no such thing as a perfect time to implement change. It’s easy to think that the timing isn’t right. Your service users will always be your top priority, your teams are busy, and even the best-executed projects will cause some disruption to the day-to-day. One of the best antidotes to organisational inertia is to limit the initial scope of a change programme, test it out on a smaller scale, and build momentum from there. 

Congratulations to all our inaugural Trailblazers - we look forward to seeing what you get up to in 2023. 

All that leaves us to say is thank you for reading. We hope that you enjoy browsing this year’s list and come away feeling inspired. 

Ben, Oli and Steffen
Co-founders, Sona