Julie Halliwell: Reflecting on five years of Health Innovation Manchester

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Throughout October, Health Innovation Manchester is celebrating its fifth anniversary.

As part of these celebrations, Health Innovation Manchester has spoken to colleagues from across the organisation and Greater Manchester’s local health and social care system, to reflect on the last five years.

In this blog, Julie Halliwell, Associate Director HR & OD at Health Innovation Manchester provides a personal reflection on the development of Health Innovation Manchester, from conception to reality.

Approaching our fifth birthday, I was struck by how much has been achieved within our organisation by working collaboratively across the Greater Manchester system with providers and commissioners, industry, research, and academic partners.

Health Innovation Manchester had been an innovative concept of our Chair, Rowena Burns for a couple of years and it was exciting to turn the concept into reality on 2 October 2017. The need and expectation to deliver with impact was clear from day one, and we set about building and equipping the organisation with the capacity and capability to deliver to our local and national commissioners.

As with any innovation organisation, change is our norm and the difference the five years have made is clear. We have a refined approach to our pipeline of activity, a range of project management methodologies with an agile mindset, and what the Pandemic has shown us is the real nugget, our people.

I personally don’t like to refer to people as our greatest asset, which is often quoted, as the “asset” term for me removes the human factor and this era post-pandemic is very much focused on compassionate and inclusive leadership and wellbeing. This focus is imperative to grow and sustain organisations and the people within them, creating a sense of belonging and added value.

The question I pose to myself each day is what am I doing today that role models compassionate and inclusive leadership and puts wellbeing on top of the agenda?

We do sometimes have to make some bite-size small changes, the nudges rather than meteoric changes in our approaches.  The important thing is that we are moving forward and continually improving and that starts with us all. We all have a role to play in being kind to ourselves and each other in the process.

So, today I ask myself, what can I do to help my wellbeing? What would the one thing that you do be? If we all do our one thing we begin a positive ripple, that first step of change.

For our fifth birthday, I reflect on the amazing things we have achieved internally and for the citizens of Greater Manchester, working collaboratively with others, and wonder what more we can do in the next five years working together. It’s exciting!

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