Paediatric Innovation in Oxford: EIT Health Day, “Thinking of Oscar” at the Leaders Conference and launching the Oxford Hackathon

Dr Tom Peach Written by Tom Peach
Published on 02 December 2017
4 min. read

The Oxford branch of the Innovation Forum recently supported the EIT Health Innovation Day organised by the Entrepreneurship Centre, Said Business School, Oxford. The event took place at the Oxford Foundry and aimed at defining and solving challenges in mental health following the “design thinking” process. The day brought together scientists, clinicians, MBA students, and anyone with a passion for innovation in health to focus on making a difference in the lives of people struggling with mental health problems, from paediatrics to geriatrics.


Enthusiastic attendees were inspired and challenged to hack smart and creative solutions to common mental health challenges in a matter of hours with the help of experts and industry leaders. Most poignantly, Dr. Karen Steinhardt, Head of Paediatric Psychology at OUHT, set the scene by introducing the scale of the issue of mental health before focusing on her field of expertise, paediatric mental health.

[Photo: Matt Thornton, Entrepreneurship Centre]

In fact, mental health is not the only paediatric field that is in desperate need of innovation. The US-based Institute for Paediatric Innovation estimates that innovation in children’s medicine currently lags behind adult care by five to ten years. Development of paediatric medical devices that can accommodate smaller bones and softer tissues, which are also continually growing, is very challenging. Often innovations in paediatric medicine are simply not commercially viable due to a very small population of patients in an otherwise healthy cohort of children.


Our IFO Paediatric Innovation campaign is focussed on bringing new energy and ideas to the many unsolved challenges across paediatric care—and echoing the words of innovator and paediatric cardiologist Dr. Anthony Chang: “The best and fastest way to innovate, is to collaborate.” As part of the campaign Innovation Forum Oxford will be hosting a series of events in the coming months, which will inspire and equip participants to tackle some of the biggest challenges in paediatric medicine with a fresh and innovative perspective.


Inspiring paediatric innovation will also be showcased at the 2017 Innovation Forum Leaders Conference (IFLC2017) in Oxford, where we are privileged to be partnering with the founders of local charity “Thinking of Oscar”. In founding the charity in memory of their son Oscar, Hannah and David Cole are helping families and hospitals that care for ill children by supporting research and innovation that has tangible benefits. One of their most successful campaigns was for the AccuVein finder, which helps locate veins to draw blood in children’s hands and feet more easily and reduce distress. After a successful trial, the device is now in use at both Great Ormond Street and the John Radcliffe hospitals where it is funded by the charity.


The “Thinking of Oscar” team will be showcasing other initiatives and innovations that they are supporting at the IF Leaders Conference Exhibition on December 4th and 5th. With the support of the product design experts Triteq and Innovation Forum Oxford, “Thinking of Oscar” will highlight the importance of paediatric innovation—updating conference delegates on the current state-of-the-art, and facilitating innovation ideation sessions to spark ideas for new solutions to unsolved paediatric health challenges. Visitors to the exhibits will also have the chance to further develop solution concepts with the support of specialists from Triteq, who will coach and offer development insight to innovators with a complimentary day of consultancy at their design studio headquarters.

Finally, in Spring 2018 we will be launching our Oxford Paediatric Innovation Hackathon in partnership with “Thinking of Oscar” and Triteq. The Hackathon will build on the innovative foundations shared at the Leaders Conference, and will focus on solving challenging paediatric health problems identified at the IFLC2017 “Thinking of Oscar” and Triteq booths. The Paediatric Innovation Hackathon in the spring will be the culmination of a program of workshops in Oxford that focus on design and innovation to help hone skills and inspire fun, creative and ground-breaking solutions. Sign-up below to join us and spend the day working on solving real paediatric health challenges with world experts and passionate like-minded people in Oxford.

Sign-up here for details of how to join our Paediatric Innovation Hackathon.


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