Public Health Product Forge (Day 2)

Public Health Product Forge (Day 2)

Well that was a quick day.

Day 2 of the Public Health Product Forge was all about ideation. I’ve been working in a team with Gary Cornelius, founder of Community Interest Company Rapport Network CIC. Gary’s been developing an assistive technology system to support people with dementia in a care home/hospital setting through the use of wearable and environmental centres. It was my good fortune to meet Gary on the first evening of the event, as what he’s doing is very similar to an idea I’ve been thinking about for my MSc dissertation.

Assistive Technology

Gary’s a cool bloke. His aim is to develop his technology further, to productise it for use in a home setting, and to reach a large section of those who have dementia and would be helped by it. He’s passionate about have a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of those with dementia and about lowering the barrier to entry of assistive technology, making it affordable to all.

How could I not want to join his team?

We decided pretty quickly to join forces to see if we could develop his ideas further in the course of the hackathon.

We were also joined in the team yesterday by Kathrin Creswell, Director of Innovation at The University of Edinburgh’s Usher Institute. As an experienced social scientist with a deep understanding of health and social care, Kathrin’s probing questions and domain knowledge helped us develop our understanding of the problem, about human factors in healthcare and about the need for evidence.

Fingers Like Sausages

Over the course of the day there were also a number of drop-in workshops and talks which we could take part in. We tried a workshop on brainstorming ideas visually, which involved drawing with our eyes closed. I drew hands with fingers like sausages. Not sure that technique is for me.


There were really interesting talks from Rod Walpole and Christina Boididou from the University of Glasgow’s Urban Big Data Centre on open data on cycling and walking from Strava Metro and an integrated multimedia data set from a household survey in Glasgow, and from the Scottish Government’s Peter Winstanley on using SPARQL to access RDF data on the data portal (with an interactive tutorial).

We finished the day with a 1-minute ‘rocket pitch’ to the mentors. I say ‘1 minute rocket pitch’ but ours was actually 2 minutes, 46 seconds so it was more of a ‘2-minute-46-second Edinburgh bus’ pitch.


Yesterday wasn’t without its frustrations though. Two team members from Thursday night didn’t show up on Friday without warning (note to self - don’t do that - it’s not nice), Kathrin could only join us for a few hours (we would have liked to keep her through the whole process) and two new team members joined us late last night (lovely guys, great to have them on board, but it does mean we, by which I mean Gary, has to rewind and bring them up to speed with his technology and his ideas.)

What Next?

So what’s in store for us today?

Let me get my hands on some coding!