Breathe goes to Qatar: World Innovation Summit in Health 2016

 A spiders’ web is an extraordinary wonder of nature. An immense amount of care, hard work and planning but also intuition goes into creating something that appears so delicate, yet is intrinsically so strong and effective.

Therefore, a giant spider by the artist Louise Bourgeois seemed to be the perfect backdrop for the World Innovation Summit in Health 2016 (WISH) in Qatar which took place between 29 – 30 Nov 2016, for this was a conference about making a new web of connections between healthcare innovators, organisations and governments from across the globe.

For Breathe getting to the summit was an adventure in itself: Ahmed, the Breathe Magic Project Manager, successfully placed an application bid to get Breathe selected as one of 20 organisations from around the world to exhibit at the convention. We were incredibly honoured when the summit organisers chose us as counting among the “most exciting healthcare innovations”. Then, after lots of paperwork to organise flights, visas and passes, and even a last minute illness that potentially threw our conference attendance into disarray, the company’s web stayed strong and effective: Administrative wizard Katherine Penney was joined by actual Magician Richard McDougall and after a six hour flight to Doha they found themselves in the cozy climate of Qatar.

As an event WISH was so spectacular, because it brought together over 2000 delegates comprised of policymakers and healthcare leaders, all facing similar problems in healthcare and a desire to use innovative methods to improve it. We listened and learned from a Keynote Speakers such as Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies, from cutting edge Harward scientists as well as driven entrepreneurs with know-how – all addressed not just technical but also social and political questions that modern healthcare faces today.

We were drawn in by some incredibly inspiring innovators. Cambridge Bio – Augmentation Systems, for example, are developing a medical device that uses advanced bioengineering and monitoring technologies to act as the “USB connector” of prosthetics. This device would replace the painful stump left behind after a conventional amputation. We also had to pleasure to get to know the Finnish based organisation Muuvit, who have created an educational tool to enhance lessons and inspire kids to move.

When it came to communicating our own work, magic once again proved to be an effective spiders’ web of its own, drawing people in and making them stop in their tracks. Unlike a real web, however, we let our new delegate friends go, but only when they had been informed about the Breathe Magic Intensive Therapy Programme. People became intrigued to know more about how magic could help young people with hemiplegia, and numerous visitors returned time and again with other ‘more important’ people who could help us achieve our goals within arts and healthcare.

The lesson we took away from this brilliantly organised conference is: if you want to expand your network, think like a spider – a really big spider!

Watch the summit coverage on Breathe here.

Annegret Marten

Article written by Annegret
13 Dec 2016