For many of our members and colleagues who have never been to an Ecosystem it can be hard to understand what actually happens at an ecosystem. Recently our Director of Ecosystems and Membership, Andy Bleaden had had lots of questions meeting new colleagues about what happens and here in the first of 2 articles he gives a little more background

I attended my first Ecosystem in Greater Manchester sometime way back in 2012 and got hooked then. The idea of bringing together all the stakeholders invovled in Health and Social Care was then unheard of as was the concept of Ecosystems. Silos in Healthcare however were even then well documented with agencies not collaborating or even refusing to work together – sometimes sadly even within the same agency.”

Ecosystems gave an opportunity to collect together all of the stakeholders together around a common geography, a common theme and with a common aim to collaborate.

What was noticeable then was the voice of the citizen, the patient was being heard and often for the first time

Secondly it was clear that public authorities or procurers had no idea what innovation was on the market and that also the market providers (SME’s and large companies) had no idea what the needs of the procurers were.”

Ecosystems had a way of turning collaboration on its head by offering to lead with the need AND recognising the huge potential collaborating in health and social care could have in driving economic growth.


The last point” says Andy is where ECHAlliance ecosystems are different. Instead of discussions about timebombs, threats to spending and tsunamis in health and social care we could hear directly from patient groups or voluntary groups not only what the need was for instance in the region around Living with Dementia but also what the best practice was. Added to that with an international network to tap into we could bring in from other regions and countries best practice from there.”