Last week I attended a number of events and meetings that made me feel lucky.
All Party Parliamentary Group for the Prevention of Obesity
I attended the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Prevention of Obesity, which I found distinctly underwhelming (see my LinkedIn!). The reason this was underwhelming was that it didn’t seem to serve the purpose for which it was designed. It felt more like an exercise in ticking a box to say that there was an APPG group, rather than an attempt to really engage cross party politicians with industry experts. There was a lot of ‘line-towing’ and short, sweet pieces. To be fair, this was condensed due to the rooms being moved and the session being cut short. However, given where it went in the time we did have, I wouldn’t have held out great hopes for the extra half an hour.
London Obesity Task Force
I met with Paul Lindley (Ella’s Dad), who is leading the London Obesity Task Force. This is a great initiative with the full backing of the Mayor of London. It was interesting to talk through our experiences and I am pleased to see that they have appointed an entrepreneur who is not one of the usual suspects (to be clear – I like some of these usual suspects but the change is nice to see!). What simply must come from this group is a genuine attempt to tell the real story they find. They are using professionals from across as many disciplines as they could find: education; public health; transport; physical activity; industry; voluntary sector; etc. the list does go on and is impressive. I am happy to support this task force in any way I can and look forward to see what they come with.
I met with Tim Roberts, the MD and Founder of Thrive Tribe (technically one of our rivals!). We have met a couple of time to chat about the trials and tribulations of running health organisations and I have been pleasantly surprised that each time we have met we have been completely open and honest despite being competitors in the same industry. As I have said many times, I want the weight management and public health industries to be filled with passionate organisations who want to deliver top quality services. The way the industry is structured actually makes that very tricky, on top of the fact that the work is actually already really difficult. However, I am thankful that Tim and I are able to support one another without any competitiveness getting in the way. Beers are on me next time Tim!
Public Health England
I spent time with the Diet and Obesity team from PHE and (tried to!) help with their digital innovation work they are currently undertaking with families. It was great to see their commitment to undertaking a full learning process before simply providing guidance based only on the existing evidence.
The Beezee Team
I spent some time with our teams, socially and during work. They remain committed to our tech development work and continuing to improve the science the underpins our innovative behaviour change services. I felt really lucky to be supporting their efforts to improve what are, already great, services. It reminded me of Jim Collins’ quote “Good is the enemy of great” – which makes me so proud as we are never resting on our laurels.
Lastly, we met our advisory board. This is always great because they are two of the smartest people I know – luckily, they don’t read this blog or they would also have huge heads. When talking about our future, they happened to come up with an idea that could revolutionise our business and, in fact, our industry. Mum’s the word for now!
All in all, last week was tiring but great and a reminder that there are great people doing brilliant work and it is a privilege to be a part of it.