A curious thing… but almost certainly not unique to me, last week I woke up one morning with a really cool idea! As I say, not unique, I am sure you will have had many similar experiences, but let me briefly share my idea.

For sometime I have been thinking about what could be done to improve the overall performance of the NHS here in the UK. Of course there are countless people also thinking about this same problem. Many I imagine who have much more background in Public Health provision than I. Although is that a good thing or bad?

What might have caused me to have this random idea? Certainly nobody asked me to “think” about it! I have a long and deep interest in how we can exploit technology in completely novel ways. Also, in later life I discovered fitness, lost a lot of weight and then studied sports science (to a minor extent). Finally I enjoy problem solving around systems and re-imaging how systems might join up. Perhaps somewhere deep inside my biological neural network these three strands once again collided. Who knows.

With regard to the NHS, it is obvious even to me, that there is not going to be one silver bullet solution. Adding more money and increasing capacity does not feel like a solution. In fact, increased capacity will likely lead to increased demand, that’s human nature.

What then if we reduce demand. Well that has been tried… or has it? We have certainly “displaced” demand, but have we done anything meaningful to reduce it? Screening programmes are very helpful, but they seem to change the shape of demand rather than reduce it. I think the obvious conclusion is to improve peoples health and therefore reduce the amount of downstream clinical interventions.

You are now probably wondering why you are reading this. It’s hardly rocket science or new thinking! But stick with me dear reader…

A very impactful way to improve the nations health would be to drive weight loss through better diet. Many talk about this and yet by and ‘large’ the vast majority seem to be failing. My idea: use what we know about gamification, some of the very sophisticated behavioural control tools that retailers pioneered and refined, leverage some human nature traits that we already understand and finally apply what all fitness and health professionals know about weight loss (calories, choices, habits). The idea I woke up with brought all these things together in a completely novel way! Completely UnPrompted!

Given that I am in the midst of commercialising this innovative solution I am OBVIOUSLY not going to lay it all out here for you. Generous yes, stupid? Not so much 😉 But I am in talks with a major retailer and still very keen to speak to anyone in the NHS that is interested in innovation and digital transformation (if that is YOU then don’t be shy, please get in touch!!)

But the main reason for this article is strangely nothing to do with my BIG idea for improving the nations health (!!).

With coffee in hand, and still thinking about my unprompted flash of inspiration, I opened my browser and signed-in to ChatGPT. Its little cursor prompt flashed at me. I waited. It waited. I drank my coffee. It continued to wait.


This has happened before. I often check in with ChatGPT first thing to see what great ideas it spontaneously had over night that will create value and innovate. But just the same as every other morning, NOTHING. It just sits there and waits for me to prompt it and seems completely incapable of generating UNPROMPTED independent imaginative thoughts with which to surprise me.

And that dear reader is why I have absolutely no concern about this glorified adding machine replacing me any time soon. Sure it will displace some people (or more specifically the work they do), but only in the same way that cars replaced horses in one particular context.

My advice: don’t be a horse. Eat more cheese and continue to have amazing and imaginative unprompted ideas that could just change the world for the better.

Till next time. Cheerio.