Skip to main content

Don't turn your back on challenge

25 January 2019
A head and shoulders photograph of Ali Rogan

Don’t turn your back on challenge – it’s the way we grow

Challenge (Noun): something that needs great mental or physical effort in order to be done successfully and therefore tests a person's ability

The word challenge is used a great deal in my field of work. If you think about the definition above, the word that really stands out for me is effort. Whether it’s a team effort or something you must make a personal effort to achieve, I truly believe that it’s extremely beneficial to keep challenging yourself and others in order to grow as individuals. 

I was lucky enough to be a judge for the Essex Dementia Challenge which announced its winner at the end of 2018.

Challenge Dementia is a national search for products, technologies and services that could transform the way people live with dementia across the UK, helping them to live enjoyable and fulfilling lives for as long as possible.

Led by Essex County Council, Challenge Dementia is part of the Essex Challenge Prize programme which seeks to tackle a range of social problems by uncovering potential solutions and speeding up their development.

Over a period of a year, the team vetted over 70 entries and narrowed it down to 9 finalists. Innovations spanned virtual reality, a digital scrap-book, a carer app, a space to capture past memories, care companion devices using speech recognition, simple signage for non-medical needs, prompts for effective communication, arts-based programmes and walk through videos to remind people how to do things.

The well-deserved winner was The WAYBACK which is a virtual reality film series designed for those living with Alzheimer’s and their carers. It aims to recreate popular, positive moments from our past - taking viewers back in time and immersing them in the sights and sounds. 

I’ve really enjoyed being part of the Essex Dementia Challenge. It’s great to have attracted so much interest in dementia. My advice to anyone seeking to launch a new innovation is focus on the need, seek good advice and follow the money.

Well done to Essex County Council, the Prize team who were brilliant and congratulations go out to all the applicants. I do hope they continue with their quest to develop solutions that will work now and for future generations.

It’s amazing that there are so many people who are continuing to go to extraordinary efforts to improve lives, no matter what the challenge may be.

By Ali Rogan - Hornsey Consulting