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Bright Minds, Risk Takers Drive Innovation

By Fernando Lledó - Bupa México
General Manager


By Fernando Lledó | General Manager - Wed, 05/24/2023 - 15:00

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In the late 18th century, James Watt, a Scottish engineer, improved the steam engine developed by Thomas Newcomen and developed his own. That was the starting point of one of the most dynamic moments in history: the Industrial Revolution. This is not an isolated piece of history. Our most common activities – clothing manufacturing, public and private transportation, and food production – have evolved directly from that specific period.

That is, somehow, the natural cycle of human societies. Innovation is a driver of our way of living: that’s the source of the cars, planes, and electronic devices we use every day. 

In terms of medical advances, both discoveries and inventions have improved our health, quality of life, and life expectancy. Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin – hence antibiotics. We have diverse vaccines, and engineers continue to develop and refine medical equipment used for various types of studies. There is also more accessible education and a broader idea of self-care; now we envisage the concept of a "culture of prevention," which is fundamental to preserving good health.

All these things I mention wouldn’t be possible without bright minds and risk-takers. We saw that in action just recently when COVID-19 took over the whole world and groups of scientists worked against the clock in search of a treatment. People, such as scientist Sarah Gilbert, one of the creators of the Oxford vaccine, stood up and provided rapid, effective solutions. Thousands or even millions of lives have been saved thanks to intelligence and innovation.

If we look at the broader picture, not only regarding the pandemic but science, research, and investment, these have has led us to live longer, healthier, happier lives, which is what we root for at Bupa, and, I think, is something that we should share as an objective, either as private companies or as public institutions. All our efforts should be focused on improving our societies as well as people’s lives. Our whole team believes firmly in that. 

I’ll share another short piece of history now. In the 1940s, in Britain, there were diverse needs not being covered, either because of the long war that had just ended or as part of a new way of thinking. Health was a main priority, and that’s where Bupa came into being. Since our foundation, we have specialized in health services. We arrived in Mexico almost 20 years ago, when we started commercializing international private medical insurance products. Now, after a long and thrilling journey, we have international and national insurance policies, a solid network of health professionals and services – Vitamédica– and a recently acquired hospital, Bité Médica, which we are modernizing.

For us, innovation has been a keystone. That's how we developed the Bupa mobile app in which we leverage the potential of artificial intelligence to measure vital signs and offer remote medical and psychological consultations as well as more traditional administrative services. We also know there is some debate around what AI should or should not do; if it is a benefit or a risk to us. While we are aware of that, we want to take advantage of what it can actually do to help us take care of ourselves. Although we are skeptical of magical solutions, we do believe in science and technology.

It is important, though, to state that to get here, we’ve worked as a team. We have incredibly talented professionals who are willing to take risks, to invest in technology and new ideas.

Nevertheless, we also know that to be at the leading edge does not only depend on the tools we develop or use. We need to be open-minded and to foresee – and provide solutions for – the necessities we identify. For instance, Bupa has broadened its product portfolio and will continue to do so. At first, we had corporate international insurance products, but now we also have corporate national products, such as Bupa Nacional Vital for companies. In this way, we want to make private health services accessible. In other words, we are reaching more people, while still offering world-class quality in terms of service and coverage. 

It has not been easy, but nothing worth the effort ever is. We’ve had to make decisions, smart investments and bet on what we think is important.

I’m not saying, of course, that we should all measure up with the scientists and researchers I mentioned. But we can all do our part, with firm objectives, and strong ethics. That also represents positive change and is, on its own, notable.

It's been a long time since Watts developed his version of the steam engine, and since then, we’ve seen many new inventions, discoveries, and a total shift in how we live our lives. However, the spark that once ignited change is still producing innovation. We are living a dynamic and thrilling moment in history. Let’s be a part of it.

Photo by:   Fernando Lledó

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