Tech Tonics: Axel Heitmueller, Everything is a Shade of Gray


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Axel Heitmueller, Ph.D. grew up in Germany, the son of an engineer. Yet, despite the often discrete intellectual structure engineering can impose, Axel’s personal experiences have taught him how important it is to find comfort with a state of gray. As a transition economist, he has learned that everyone has an opinion; as a caretaker to severely disabled children he learned about the relative value of life; and, as a government official, he has learned that one must balance incrementalism with radical change to make progress in effectively serving patients.

Despite an early belief that he wasn’t cut out for healthcare, Axel has had a notable career driving innovation in the UK healthcare system even though there is occasional resistance to receiving it. Axel has worked on both sides of the National Health System, serving three Prime Ministers and also working at community hospitals and related organizations. His current role is as Managing Director of Imperial College Health Partners. Among the big lessons he has learned is that there is no such thing as evidence-based policy-making and that incremental innovation is often better than no innovation at all.

Having lived close to the center of power, Axel’s current obsession is how we talk to our kids at this challenging moment in history. He is thinking hard about how we succeed in using broad-based civil discourse to empower citizens around culture, democracy, health and education to reduce the growing sense that there is an elite vs. disenfranchised population. It’s hard not to appreciate the way he is deeply thinking about how we curate conversations that include everyone around topics that affect each of us, often in different ways.

David and I spoke to Axel from his home in London and were thrilled to have him on the show. To hear today’s episode, click on the link or go to iTunes or Connected Social Media’s website.

We are grateful to GE Ventures for their sponsorship today. GE Ventures – Multiple Paths to Big Impact.

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