The Rebel Alliance

The Rebel Alliance

Fast Forward to 21st March 2019. The pre-eminent MND Association (of which I was now a proud Trustee) had formed the Next Generation Think Tank. I had been asked to be Chief Scientist and Founder, responsible for all research strategy and implementation. Nick Goldup, the Association’s Director of Care Improvement was Chief of Enterprise. Stuart Moss, the IT Innovation Strategist at Rolls-Royce plc, was Chief of Program.

Both Nick and Stu were rapidly becoming my close friends. But they were also hugely practical friends – it was they who had made all the difference. It was Nick who had courageously decided to create from nothing some sort of Technology Group within the MND Association, had invited me to Chair it, had worked with me to transform the concept into a Think Tank, and it was the wonderful Nick who had the fateful phone call with the equally wonderful Stu that resulted in the three of us meeting, which was when the stars that I’d been inefficiently weaving between all came into alignment – and at last we engaged Warp Drive.

Stu, it turned out, had a lot more friends than me. Also, his friends were people like the lovely John Gibbs (Group CIO of Rolls-Royce) who rapidly became one of our strongest supporters. And Stu kept emailing his friends. And ringing them. And pointing out just how much fun they could be having if they simply took up our challenge: “Just watch this video Peter made seven months ago and get back to me.” Stu was relentless. And effective. And fast.

Only two months after Nick and I met Stu for the very first time, we were holding our first Summit, hosted by Rolls-Royce in their unbelievably futuristic Innovation Lab.

In the huge white room were around fifty of the brightest brains in the world, representing megacorporations like Microsoft, Intel, Dell and BT. Everyone was a bit of a rebel – this was the ultimate Rebel Alliance. And the revolutionary program of research everyone had just committed to deliver was exactly what I had dreamed of a year-and-a-half before. It was gobsmackingly unlikely – straight out of a Hollywood Sci-Fi blockbuster – but it was really happening.

And, sure enough, I found myself as the Guinea-Pig to be turned into the world’s first complete cyborg (although, as Rolls-Royce were running the day, they politely called me Chief Test Pilot instead).

As it was, the timing was ideal to be upgraded to Peter 2.0. Thanks to some pioneering work by the NHS, I’d recently been perfectly replumbed to become a cyborg.

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