Iain Hennessey

Iain Hennessey

Honorary Associate Professor at the University of Liverpool

Iain Hennessey is a consultant paediatric surgeon and director of innovation at the new Alder Hey Children’s Health Park. He is responsible for finding and developing the healthcare technologies of the future.

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Iain Hennessey currently leads an Innovation Team which is working with world leading companies and local small businesses, using gaming technology, sensors and cognitive computing to predict the progression of illnesses and plan individualised treatments.

He graduated from the University of Edinburgh with honours degrees in Medicine, Surgery and Anatomical sciences, before going on to train as a paediatric surgeon in the United Kingdom and Australia. He has always been interested in innovation, helping found a startup surgical simulation company as a trainee and then progressing to become the clinical director of innovation at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital. Notable achievements have included forming partnerships with large multi national companies such as Sony and IBM, building a unique underground 1000sqm innovation facility for collaboration with the tech sector and developing a team of clinician entrepreneurs to drive change within the NHS.

He founded the world’s first cognitive hospital AI project for patient support. This was a healthcare innovation ecosystem at Alder Hey, centred on a 1000m2 health innovation hub which also featured an award-winning team.

As Director of Innovation Iain is passionate about working with companies who are at the leading edge of technology; for example, trying out new kit such as virtual reality headsets, or visiting a super computer to see how it crunches data to produce the best care plan for a patient.

Alder Hey is pioneering the use of 3D printed body organs which can be taken into operating theatres, to help guide surgery; and they are helping to develop gaming and the use of artificial intelligence to communicate, entertain and reduce stress in child patients.

He is currently developing a long term strategy to build the worlds first “Living hospital” by adapting emerging technologies to enable the building to care for the children within it, both medically and holistically.

In 2017, he was presented with a gold award for his pioneering leadership of innovation. In 2020 Iain was appointed Honorary Associate Professor at the University of Liverpool.


Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Living/learning from mistakes
Human factors in the operating room
Creating a culture of innovation
Dealing with fear


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Decision Making
Health & Wellness
Performing under pressure

“Iain is a born communicator – leaving audiences feeling like they’ve learned a lot, uplifted and in awe of the work he and hi steam do. It’s easy to think of ‘out there’ future scenarios, but Iain is an evidence-based reality check!”

Event Delegate, Rugby Players’ Association Event


“A talented inspirational speaker who not only is a specialist in his field of medicine but also continually looks for ways of improvement, looking for the next thing and learning from mistakes, creating a safe environment where possible to test.”

Event Delegate, Balfour Beatty Leadership Conference


“Enlightening and many nuggets within his presentation which we can use in our own business.”

Event Delegate, Balfour Beatty Leadership Conference


“Iain’s stories certainly touched a lot of hearts… he gave our audience a greater sense of meaning and purpose.”

Joel De Figueiredo, Deputy Divisional Director, IQPC PEX Network

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