On valuing the intangibles

I’m watching the building opposite lurch skyward, day by day, block of concrete by protrusion of steel wires. Slowly the green vista beyond disappears. The reservoir that flattens the view across to Walthamstow, that offers a mirror to the clouds as they congregate and mingle and dissipate, that provides sanctuary for the birds I hear […]

On balancing acts

We all know the public sector faces unprecedented pressures. Rising demand and expectations are compounded by Covid19 backlogs and falling budgets. These are the immediate and pressing concerns that public sector leaders face. It is easy in such times to enter survival mode, tending to the urgent presenting issues. However ,this comes at the expense […]

On finding the unknown

Why is entrepreneurialism in the public sector important and why do we need new ways of spending public money that deliver greater public value? Let me frame this challenge with a Quote from Plato, in which Meno asked: “how will you go about finding that thing the nature of which is totally unknown to you?”. In […]

On accelerating social innovation

In order to transform public services and improve population health outcomes, we need to accelerate the social innovation process in communities – co-creating solutions from the ‘bottom up’ to tackle complex societal challenges. There are wider economic and societal benefits to be realised from embracing the efforts of community organisers and social entrepreneurs. The challenge […]

On commissioning in complexity

“Probation is a complex social service, and it has proved well-nigh impossible to reduce it to a set of contractual requirements.” Such was the conclusion of HM Chief Inspector of Probation when the government announced this week that they were re-nationalising the delivery of some probation services. If outsourcing led to improved outcomes at lower […]

Problems are not markets

A critical and often overlooked challenge facing those seeking to resolve challenges in the public sector is that that problems don’t always equal markets. Without a systemic understanding of the problem, any attempt at a resolution is likely to fall into ‘innovation theatre’ – it may look great, but once the show’s over there’s nothing […]