On a stitch in time

I co-authored a report into the value of foresight and futures and provide here my introduction to that work. We set out on a research journey to write a provocation around the value, practice and opportunity of foresight and futures methodologies in different contexts, with a focus on their potential for improving public policy and […]

On creating the conditions for innovation

It’s a recurring theme, that of thinking about the journey to radical innovation in the public sector. It’s one thing to say that innovation occurs within your organisation yet the real challenge is in how to shift systems in more effective directions. System-changing innovations provide significant boosts to public value and, as David Albury recognises, […]

On altering states (part 5)

Bear witness to social change  Which leads us onto the second imperative, the importance of bearing witness to change. This was brought home to me by two events only a few weeks apart. First I was at a workshop the RSA US hd organised on the art of change. Changemakers from across the DC area […]

On altering states (part 4)

Prepare for the future normal We can’t predict with any certainty the wider impacts of significant social change caused by events such as the Coronavirus pandemic, nor the second- and third-order consequences of actions taken in mitigation. Consequences may play out in unexpected ways, just as the increase in gas cookers in the 1920s led […]

On altering states (part 3)

Harness the potential for change Thus we can see a disaster “much like a revolution, when it comes to disruption and improvisation, to new roles and an unnerving or exhilarating sense that now anything is possible”.  We are giving through what we at the RSA call a ’social moment’ in which change becomes more possible. […]

On altering states (part 2)

Bring the present into focus  The first challenge, of course, is to respond to the immediate impacts that are manifesting across our communities. The impacts are being felt here and how, and many are involved in figuring out the most appropriate response and measures to mitigate these impacts. Would cynefin say this is chaos’ so […]

On altering states (part 1)

The coronavirus, in precipitating a response unparalleled in modern times, is stripping away the rhetoric that covers up structural flaws in society, is exposing our shared norms and revealing our latent solidarity, whist causing us to re-evaluate what is actually important in our lives and communities. Everyone, to a greater or lesser extent, will feel […]

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 bearing witness to social change

It’s easy to look ahead – to the next task, meal, commute; the next week, month or year in our lives. Things to do, commitments to honour. Sometimes, perhaps, we think in a longer time-frame – our retirement options, perhaps, how we might afford to send our children to Uni or whether we’ll leave the […]

On public and private sector innovation

Financial innovation in the public sector might come as a surprise. We normally don’t think of the public sector as an innovative place. If there is a cliché that comes to mind, it’s probably a creaking bureaucracy, struggling to keep up with the modern world. The reality is different. The RSA recently partnered with the global […]

On civic models of basic income

How can new models of Basic Income provide not only a safety net for those who need it but also a springboard to a better life? Talk about the concept of universal basic income (UBI) and the various models that are emerging in different parts of the world is becoming increasingly mainstream. The pressures of […]

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 […]