On the rise in foodbank use

Today, Human Rights Watch vividly illustrate the rise of foodbank use in the UK. In their first work on the right to food in a “rich democracy”, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) report Nothing Left in the Cupboards says: “The right to food is a fundamental human right contained in several international treaties to which […]

On innovation in health and social care (part 2)

If public services are going to meet the volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous demands of the 21st Century they need to be redefined and redesigned with resilience at their heart.  Seeking change by only invoking the big levers of institutions – policy, economic, legal, and so forth – will only get us so far, opening […]

On spreading ideas in complexity

I was presenting at a health conference about how ideas and innovations spread, when a Director of Public Health vividly brought home the challenges involved. He did so by answering a question about whether or not to introduce a payment reward scheme for people who successfully lose weight and maintain a healthy BMI. He answered […]

On why innovations don’t scale

One of the reasons that insights in public services don’t readily scale is that we face such radically different contexts in our communities. How can we afford to invest time and effort in practices that might help drive innovation within our organisations and partnerships when we are also custodians of public money? Line up your […]

On innovation through partnership

During a decade in which austerity has been the prevailing narrative and the predominant challenge facing the public sector, reducing budgets and service cuts are affecting different parts of the public sector, and different parts of the country, to different degrees. In many areas this has led to the scaling back of non-statutory services. A casualty of this – […]

On investing in social challenges

Government spends more than £250bn of taxpayers money every year, providing services, fixing problems or improving communities up and down the land. The risks of getting it wrong are high profile, destructive and far reaching. The benefits of getting it right include improved quality of life, innovation and value for money. In this two-part blog […]

On the biggest issue you never knew you cared about

Government spends more than £250bn of taxpayers money every year, providing services, fixing problems or improving communities up and down the land. The risks of getting it wrong are high profile, destructive and far reaching. The benefits of getting it right include improved quality of life, innovation and value for money. In this two-part blog […]

On learning from social entrepreneurs

Does the skillset and mindset of the social entrepreneur apply to those trying to work entrepreneurially within the public sector? Can we, in other words, learn from social entrepreneurs who move fast and fix things? There are various conceptions of the entrepreneur, from the more traditional innovator emerging in the private sector, to those working […]

On being a public entrepreneur

The disruptive innovation spilling out of Silicon Valley and other hotbeds of tech start-ups can captivate our imagination. For those trying to make change happen in their own communities and organisations, for those seeking to stimulate economic growth in new and emerging fields, and for those trying to use tech to change the way things […]