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 balancing competing needs (part 4)

What might this local diversity look like in practice? A cultural theory lens, one I’ve been developing with Matthew Taylor at the RSA,⁠1 looks at the power dynamics between the individual, the collective and the institution in any given social situation and is helpful in making sense of how we might think about a new […]

On the quality of our lives (part 2)

Where we live is where we pursue our own individual dreams of success, where we come together to provide a range of informal support as a community, and where institutional policy, laws and regulations are implemented in practice. We all try to build the foundations for a decent life, where to some extent or another […]

On changing paradigms (part 1)

New and intensifying challenges are forcing us to confront the changing nature of our relationship with each other and with the state. This idea is captured in the idea of a ‘social settlement’, describing those unwritten values that underpin our relationships with each other, our communities and the state we live in. How might a […]

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 coalescing tipping points

“Some people, some companies, some decision-makers in particular have known exactly what priceless values they have been sacrificing to continue making unimaginable amounts of money. And I think many of you here today belong to that group of people”.⁠1  Greta Thunburg Such were the words spoken before the World Economic Forum in January by a […]

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 […]