On balancing competing needs (part 4)

What might this local diversity look like in practice? A cultural theory lens, one often used here 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 social settlement that […]

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 […]

On public services addressing our modern ills

One of the core functions of our publicly-funded services is to provide a critical backstop for issues that are beyond the ability of our families and communities to support us. At their best, whether provided by public, voluntary or private sectors, these services help maintain and deepen our social fabric, providing essential support for people and communities when they need it […]

On energy and opportunity for change

How can we explore the priorities and possibilities for change by looking at the concepts of energy and opportunities? Energy for change is the notion that all change requires energy to drive and sustain it, in the same way that a battery might fuel a torch. We see energy manifest through a number of sources: […]