So, 2020 has almost ended. A year to forget on many levels, but also a year we learned a lot about ourselves. And about the essence of public service. We experienced plastic hours - crucial moments when it becomes possible to act. When zombie orthodoxies outlive their usefulness and new paradigms emerge. We moved fast. We experimented our way through the uncertainty. And we reconnected - with nature, our neighbourhoods, and what really matters.

As we celebrate our first full year of independence today (BTW happy birthday to us!), we too have tried to navigate the turbulence of the year guided by two questions we set ourselves back in March, namely:

  • How might we best support our collective growth and development across the public innovation community in a travel constrained world?

  • And given how our collective is full of people well versed in navigating uncertainty and complexity through experimentation, how might we better support governments to build an experimental culture fast to deal with increasing uncertainty and rapidly changing scenarios?

And while this year has looked very different to what we had planned, we end the year exhausted, with bigger families (congrats James!), grateful to still be here and hopeful that our modest contributions have been helpful to the conversations we’ve had to have this year. Thank you for your engagement and support.

Wishing you peace and happiness over the holidays. We're closing down for a few weeks, and look forward to continuing our journey with you in 2021.

Brenton and the States of Change team


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👐 If you've enjoyed what we've done, you can donate to continue the work in 2021

🎁 A compilation of many of the things we've done in 2020 to keep you entertained over the break 

✨ Co-design bootcamp, system architect roles, toolkits, playbooks and open resources in the community noticeboard. 

In the spirit of giving

If you’ve found any solace in the newsletter, the Learning Festival or the How not to waste a crisis series this year - and what a year it’s been - please consider donating to support this work in 2021. 

We’ve loved sharing the sessions and insights this year with you all, and we want to keep doing it and more. The money will be used to fund the time it takes to design, organise and deliver what we do. 


Wrapping up the year 

A puppy in a christmas hat

As a gift from us, here’s the abridged version of things we’ve enjoyed working on and approximately 103 hours of video content if you’ve run out of netflix shows.  

A big thanks to all our project partners this year: SUS, UNDESA, CivicChallenge, UN Women, UNDP, ClimateKIC, Sitra, Asia Development Bank, The Commonwealth, the UK Design Council and Nesta.  It has been a privilege to muddle through this year with you. 

At a streaming service near you: 

  • When the crisis first started, we felt a sense of possibility and were excited by how experimental governments were acting. We wanted to make sense of this as well as ask, “how do we make the most of now?” Hence the weekly How not to waste a crisis  sessions. 

  • Way back in that distant past of June we ran our Learning Festival, hosting 39 events across 3 weeks to over 4000 people in 78 countries. You can still watch all the sessions on our Youtube channel

  • We curated some sessions with the UNDP on different perspectives around systems transitions - all still viewable via the Ministry of Change site. 

  • And most recently Brenton joined Matthew Taylor, Giulio Quaggiotto, Nadine Smith and Martin Stewart-Weeks as part of OPSI’s Government After Shock event, discussing lessons from 2020 for policymakers. 

Non-streaming related:

  • We also tried out our first bookclub with Kelly Ann, a format we’ll be repeating next year so let us know what books you’d like to read as a group! 

  • And we kicked off the learning curve research cycle, asking how we can transfer the ways of working from covid to the Climate crisis. Generating 500+ insights to inform our draft framework we’re now looking for policymakers to test the framework in a workshop in mid-January. Get in touch if interested.

There is so much more to share and celebrate across our network, but if you’re anything like us you might be a bit exhausted  and so, we’ll leave it at that and thank everyone for the time, spirit and generosity you’ve already given in our 2020 journey. 

Community noticeboard

Thanks to everyone for sharing your news and resources throughout the year!  One last whip around: 

There is a co-design bootcamp starting on 18th Feb for practitioners wanting to further their practice with coaching and applied learning, facilitated by Emma Blomkamp and run in Australian / New Zealand friendly timezones. 

From our friends at FutureGov, the newly released Total Towns Outcome Framework. A tool to help towns think more holistically about their longer-term vision and the impact they want to have on people and their place.

Over at CityMart, they’ve just released a playbook with NUMO to put communities first in urban mobility innovation.

Geoff Mulgan with Demos Helsinki has written a new piece on Steering through capability - looking at why governments should steer society, and how to do it.

La 27th Region have two great resources just inviting a noodle around - source code la transfo a protocol for building labs, drawing on their many years of capability programmes in France and enacting the commons, a ground survey in 7 cities across Europe looking at new ways to build sustainable resilience after crisis. 


The Centre for Collective Intelligence at Nesta are recruiting for two Systems Architects and Designers . Deadline 4th Jan. 

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