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Hey!

Someone kindly said (and this is me paraphrasing) that they enjoy our work, but they weren’t sure what it was that we actually do. Fair! You’re not alone; my mum doesn’t either. We can sometimes be extremely vague and that’s on us. While we embrace uncertainty, perhaps we’ve been a bit too unintentionally ambiguous. Let’s clear that up.

What we do is help people learn. We create the conditions that accelerate people’s understanding of what works and what doesn’t. We try to shorten the gap between trying something and trying something better. That means we’ve no pre-packaged solutions to sell; your context is your domain. Instead, we guide and learn alongside you - with programs, research and tools - as you develop and test your responses to our era’s greatest crises.

One part of that is the launch of a new program this week, the Foundations of Innovation Practice. Six sessions over six weeks designed to hold a space for people building their confidence with new approaches, or for the more experienced to refresh their skills. Great for team development. Take a look and do please share with those who you think would be a good fit.

More to follow over the coming weeks.

Cheers

James

A constellation of 3 intersecting lines. It says, problems, solutions, systems, people, futures, facts.

The Foundations of Innovation Practice

This program is for people looking to introduce new ways of working into their team. Over six modules, we’ll draw together the key mindsets and multidisciplinary skills to navigate the complexity of public policy challenges.

Innovation requires transformative shifts, integrated approaches, and fresh ideas. These shifts rely on new skills and mindsets to enable the sort of rapid learning we need to see. And all of this needs to come together with multiple approaches and a range of methods and tools. After all, if all you have is a hammer, then everything looks like a nail. 

We’ve spent the last few years developing this course to allow anyone to access the fundamentals of innovation. 2020 forced us to move it online where, surprisingly, it works even better. Looking forward to having you join us.

Begins 15 April | Online | 6 weeks | 6 modules

Book your place

Community noticeboard

I don’t exactly know what a ‘space artist’ is but it looks provocative and somewhat mind-bending. That and a whole lot more at this year’s Innovation Days.

A fascinating thread about the limits of systems thinking. Including someone’s scepticism of it expressed via the medium of a Jeff Goldblum gif.

I tend to struggle with case studies to be honest but this report is actual eye candy on some inclusive civil society innovations in cities globally. Thanks Vicky for sending in!

Throughout the pandemic there’s been a common refrain to ‘follow the science’. This paper explored whether scientists change their mind when the facts change. Answer: not easily. Confirmation bias is one helluva drug. Shame there’s no vaccine for it.

Public Policy Lab have turned 10 and have started sharing their existential angst, “It’s not that we thought we were doing low-value work. Rather, the changes we were able to create still felt trivial when we reconciled them against the larger systems in which they operate.” More of this honesty please.

Some things can’t be summed up easily and Shannon Mattern’s How to map nothing is one of them. An hour of your time well spent.

A list of levers that digital teams can use to bring about change in government that could easily apply to innovation teams too. They include a useful spectrum to those levers; from the voluntary (like good, clear comms) to the mandatory (like new rules).

A guide on why and how your country can benefit from measuring public sector innovation. Which is cool because a) it’s “open to interpretation, making it usable in different national contexts” and b) it’s a collaboration by 60 people! Great work.

The UK government has published a brief guide to Futures thinking and foresight. Full disclosure: I haven’t had a chance to read it. If it’s good/bad/amazing/terrible please let me know.

I love hearing when people get their vaccine. This guy danced a joyful dance in celebration of getting his. Completely unrelated: I see lots of ‘iceberg models’ in innovation land. You’re drawing them wrong.

If you’ve got something you’d like to share please send it my way!

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