Back from some time off with our newborn. Apologies in advance for any and all typos I miss, I blame the sleep loss. January felt like one long exhale (and feed, nappy, sleep, repeat cycle) and that’s why your first newsletter from us is in... February. According to Emily’s newsletter that’s in line with Imbolc, a Gaelic festival marking the beginning of spring. Seems fitting.

Here’s to the year ahead and thanks for all the well wishes.



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🤸 Nicole on what we’ve learnt so far from online learning and convening.

📖 Have you used (or hacked and adapted) the Impact Framework? We’d love to hear how you’ve been using it. Reply and say hi!

🌳 Lockdowns were once novel and we were talking about slowing down. Kelly’s got sketchnotes from Dan Hill, Cassie Robinson and Charlie Leadbetter’s call.

Online learning

We ran lots of online events last year, from festival to bookclub to learning experiences. Extraordinary host Nicole wrote up how it forced us to pay attention to different things, the trauma of Zoom and how we’re still searching for the subtle feedback loops of body language and ‘vibe’ when hosting online. Also worth reading Panthea’s reflections on embodied knowledge.
A table with areas of impact ranging from individual to ecosystem.

Impact this

We’ve been thinking about the Impact Framework a lot recently. A tool designed to help notice the effects and impact of innovation teams on the organisations they sit in. Most innovation labs and teams are held to account in ways that don’t support their work, so the tool explores what else ‘impact’ might look like beyond the usual metrics. In a similar vein, Nobl put their own spin on Stewart Brand’s pace layers with their take on the fast and slower rhythms of change in organisations. If you've been exploring similar (or made your own) hit reply and let us know we'd love to share notes.

Slowdown sketchnotes

Last year Dan Hill, Charlie Leadbetter and Cassie Robinson spoke about slowing down and the future of living. Was Covid-19 shifting both our perspectives and our ways of living? 8 months on it’s interesting to reflect on how profound some changes have been.

Community noticeboard

"Taking a portfolio approach to experimentation means selecting a varied set of experiments based on their potential impact and mission alignment as well as their ability to generate new knowledge" A cookbook for systems change.

Could a New European Bauhaus help create an inclusive, democratic and sustainable future? As long as it avoids inadvertent competition in an age that requires deep collaboration, then Mariana Mazzucato, Rowan Conway, Christian Bason, and Dan Hill think so.

Interesting review of the TSI placed-based innovation hub including a four layered model for how they work (pdf). Thanks Penny, always inspiring.

A summary on the ways to grow R&D capabilities within social purpose organisations (probably applies in the public sector too). Thanks Jason.

On lived experience. "This work is relational. It includes shifting mindsets, perceptions, cultural practices, habits and values. Without such profound shifts, changes in structures and policies may not be sustained over time". 

"Relationships are the unit of change" writes Alex Roberts from OPSI and he's on the lookout for the public sector innovation networks you rely on for support and advice. (Includes cute drawings).

The 27th Region have been exploring the shape resilience is taking across the public sector and uncovered 17 leads to bolster it. They are looking to speak to others exploring the theme of resilience.

Technology isn’t a must when it comes to social innovation, Sascha Haselmayer curated an issue of The Commons all related to the idea of the slow lane of social change.

GovLab is launching a free online programme called ‘solving public problems’ to teach “the equitable innovation skills needed to become more effective and legitimate changemakers.”

Emma Blomkamp is running a co-design bootcamp for designers and social innovators wanting to nurture their participatory practice. Begins 25 February.

Bored of reading reports? Try a concert. SIX hosted 50 workshops on social innovation and asked 4 artists to distil the stories and findings into a half hour of original music. How lovely. 19 February.

A panda rolling around in the snow to Wuthering Heights or the sound of forests from around the world. Your call.

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


Forum for the future are looking for someone creative to work with them on their systems change programme. Deadline ASAP.

Go and rethink how we finance system transformation in international development at the UNDP. Deadline 10 February.

Kate Raworth’s Donut Economics Action Lab (UK) wants someone to lead on “operational design” and help them create a thriving team and organisation. 11 February.

Become part of an entire senior digital team at a forward facing borough of London, UK. Deadline 21 February.

Four senior roles in Andrea Cooper’s new design directorate focused on innovation in mobility, cities and places, UK. Various dates.

Futuregov (UK) seem to be near constantly recruiting. 13 new roles across a spectrum of disciplines: service design, research, tech, consultancy, finance, delivery. Various dates.

Hiring? Send your job ads in
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