Made a couple of Twitter lists, one for the States of Change fellows and another of Public Innovators who’s work has inspired this newsletter (and our work in general). If they are your thing, sign up to them and let me know who else you find inspiring!

We got a group of new subscribers this past week. I’m not sure why but if that’s because you are forwarding this to friends and colleagues, thank you!



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The framing problem

On how it’s not easy to frame a complex problem. Thanks, Eirini Malliaraki

The Framing Problem. How extract and visualize and appropriate subset from a tangle of interconnected pieces?

Community noticeboard

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

Using collective intelligence to solve public problems. Practical advice for how public bodies can use collective intelligence techniques to tackle community challenges exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Maybe one of the most thought-provoking sessions in yesterdays Government After Shock”, enjoy for yourselves! The recording of a 'few lessons from the pandemic'; from radical listening to how the lack of basic infrastructure will rob governments of the ability to improvise in a crisis.

The System Innovation Festival last week has done a great job of writing up the sessions and sharing the recordings. Lots of thoughtful reflections, I liked this observation: organisations need a “superior adaptive capacity rather than superior planning capacity” because “unless we understand how our systems are changing in real-time, we will not be able to improve them.”

On the comms challenge of the innovation sector. “There is always a danger when a term becomes a trend, because it starts to become a shortcut for thinking—a term without precision—where everybody thinks they know what it means, but nobody really does for sure." Thanks, Laura

On a similar theme, Amy Westervelt speaking sense, it “continues to amaze me that people think “solutions” only refer to tech and policy, not... I don’t know, cultural norms, language, all the stuff that makes that tech and policy actually work?”

The more complex and uncertain a policy issue is, the more useful it is to approach it through humility." Demos Helsinki on the complex issues governments face, what they are calling 'humble policymaking'.

Useful patterns on emerging innovation in the public sector, from Lindsay Cole. Also writing that “innovations that truly get at the root causes of complex public sector challenges must necessarily look beyond the dominant paradigms and structures that created them.” They paint a nice picture of what that might look like too.

To protect the planet, we have to act for the long-term. The RSA has pulled together a guide to thinking about the future differently, foresight and futures for “the curious generalist”.

"Your capacity is your community... Create an ecosystem where you are being nurtured and inspired by others, as well as sharing your insights" writes Roi Benitez on some of those easily forgotten foundational skills of collaboration.


A masterclass on designing policy, with Christian Bason and Juan Felipe López exploring a tangible example of how powerful collaboration and the coming together of different actors can be when it comes to designing a society oriented by design principles. 23 November.

Join FutureGov's Transitions to explore how we can continue thinking radically differently, grabbing hold of the things that work and orienting ourselves in more flexible ways to manage the transition from here to there. 23 November. Get your ticket.

Hilary Cottam argues that the systems and ways of thinking that we have inherited from the 20th-century system are beyond reform. She’s asking instead "can the Power of Human Relationships Change the World After the Pandemic?" Hosted by the Sydney Policy Lab. 25 November.

Join Bianca Wylie, Cassie Robinson, Dr Sarah Schulman, Panthea Lee (and others!) at the Future of Good Summit to figure out how and where to make smart decisions and investments that will make a post-Covid-19 world better. 25 - 26 November.

Join Giulio Quaggiotto explore portfolio approaches as a way to focus innovation more strategically around systems change. Noel Hatch and the London Policy network have been putting on a lot of practical events. 26 November.

Last week we shared work on ‘designing better organisational endings’, the team behind it now have a session to share more about the guides and tools they developed. 16 December.


Snook are looking for contractors based in Scotland to do some content design and UX design for some of their government work. Apply soon, the deadline is ASAP.

If you are interested in creating new narratives and reimagining innovation in the humanitarian sector or have specific experience in narrative foresight some consulting work with UNHCR. Deadline 29 November.

Want to make an impact on the humanitarian crisis? Jobs in a few roles going at ELRHA in their UK Innovation hub. Various deadlines soon!

If you are "wanting to write and publish the narrative of today and tomorrow with the help of 50 extremely motivated, kind and smart peers, Demos Helsinki is hiring. Deadline 7 December. (They also recently re-did their impact model).

Something meditative, beautiful and calming for making it to the end of the email :)

I hope you've enjoyed this week's newsletter. If you have any feedback or something you would like to share in the next newsletter, please let us know in our anonymous form, or hit reply and chat with me! 👋 

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