What is holding back innovation in the current system and where are the gaps? The 'Open Book of Social Innovation' describes six stages of innovation that take ideas from inception to impact.
In June 2010, the new Government announced its intention to overhaul and further streamline the employment, welfare and benefit systems.
There is a lot of evidence on the extent of innovation in labour market programmes prior to the coalition governments' launch of the Work Programme. The Labour Government began 13 years of wide-scale experimentation in labour market programme design with the launch of the New Deal programmes in 1997, focused on lone parents, young people, disabled people and long-term unemployed people. These were followed by a plethora of pilots to develop and test innovative ideas.
Worklessness may not seem an obvious area of interest for Nesta, which like most innovation agencies has tended to focus in the past on technologies or topics like education.
Today's news saw the General Medical Council report that the number of complaints in the UK made about doctors has risen 23% in the past year. As the GMC pointed out, a rise in complaints doesn't necessarily mean declining standards of care, rather it may be due to rising expectations and an increasing willingness of the part of the public to complain.
I did my PhD from 1998-2001 comparing welfare reform in Buffalo, New York State to Sheffield in the UK. When asking to explain how the two systems were different for the lone parents experiencing them and which was more successful my short-hand was that the mandatory US system was better at moving lone parents into work, whilst the UK voluntary system of the then New Deal for Lone Parents was better at lifting lone parents out of poverty. So really, it depended on what your end game was.
Michael Gove's decision to overturn internal advice of the School Playing Fields Advisory board has once again brought to light the difficulties politicians can have with advisory boards.
At Nesta we are managing the Innovation in Giving fund backed through £10 million from the Cabinet Office. The fund is investing in, supporting and growing innovative ideas that will bring about a step-change in the giving and exchange of time, assets, skills, resources and money.
I've been fascinated by work and books theorising the changing nature of work since I started my PhD on work and poverty in 1998. Since then I have mainly read books on low-paid work and the lives of people who have to get by in jobs that barely enable them to make ends meet. After a gap of some years it was time this year to catch up on what more recent books were saying about the future of work.
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