At the Socap conference in San Francisco in early October, over fifteen hundred people gathered to talk about the "intersection of money and meaning". Socap is the biggest gathering of impact investors in the world, and participants who travel to San Francisco from every continent are described as 'pioneers' seeking to "direct the power and efficiency of market systems toward social impact".
A new support programme for start-ups, launched this week, could be moving us one step closer to a world where all our devices are intelligent, connecting and sharing data via the web.
As collaborative technologies facilitate greater involvement from service users in the way public services are commissioned, designed and delivered, so service roles will also change. This inevitably raises questions about professionals and how their roles will evolve.
It was good to see the Economist exploring the idea of public involvement in innovation, with its recent piece on crowdfunding science. But this doesn't go far enough.
News out today suggests that Lord Heseltine's review of industrial strategy will call for foreign takeovers of British businesses to be subject to a "public interest" test.
Papers are now online from the US Public Sector Prizes event organised by the Case Foundation, the Joyce Foundation and the White House Office of Science and Technology policy earlier this year.
Collecting evidence on the impact of a digital intervention is vital to developing radical, innovative solutions to the problems facing public services today. The benefits of grounding the development of new service delivery tools in rigorous evidence should be obvious: being able to demonstrate an innovation works points to its potential longer term impact and will increase the likelihood it will be taken to scale.
Despite their different appearances, on a functional level, every city around the world is the same: they are connected by their need to provide services to large numbers of people in a condensed area. It is clear that digital public service innovation is something that tends to be initiated on a local level, as citizens respond to problems they observe in their own environment.
Today's global financial and social crises demand innovation not only in public services, but within the whole bureaucratic, administrative system of public governance. Yet innovation introduces uncertainty and unpredictability into decision-making which can sit uncomfortably with the status quo. What are new principles for decision-making that can be more conducive to innovation in the public sector?
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