The Work Programme, the government's flagship welfare to work initiative, introduced large, long payment-by-results contracts for providers that have complete autonomy as to how they support participants. So what do we know, so far, about whether this 'black box' for provision has stimulated innovation?
Two weeks ago we ran a stand at the Big Bang Fair, the largest annual science, technology and engineering exhibition for young people in the UK. With around 50,000 7-19-year-olds spread across four days the result was an explosion of activity and a tired but happy Make Things Do Stuff crew.
The ageing population is often described as a burden, or even a tidal wave of need, which is relevant to systems innovation because this perspective is driven by a fear of system collapse. The systems in question - such as pensions and care - are creaking to the point of failure and are major causes for concern.
As Professor Andy Stirling of SPRU at the University of Sussex has long pointed out, cries for "innovation" are too often uncritically uttered without any consideration of the crucial counterpart: "for what?".
How do we help or support people that live in situations that do not fit into the system's categories? This question is constantly reoccurring in the development of our public service systems.
The single largest new measure in this week's Budget (aside from capital investments) was an allowance of up to £2,000 per year to offset the costs of employment for all businesses and charities. We know that entrepreneurial small businesses are set to drive growth in coming years, so is this the boost they need to take the risk and create new jobs?
This is the second of two blog articles that follow on from Nesta's roundtable on Systemic Innovation. Yesterday's blog focused on systems, whereas this one is about innovation.
This was an odd Budget. From a Nesta perspective there were welcome moves - including support for creative industries, a potential tax relief for investment in social enterprises and a big expansion of SBIR (Small Business Research Initiative), redirecting public procurement towards innovative small firms.
Recently, Paul Ormerod and I were invited to a round-table at Nesta to discuss systemic innovation. After that meeting, we were invited to write a blog reflecting on this issue. I thought it might be neat to write two articles, one on systems and one on innovation.
I recently made my first proper visit to Brazil, visiting Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Brasilia, and meeting a wide range of people, from banks and innovation agencies, to universities, accelerators, startups, civil society groups, arts collectives and government ministries.
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