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Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society.

Basic income experiments, and the co-designer's dilemma...

Lab Notes - the August edition

In the August edition of Lab Notes we take a look at what's happening in the world of public sector innovators and innovation labs worldwide. Check out our key lab picks to find out about everything from basic income experiments to the co-designer's dilemma...

This month’s key lab picks:

1. In Cambodia, a community-based HIV testing programme is focusing on key populations who tend not to attend health clinics. Read this Diplomat article about this public health initiative, Innovative programme brings HIV testing to Cambodian communities

2. UNDP’s innovation lab in Armenia Koba recently commissioned FutureGovto evaluate the progress of its innovation work. The UNDP blog, 8 ways to make innovation the norm in a UNDP country office, includes useful highlights from this evaluation process for other lab leaders.

3. A recent surge in basic income experiments highlights the growing interest in exploring how basic income really works in practice. To find out more, read the Fast Co. Exist article Basic Income Is Happening: The Growing Support And Early Experiments Of A Radical Policy

4. This month’s issue of Tech4Labs, Ready, Set, Launch: Implementation and Delivery for your Lab's Project, offers some tips and tools to help your Lab plan for the roadblocks, pivots and iterations you’ll likely encounter as you get your Lab project up and running.

5. MaRS Solutions Lab has just published its Ontario Tender Fruit Lab Final Report. It shares insights on the process and also the ideas that it’s moving forward with to build a more economically-viable, sustainable, and resilient tender fruit industry in Ontario, Canada.

6. Nesta has launched two new innovation labs in the past month: Health Lab, a new initiative which brings together Nesta’s practical work on health and ageing to achieve more impact, and Y Lab - a public innovation lab with a mission to work closely with practitioners and policy makers to develop and test civic and public service innovations in a safe space in Wales.

7. Jesper Christiansen and Runa Sabroe of MindLab share some reflections on whether public policy has evolved with our growing recognition of the complex character of public problems in this Public Sector Digest article,Innovation Labs as Public Change Agents.

8. In Go beyond half-truths in Africa’s innovation agenda, Russell Southwood, CEO of Balancing Act, offers a frank account of the successes and failures of Africa’s innovation agenda to date and writes about the opportunities for government to collaborate with various actors to create more disruptive systemic solutions.

9. Government auditors are not always considered to be at the forefront of public sector innovation – yet this article in The Economist, The wisdom of watchdogs: What decent auditing does for public administration, captures just how important they are at bolstering public trust in government.

10. Co-design is trendy, but is it really effective at solving complex public service delivery challenges? In this Center for Innovation feature, The Co-Design Dilemma, Josina Vink considers the shifts needed to make co-design methods more impactful for health care systems change, and reflects on the need to refine current approaches.

11. Keynes brought the existence of ‘animal spirits’ to the attention of economists. Now a growing body of evidence is demonstrating public servants should also pay attention to the ‘human factor’ for improved public service outcomes. Check out the Governing article Behavioral Science’s Growing Role in Making Government Work Better.

12. Beth Noveck and Andrew Young of GovLab launched the 'Network of Innovators' at the Canada International Open Data Conference to explore how to respond to the need to connect creativity and knowledge. Read more on their reflections on their experiment’s findings and next steps.

13. Finding ways to evaluate your interventions aimed at systemic change is not easy. Hassan Zaid’s blog helpfully sets out some helpful tips for your lab in Ten Hacks Towards World Class Evaluation.

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Sophie Reynolds

Sophie Reynolds

Sophie Reynolds

Former Senior Researcher - Public and Social Innovation

Sophie was a Senior Researcher in Nesta’s Policy and Research unit. She is now Director of Sophie Reynolds Research & Consultancy.

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