Evaluating Innovate to Save
A key aim of the Y Lab partnership is to develop new ways to measure public service innovation and understand what drives innovation.
By evaluating Innovate to Save, Y Lab has a unique opportunity to follow the development of some of the best new ideas emerging from public services in Wales and explore how innovation funds function and support new ideas, for whom and how.
This will lead to the generation of new theory and evidence to inform future innovation funds and policies in Wales and elsewhere
The research team will follow the programme as it unfolds over the next 18 months. Such longitudinal access to researching cross-sector public service innovation is rare.
The myriad of teams that are expected to apply to the programme is an attractive proposition for research as it will enable us to examine how different service contexts, from police to healthcare, react to the opportunity to engage with innovation programmes – and how they manage the challenge of developing riskier ideas.
It’s exciting to anticipate the types of project that might come forward
Innovation in the public sector is vital and funding for it remains a key challenge. Publicly funded innovation programmes, and understanding the types of innovation that they engender or neglect, is an important area in this respect.
Research in this area tends to be from the USA, where the public, private and voluntary sectors (and relations between them) are very different. The long term research opportunity available here will give us the space to explore some ideas from the ground in Wales. For example, does the closely connected nature of public services in Wales enable certain types of projects to emerge and facilitate more effective dissemination into practice?
The connection and potential impact on citizens is a central part of this programme and will also inform all the research we carry out to evaluate it.
My own role working within Y Lab is to build a programme evaluation that maintains a critical distance from the development and management of the programme to ensure an objective view of programme delivery.
To help do this I will be collaborating with experts from the Cardiff Business School to help understand how the programme works, and also how it compares with other innovation programmes.
Our evaluation will span all three phases of Innovate to Save. First, as the programme is publicised and engagement begins, second as teams are supported to research and develop their ideas, and finally as successful projects are implemented and evaluated.
I look forward to working with the variety of teams across the Welsh public services that will be coming forward with ideas for the programme.
If you have questions or ideas about the evaluation don’t hesitate to contact me at [email protected]