Innovate to Save: How to tell your project story
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Innovate to Save: How to tell your project story

Three months in to the Innovate to Save programme, our seven R&D projects are really getting stuck in. Amidst the challenging work of innovating a public service, it can be easy to forget to take stock of the impact the projects are having on the people who use that service. And as the end of R&D approaches, those that will make decisions about the continuation of that work will need to hear what has happened.

What do we need to tell a good project story?

Bootcamp 2 focused on communication and storytelling. How to refine your work into a pitch and persuade those around you that your work is vital? How to show and talk about shared challenges and common obstacles? How to think about your story and why it matters? What resources do you need to do all this effectively?

Nailing your pitch

We started the day off with a pitching session by Steve Lee. This was a great opportunity for projects to refresh on who their ‘audience’ is and what they really need to know. And to concisely describe their project, goals and ask in a 90 second pitch.

Three pieces of advice we took away?

  • Know who you’re talking to and tailor your messages accordingly
  • Remember your unique selling point and make it really clear
  • Always end with a call to action - what do you want your listeners to do next?
Pitching Tins

Using three words to indicate a famous brand. Can you guess which is which?

Common Challenges

Bringing the cohort together gave us a chance to talk through common challenges or worries that come with running an innovative project. We made full use of the wealth of knowledge and experience in the room by running a ‘cohort advice clinic’ where projects could talk through challenges and come up with action plans advised by other teams.

What we learned by talking to each other:

  • Our problems aren’t all unique to our project
  • Some of the best advice comes from those who have been there too
  • Changing things is hard and talking helps!

Visual notes taken by Laura Sorvala at Innovate to Save Bootcamp.

Telling your story

Telling a good and compelling story can be the key to reaching the next stage with your project. By the time our Innovate to Save projects conclude their R&D this summer, they will have been on an exciting and inspiring journey, so we believe it’s important to start thinking about telling that story from the beginning. Managing assets in an organised way, documenting the journey in different ways and exploring various storytelling formats early on can help you pull together a great story at the end.

What’s important?

  • Capture what you can, when you can and file it well!
  • Think creatively about how you could tell your story - visual storytelling, graphic recording, videography, data visualisation - don’t feel it has to be written down in narrative form.
  • Test your story out on others who don’t know about your work - does it get across the key information you wanted? Did they grasp the key changes you made?

Telling and honing your story with others can bring better understanding of everything you have achieved so far

We really believe that cohort learning works. Telling and honing your story with others can bring better understanding of everything you have achieved so far and what is left to do. The opportunity to talk through similarities within their projects, problem solve together and learn new skills can be invaluable. We look forward to sharing the Innovate to Save project stories with you later this year.


Amy Richards

Amy Richards

Amy Richards

Assistant Programme Manager, Y Lab

Amy is an Assistant Programme Manager at Y Lab.

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