About Nesta

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.

Introducing DIY Learn

We’re pleased to launch DIY Learn, an exciting new learning initiative we have created in collaboration with The Open University with support from the Rockefeller Foundation.

DIY Learn is our new online learning programme in innovation designed to help you start using new tools in your own work. We’ve partnered with The Open University (OU) to create ten interactive, bite-sized modules that provide instruction on tools and methods from Nesta’s popular DIY Toolkit. DIY Learn features the most widely used tools from the toolkit such as Theory of Change and Business Model Canvas (see full list below).

Each module is freely available on the OU’s OpenLearn Create platform and you’ll receive a badge to reward you for completion.

We've also created a short quiz that you can take to help you understand where you are on your innovation journey and how innovation tools can support your everyday work. 

Why have we created DIY Learn?

Since it launched in March 2014, the DIY Toolkit has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times by people in over 200 countries and territories. It is used by NGOs, governments and foundations around the world to explore innovation approaches and improve the way they work.

With this extension we are going a step further. To help us deliver on our big vision for innovation to become the new normal, we have two core objectives:

  • to reach more people with our work
  • to bring about deeper learning around innovation

This project will make a significant contribution to achieve these goals by providing:

  • quality distance education at scale
  • a first of its kind modular curriculum on innovation tools and methods
  • just-in-time learning available on demand
  • platform agnostic content that can easily plug into existing learning initiatives and platforms

How can DIY Learn help you?

We believe that everyone has the ability to innovate and DIY Learn modules are designed with a broad audience in mind. They are quick and easy to use, with key features including:

  • Bite-sized modules - approximately two hours each in length
  • On demand content - access learning whenever you need to
  • Community - network with peers and other professionals online
  • Certification - earn badges for completing modules
  • Multi-device access - use the content on multiple platforms and devices

What next?

You can get started on the modules right now on the OpenLearn Works platform or take the quiz to see which tools you should start with.  And if you would like more details about the project to understand how you and/or your organisation can best utilise the content, please do get in touch with us by contacting [email protected].

The tools

Explore the ten tools below:

  • Problem Definition - clarify your priorities by focusing on key critical issues.
  • Evidence Planning  - define the outcomes of your work by articulating what you are trying to accomplish.
  • Personas - visualise key characteristics of the people you are working with and for.
  • Fast Ideas Generator - come up with new ideas by looking at a problem or opportunity from a range of different perspectives.
  • Question Ladder - collect inputs from others by getting to the heart of what motivates people.
  • SWOT Analysis - identify and map the factors that are assisting or hindering you in achieving your goal.
  • Theory of Change - define your goals and map out the path to reach them.
  • Business Model Canvas - create a roadmap for how to grow your idea into something bigger.
  • Creative Workshop - bring people together and collaborate with them to help solve problems.
  • Building Partnerships - develop a plan for working with other groups that have the same vision as you.


Part of
DIY Learn


Theo Keane

Theo Keane

Theo Keane

Senior Programme Manager

Theo was a Senior Programme Manager in the Innovation Skills team, responsible for the design and delivery of innovation skills initiatives for international development and public sec…

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