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.

The New Operating Models Handbook captures the ideas and experience of the 20 pioneering local authorities who made up the Upstream Collaborative.

These local government innovators are all experimenting with different ways to address complex challenges, by moving attention and resources upstream of service delivery to create the conditions that enable citizens to thrive. To do this they have adopted new ways of working – new operating models – that acknowledge the complexity and interconnectedness of social issues and the people and organisations that aim to tackle them.

The work of these innovators, and the experiences of the communities they serve, has informed the development of a framework which characterises what new operating models in local government look like in practice. We describe this framework, the drivers behind it and the work that has informed it in Introducing New Operating Models.

New operating models diagram.

New Operating Models provide a bridge between purpose and outcomes. Mindset is at the heart, influencing the values and principles the affect how a local authority makes use of of its infrastructure and capabilities.

During the programme, members of the Upstream Collaborative formed workgroups, coming together to help themselves and others develop their practice. These workgroups produced a set of learning products that explore how new operating models work in practice, and what changes can be made to help them become more widespread. In total, the Handbook consists of six parts which you may explore below.