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.

Started: 2012
Website: www.intelligenthealth.co.uk
Twitter: @Intelligent_Hlt @BTSWolves
Location: Reading

Founded by GP Dr William Bird MBE, Intelligent Health is dedicated to making physical activity a way of life through measurable campaigns with long-term, community-wide benefits.

Its radical innovation is Beat the Street, which turns your town into a game where people earn points as they walk, cycle and run around. Beat Box sensors are placed on lamp­posts around the town for players to tap their card against, scoring points for the distance they walk, cycle or scoot.

BTS takes a community approach to behaviour change. Working with schools, GPs, local authorities, community organisations and local media, it unites the whole community in mass participation. Daily social media content and incentives keep the game engaging and fun for the residents. And it’s successful: 175,000 people played in 2015 in 21 different areas, with a projected figure of more than 300,000 by the end of 2016.

The long-term impact is that BTS acts as a catalyst for behaviour change, while creating a social norm around walking and cycling. Statistics bear this out, with 48 per cent using the car less and nine out of ten participants saying it helped them be more active. There is both a personal impact on wellbeing and a financial incentive too as councils recoup long-term savings as people make physical activity a habit.

“We understand the positive impact that physical activity has on health and happiness and on the resilience of communities and know how to translate that knowledge into action,” says Dr William Bird MBE.