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.

Innovation projects often focus on a single stage in the innovation cycle, and are then handed over to others to take things forward - at which point, important ideas, insights and commitment can get lost.

The 100 day challenge aims to get frontline staff and decision makers to ‘own’ a problem right through the innovation cycle. The team have used the method in over 25 places across England, to tackle some of the most complex challenges in health, ranging from reducing unplanned hospital admissions and reducing demand for planned care, to implementing preventative approaches across a range of population groups and testing multi-disciplinary neighbourhood care models.

People Powered Results Workshop

The model empowers frontline staff to test different approaches and work across professional boundaries, within a defined period. Rather than ‘commissioning’ a solution, leaders are encouraged to engage in ‘permissioning’ - making it possible for frontline staff to try out new ways of working, for example different working hours, team composition, pathways, configuration of IT systems and collaboration with the voluntary sector.

Each 100 day challenge usually involves three phases: design, 100 day journey, and sustainability and dissemination. The two-month design phase is focused on identifying problems and building consensus. The PPR team works with system leaders (both local and national) to design a challenge. Next, frontline teams convene at a two-day launch event to explore the ideas they want to prototype and set ‘unreasonable but believable goals’ to keep them focused during their 100 day journey.

100 day challenges are intensive periods of action and collaboration that typically involve representatives from health, social care and voluntary organisations. System and organisational leaders are supported to break down longer-term strategies into challenges with measurable objectives. Frontline practitioners and citizens set ambitious goals, and develop and test creative solutions in real conditions.

During the final sustainability and diffusion phase, frontline teams meet with system leaders to consolidate and distil learning, and explore sustaining and scaling the innovations that have emerged.

Image credit: Dan Farag