Why we did this?
Y Lab’s Innovation Fund is an initiative launched to devise and test new answers to major public service problems in Wales. Along with the Welsh Government and Cardiff University, Nesta recognises the need for innovations across public services in Wales. The fund was created in response to an identified need for more funding opportunities, and support and guidance for smaller projects with potential to make positive change in this field.
We believe that positive changes can be made by looking at the way public services run in Wales; making practical interventions where needed; and offering funding and non-financial support to organisations with the greatest potential impact.
What did we do?
The fund supported public service organisations wishing to use digital technology to trial smarter, more future-facing ways of working. Y Lab drew on precedents set by Nesta and its work in the field of government innovation to deliver a programme with resonance across Wales.
The fund was used to support the establishment of a new Digital Innovators' Network, run by Y Lab, which brought together public sector digital leaders to share best practice.
There was also the opportunity for the network to pitch for accelerator funding in order to develop demonstrator projects. Examples of projects that could be funded included those that used public data to better target services, or that streamlined systems and processes, or made services more accessible. Five projects were announced for Y Lab’s Digital Innovation Accelerator. Read about them here.
Support provided through the fund included access to business advice, events, workshops and mentoring. There was a programme of hackdays, workshops and leader briefings to help disseminate the fund’s work and extend its reach across Wales.
What were the results?
Read about some of our findings in this blog post. Projects operating around the same time included the Digital R&D Fund for the Arts and Digital Innovation Fund for the Arts in Wales.