Why are we doing this?
Governments have pioneered innovation throughout history. However, as economic, social and environmental challenges become increasingly complex, governments are struggling to effectively solve the problems they are facing. As the environments and tasks of government change, so do the competencies and skills needed to be an effective public leader or official.
An ever expanding landscape of potentially disruptive innovation approaches is available to public decision-makers. These include abilities to experiment, test and improve promising ideas rapidly; to generate and use data of all kinds; to harness knowledge from many sources and in multiple ways; to design interventions that resonate with people’s lives and aspirations; and to make the most of successive generations of digital technology.
The challenge is how to approach this complex innovation space. There is a genuine need among public leaders and policymakers for better strategic and practical support of this transformational process. However, current training and development offers in the field are falling short of fulfilling the task of educating and enabling better government innovation capacity.
What are we doing?
Nesta initiated States of Change in 2017 – a new way of developing and supporting public innovation learning for creating public impact. Across the globe, government teams are pioneering new practice in public innovation. States of Change is a collective that supports this growing global movement, and in 2019 became its own independent not-for-profit. We want to build the culture and capability of governments to practically deal with the complex problems they face. Our aim is to strengthen the community of practice that already exists and support people on their transformative journey by:
- developing innovation learning based on practice rather than theory, and sharing experiences, methods and cases from the global network of practitioners
- running collaborative R&D projects to explore and test what works in order to further the field of public innovation
- co-developing practice-led learning programmes to support cultural change in government
States of Change aims to advance the field of innovation learning beyond methods and tools by focusing on the craft of government innovation – what it takes in practice to navigate and apply a range of innovation approaches, as well as managing the conditions and implications that these new approaches create within government organisations.
States of Change was initiated by Nesta, but is a collective brought to life by our faculty, our government partners and the wider community of practice.
We are collaborating with the world’s best innovation practitioners and experts to form an international faculty and learning collective. This faculty will play a key role in delivering our learning programmes, as well as contributing to the growing body of practical experiences and knowledge that exists within the community of practice.
We are also partnering with ambitious governments to help them build their innovation capacity and grow the movement of public innovation practitioners.
States of Change is first and foremost building on the expertise, experiences and ideas of the current community of practice within government innovation. In addition, Nesta has a wide-ranging portfolio of work focusing on government innovation. Significantly, several projects are exploring how innovation teams work in government, innovations in democracy and public participation, data-led governance innovation, and redesign of public services within core areas like health and social services.
States of Change is furthering this work and is specifically building on the i-teams research focusing on how to dedicate innovation resources within government organisations. Equally, it links to further the insights presented by the monthly newsletter focused on innovation lab practice LabNotes and the global gathering of government innovation labs at LabWorks in 2015.
Moreover, States of Change is building on the experiences of developing and leveraging innovation learning resources such as the DIY toolkit, practice-guides for innovation labs and Design for Europe.
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