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i-teams: The teams and funds making innovation happen in governments around the world

This report tells the stories of 20 teams, units and funds established by governments and charged with making innovation happen. They work across the spectrum of innovation – from focusing on incremental improvements to aiming for radical transformations.

This report, from Nesta and Bloomberg Philanthropies, tells the stories of 20 teams, units and funds established by governments and charged with making innovation happen. They work across the spectrum of innovation – from focusing on incremental improvements to aiming for radical transformations.

Key findings

  • All governments need institutions to catalyse innovation.  The best mayors and ministers recognise this and put in place i-teams, dedicated teams, units and funds, to structure and embed innovation methods and practice in government.
  • Based on our analysis, i-teams fall into one of four categories: creating solutions to solve specific challenges, engaging citizens, non-profits and businesses to find new ideas, transforming the processes, skills and culture of government, or achieving wider policy and systems change.  They are overcoming a range of issues, from reducing murder rates, making it easier to register a business, improving school performance, to booting economic growth.
  • Drawing on desk research, site visits, over 80 interviews, and a survey to analyse twenty i-teams from across six continents, the report reveals that innovation requires dedicated capacity, specific skills, methods, partnerships, and consistent political support. The study shows the ways in which these elements have been combined successfully to achieve impressive results.
  • We have created a set of 10 recommendations for other government leaders to learn from and to emulate these efforts.

Governments have pioneered some of the greatest innovations in modern history. Driven by entrepreneurial and visionary leadership, city and national governments are capable of amazing things.

But while governments can be pioneering and innovative, they can also struggle to find the space and time to invest in the future when they are responsible for delivering the services that people rely on today. Smart political leadership recognises this tendency and creates the structures, capabilities and space needed to allow innovation to happen.

These are the i-teams: the innovation teams, units and funds that are helping transform governments around the world.

Authors
Ruth Puttick, Philip Colligan, Peter Baeck

Authors

Peter Baeck

Peter Baeck

Peter Baeck

Head of Collaborative Economy Research

Peter focuses on the collaborative economy, crowdfunding, P2P lending and the role of digital technolgies in public and social innovation. Peter lead much of Nesta's research into cr...

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Philip Colligan

Philip Colligan

Philip Colligan

Guest blogger

Philip is the Chief Executive of the Raspberry Pi Foundation.

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Ruth Puttick

Ruth Puttick

Ruth Puttick

Principal Researcher - Public and Social Innovation

Ruth was Principal Researcher for public and social innovation. Ruth joined the Nesta policy and research team in 2009, working on a range of projects across innovation, investment a...

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