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.

Signals in the Noise

This short discussion paper sets out a framework for new operating models to guide work and thinking about the changing role and function of local government.

The framework provides an approach to public services for today's fast-moving and connected world, acknowledging the complexity and interconnectedness of social issues, and the people and organisations that aim to tackle them.

Working with the 20 councils participating in our Collaborative Upstream Network, we explored examples of new approaches where early interventions are helping to tackle complex social problems.

We found that:

  • Many local authorities are reframing their purpose, and putting people and communities at the heart of the change they are working to create.
  • The mindset of local authorities is shifting, with new operating models being anchored in a new set of values and principles, such as openness, collaboration, relationship building and the sharing of power.
  • New capabilities, such as new technologies and new methods, are enhancing the work of local authorities, for example by involving citizens in decision-making or producing new perspectives to support their relationship-focused practical work.
  • Local authorities are rethinking the way they use their assets, data, or revenue models to create new, supportive infrastructures for these new ways of working.


Codrina Cretu

Codrina Cretu

Codrina Cretu

Mission Manager, sustainable future mission

Codrina is mission manager for the sustainable future mission.

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