Director, Innovation Lab

Melani Oliver



Join Date

August 2012

What I do

Melani is a Director in the Innovation Lab specialising in local government and public service innovation.


Before joining she worked as a senior manager in education and children services in various local authorities, most recently in Reading Borough Council which is typified by high levels of intergenerational poverty and worklessness sitting alongside prosperous wealthy communities.

She has managed a broad range of services including adult education, early years, youth services, parenting and early intervention, schools services and has led on large projects such as restructuring councils departments. 

Between 2010 and 2012, Melani led Reading Council's work with Nesta and the Innovation Unit as part of the Transforming Early Years programme, applying the Radical Efficiency approach to deliver better outcomes at lower costs.  This developed from a focus on early years services to a wider plan to transform the council's relationship with citizens. 

Melani trained as a social worker in the late 1980s early 1990s having been inspired by research she had carried out in Liverpool after the riots in the early 1980's.  Melani completed a Masters in Leadership in Public Organisations with Distinction in 2011.

She is particularly interested in early intervention, and how by changing professionals behaviour and attitudes can result in improved success in breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty.  She has advised a wide range of councils and other organisations on transformation and innovation.