Helping innovations out of intensive care

September 24, 2009 at 4:43 pm 2 comments

by John Craig

This week, I facillitated a workshop on behalf of the Innovators Council, an independent group of impressive individuals set up by the Cabinet Office to challenge the Government around their support for innovation.  The idea of the workshop was to hear from innovators themselves – from across the public, private and third sectors – about the challenges they face.  Two projects from Innovation Exchange’s own Next Practice Programme were represented – Dance United and The Prince’s Trust.

The session was really affirming.  In facillitating, I was conscious that these are all busy people with little time.  But the sense of  solidarity the group got from recognising their own experiences in others’ was palpable.  Stand out contribution for me belonged to Dance United’s Andrew Coggins.   Andrew had a metaphor about the transition from intensive care to a mainstream ward, which can be a big shock – suddenly key relationships and supports are removed and it’s sink or swim.  As a result, while it is difficult to achieve and sustain, doctors now work to create transitional support for the patients in the most serious situations.  

Andrew argued that the experience of ‘mainstreaming’ for public service innovations is somewhat similar – conditions for start-up are relatively propitious, but too many projects hit a wall at the point where they seek to scale up.  So, he asked, what does this transition support look like for social innovation?  Naturally, I think Honest Brokers has some answers, but I was too disciplined a facillitator to mention it 🙂


Entry filed under: Government Departments, Innovation Policy, Third Sector Innovation. Tags: , , , .

Customer Perception: Tracking Research Don’t mention innovation

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. alecpatton  |  September 24, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    I can’t help noticing that childbirth and infancy metaphors are more tradiational for this kind of thing (think of the term “incubator”) than convalescence metaphors. Do you think there’s something about the sector that tilted towards “healing” rather than “birth” as a frame of reference? Or is this just one of those “you had to be there” things?

  • 2. John Craig  |  September 25, 2009 at 7:47 am

    Well, what appealed to me was that in the case of transfer from intensive care, this is a practical problem that the health system is in fact working to solve. So it gave me hope for our innovation systems.


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