Author Archive

People Powered Health – Innovation Unit working with Nesta on coproduction for people with Long Term Health Conditions

By Peter Baeck

This week saw the launch of NESTA’s People Powered Health programme.

People Powered Health is a new programme from NESTA, working with the Innovation Unit, to support the design and delivery of innovative services for people that are living with long term health conditions.

Over the next twenty months, it will provide investment and support to partnerships of commissioners, providers and consumers of health and social care services to develop innovative solutions that achieve better outcomes for people living with long term health conditions and reduce the pressure on health services.

The focus of the programme is the concept of coproduction – that people’s needs are better met when they are involved in an equal and reciprocal relationship with professionals, working together to get things done.  (more…)

May 6, 2011 at 5:20 pm Leave a comment

Frikommuner – Lessons on local authority freedom to innovate from Denmark?

By Peter Baeck

As part of our work on Radical Efficiency, and its analysis of what the UK could learn from radical innovations from across the world that have delivered better, lower cost and very different public services, we recommend the establishment of Radical Efficiency zones in 20 pioneering localities across the UK:

We believe that the right next step is a series of radical efficiency zones. These would create the space and encourage the aspiration in local authorities to rethink how they can improve the quality of people’s lives in their area.(Gillinson S, et al (2010) Radical Efficiency. NESTA)

While our wish to see Radical Efficiency zones grow in local authorities across the UK hasn’t come through yet, there might be some inspiration on how to create these zones Denmark (more…)

April 7, 2011 at 9:45 am Leave a comment

A budget for Growth, Happiness, Equality and Life Expectancy Please

By Peter Baeck

Two weeks ago George Osborne presented his ‘Budget for Growth’. A few articles, presentations and podcasts I’ve come across between then and now, have made me think about ‘growth’, and how we sometimes may look for the wrong things when trying to find out what we value in our society and how we want to grow this. (more…)

April 4, 2011 at 3:52 pm 2 comments

Do we need more social activists – and can they learn from organisations like Green Peace

By Peter Baeck

I recently read this really interesting feature story in the Danish newspaper Information (it’s in Danish, so unless you are one of our few Danish readers, I’m sorry!!), by Knud Vilby the chairman of Denmark’s Social political association. Vilby raises some interesting questions to what the role of volunteers in the delivery of public services should and shouldn’t be.  Most of these are directly transferrable to the debate in the UK around volunteering and the Big Society (more…)

March 22, 2011 at 1:54 pm 2 comments

From ‘The George and Dragon’ to Hudswell Community Pub Ltd

By Peter Baeck

One of the most frequent points i find myself (and many others) making, when discussing  how communities could better make use of existing local assetts, is how many of the pubs that has closed down in the recent years could be taken over and run by local communities and turned in to community hubs.

ALthough that is a great point, its been pretty hard to back it up with evidence.  The  transformation of the closed down pub ‘The George and Dragon’ in Hudswell to being the Hudswell Community Pub Ltd might change that. The short clip below tells the story, but in short, Hudswell is a great example of how more than a 100 local residents have volunteered to run the pub as a centre for the community.

March 18, 2011 at 3:07 pm 2 comments

Apps of steel

By Peter Baeck

A month or so ago i blogged about my favourite public service apps, and praised the fixmystreet app to the sky, for letting me report potholes in the road on my way to work using my htc desire phone. Anyway, as i raised in my previous blog the big challenge is for the public sector to work with this new way of capturing knowledge and fully integrate it in to how it plans and does business.

I just came across this great article today about how this is happening in cities in the US, where authorities are really starting to not support the development of new public apps as well integrate knowledge from existing apps.

Since March, San Francisco residents have been able to let city hall know about potholes, trash and graffiti problems by using mobile apps or the Web, as well as through the more traditional (and expensive) call centers. Perhaps more important, the city encouraged developers to dive into its trove of data. The results: more than 50 privately produced mobile apps, which work on gadgets such as iPhones and Android cell phones, that track everything in San Francisco from restaurant health codes to the most popular biking routes.

The article gives some great examples of how integrating new technology can really help improve our cities and public services.

(On a slight side note, if you are interested in how invention and innovation help make cities great, you should definetely go to this free guest lecture at the LSE Triump of the city, how our greatest invention makes us richer, smarter, greener, healthier and happier)

March 10, 2011 at 5:51 pm 1 comment

Coproduction and my strained finger

A few weeks ago I sprained my finger. During a football game I got tackled and landed in way that twisted my finger. With the adrenaline pumping I didn’t really feel anything, but afterwards it really hurt and I thought about going to the A&E to have it wrapped it up, and get some professional advice on how to deal with my injury.

Luckily, before I did that, I had a quick chat to a friend of mine who plays basketball, who assured me that ‘this happens all the time in basketball’, and reassured me that all I needed to to was go home, put some ice on it  and “buddy tape” it, by taping it to an adjacent bigger stronger finger. I followed his advice, and now, two weeks later, my finger is almost fully recovered.

So, what does my weekday football accident mean for innovation in public services? (more…)

March 10, 2011 at 4:38 pm Leave a comment

Social Innovation on Two Wheels

By Peter Baeck

Everyday i bike in to work, and as i have previously blogged about, being a cyclist in London is, besides from being the quickest, healthiest and most environmentally friendly way of getting around, still connected to a number of perils. These include steering clear of buses turning left, dodging potholes and finding the most bicycle friendly route. Some free cycle training is a good way of getting better at doing the first, and the fixmystreet app is a great tool for the dealing with the second, , and now there is inspiration from Edinburgh on how we can do third.  

Inner tube map taken from


March 1, 2011 at 11:25 am 2 comments

Thank you for sharing

By Peter Baeck

One of the big challenges when doing innovation research is, as it is with any research, to find the great sources. As we have shown in Radical Efficiency, innovations from other or similar sectors and organizations inspire innovators to replicate existing  innovations or learn from business models already developed elsewhere. In that context i just want to say a big thank you to IDEO. Innovation Unit is currently doing research into innovation in maternal healht, and this morning i came across this great resource on the OpenIDEO homepage, which highlights lots of great innovations that could be of inspiration to this work.

It is sharing like IDEO’s, or the one done by public service professionals in the IDEA communities of practice that can help speed up innovation in public services by sharing ideas and insights. So thank you for sharing!!

January 25, 2011 at 12:07 pm Leave a comment

While we are waiting for the next green idea – 3 stories of eco-entrepreneurship

By Peter Baeck

Earlier this week i pointed out that 2010 was the hottest year that have been measured globally while surveys on this have been undertaken, and that 2011 looks like its going to be even hotter. In a response to my blog my  colleague Raj pointed out 21-27 March is national climate week, and asked, what are you going to do to make a change? We have since been throwing the idea of doing something around the office and so far we have come up with ideas such as walking or biking to work, cutting down on printing, reducing heat use and turning of our screens when we go on lunch break, plus the slighty more radical suggestion of fitting solar panels to the roof top of our offices. Although still very valid, these ideas are well known and should ideally be common practice in all offices, we are still looking for the really radical green  ideas. Luckily, while we are still looking, there are already lots of great stories of local eco-entrepreneurship out there, such as the ones told by Majora Carter below.

January 21, 2011 at 4:23 pm Leave a comment

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