Public Sector Social Innovation: It’s time we changed some old habits

In an article for Public Servant Magazine, Geoff Mulgan explains why Nesta is promoting social innovation in the UK and how SIX brings together innovators from around the world. For the last 14 years Nesta has been working to help people and organisations bring great ideas to life across a wide range of fields – from artists to entrepreneurs, local government to the health service.

One consistent lesson from experience is that the best ideas aren’t necessarily the ones that are most visible and the best innovators aren’t the ones who are best connected. That’s why Nesta has put a strong emphasis on using open methods to seek out promising ideas – for example with a new Centre for Challenge Prizes, offering prizes and support for new ideas to deal with issues such as waste reduction, isolation among older people and encouraging cycling. It’s also why we’re in the middle of a series of roadshows across the UK to showcase great ideas and connect us to new ones.

The UK’s prospects for growth depend on raising the game on innovation. The UK has always been highly creative. But we remain much less successful at turning creative ideas into strong businesses, or making them part of the public sector mainstream.