The teams and funds making innovation happen in governments around the world

Nesta and Bloomberg Philanthropies have published the i-teams report to explore in-depth twenty innovation teams and funds from around the world. We analyse the diversity of structures and approaches, their impacts, and the key lessons for other government leaders looking to emulate these efforts. 

We present the new practices being developed and implemented by city and national governments around the world – to understand their different approaches, their successes and their limitations. It acts a field guide for political leaders and executives who have the vision to innovate and need to create the capacity to make it happen. 

Key findings

All governments need institutions to catalyse innovation.  The best mayors and ministers recognise this and put in place i-teams, dedicated teams, units and funds, to structure and embed innovation methods and practice in government.

Based on our analysis i-teams fall into one of four categories: creating solutions to solve specific challenges, engaging citizens, non-profits and businesses to find new ideas, transforming the processes, skills and culture of government, or achieving wider policy and systems change.  They are overcoming a range of issues, from reducing murder rates, making it easier to register a business, improving school performance, to booting economic growth.

Drawing on desk research, site visits, over 80 interviews, and a survey to analyse twenty i-teams from across six continents, the report reveals that innovation requires dedicated capacity, specific skills, methods, partnerships, and consistent political support. The study shows the ways in which these elements have been combined successfully to achieve impressive results.

We have created a set of 10 recommendations for other government leaders to learn from and to emulate these efforts.