Hero Uk Launch 2

New learning programme open to all UK government


Kicking off in January 2020, the new programme helps public servants embed innovation skills into their everyday work and is open to all levels of UK government.

Since we launched in late 2017, we’ve helped public servants learn and apply innovation across the world through our learning programmes. We’re now pleased to be adding another with the launch of our first programme in the UK.

Starting in January 2020, the new programme is open to teams from any local, regional or central government agency across the United Kingdom. Taking place over six months, it’s a practice-led experience that helps public servants become better problem solvers and embed innovation skills into everyday working.

We know that many of the standard approaches used to tackle problems aren’t able to deal with the complexity and uncertainty facing us today. And that for a lot of public servants it can feel like the space to really understand or explore problems is clouded by the challenges of just getting things done.

This is why the States of Change learning programme has been designed to improve how we solve public problems more quickly, effectively, and with more efficient use of resources. It goes beyond conceptual knowledge and individual methods to explore the mindsets and cultures required to increase the ability of government to innovate.

Our faculty and partners

Central to States of Change is our faculty and partner network, who are all experienced innovation practitioners. As facilitators, mentors, subject matter experts and contributors they give practical support and guidance (e.g. on how to use specific tools or get buy-in from senior leaders) and help teams navigate challenges based on first-hand experience.

For the UK programme, the faculty will be drawn from across our extensive local partners (for example Nesta, Design Council, FutureGov) as well as our global faculty - see the full Programme Info Pack for more information.

How the programme works

Over six months, teams take part in the programme alongside their day jobs and learn how to take an experimental approach to problem solving. This involves exploring problems from new perspectives, and then testing and iterating possible solutions in order to quickly learn what works and what doesn’t. Importantly, participants also learn how to help create the right conditions for innovation to happen.

Throughout, teams work on real-life projects from their departments that they bring to the programme. This ensures a bias towards practical action and ‘learning by doing’, taking teams on a learning journey where they go from testing out new approaches to applying them in practice.

Who is it for?

The programme is designed to support teams of public servants who are eager to challenge ‘business as usual’ ways of working and ambitious to learn new approaches to government problem-solving.

The programme is open to teams from any local, regional or central government agency across the United Kingdom. Your team can already be working together, or a new team brought together specifically for the programme.

How is this programme different?

Many public sector training and education programmes fall short of equipping public officials with ‘innovation craft’ - the practical skills, mindsets and culture that enable innovation to thrive. States of Change focuses on working closely with its participants on practice-led, collaborative learning to help governments create real change from within.

What will the programme do?

By being part of the programme, teams will learn more effective ways of working including:

  • recognising how biases and assumptions impact their work and identifying ways to challenge this
  • taking a range of different perspectives to unpick challenges in new ways
    learning new methods to engage and work with citizens
  • gathering data from citizens about the nature of the challenge
  • developing, testing and iterating opportunities to learn what works and what doesn’t
  • building new team rhythms to create spaces to try new things
  • applying innovation tools and techniques to their everyday work
  • practically influencing and leveraging support for new ways of working
  • effectively communicating insights, ideas and ambitions with other stakeholders
  • managing projects within bureaucratic and political contexts to create space for innovation

A core outcome of the learning programme is to also strengthen the culture around innovation practice, and at the end of their journey teams will leave as advocates for change and help drive new ways of working within their departments.

What will teams need?

Teams will need to have a real-life project to learn with to ensure that the learning on the programme doesn’t remain theoretical, and permission to learn by securing executive sponsorship for their participation.

Find out more and how to apply

If this sounds like something you’d like to be involved in, then please download the Info Pack for full details and pricing, and then get in touch! We are here to help you shape your project and design a team that will set you up for success. The deadline for final applications is November 29.

We know that it can take some time to get all the internal approvals required to take part, so we suggest getting in touch as early as possible. There is only space for 10 teams on the programme, so we advise starting on your application as soon as you can.