UK learning programme launches with Nesta and Design Council

Last week we welcomed our first cohort of UK government teams to States of Change, as we kicked off our newest learning programme in partnership with Nesta and Design Council.

The six-month learning programme is designed to help public servants become better at problem solving and innovation in their everyday work, and this new UK version builds on our previous editions in Australia, New Zealand, Colombia and Canada.

We’re excited to be partnering with Design Council for the first time, and they’ll bring their experience of supporting governments to respond to challenges and build their capabilities into the programme. Harnessing our collective knowledge is key to building a richer picture of what works when innovating in government, and the programme partnership is of huge value as it exposes our participants to a wider range of experiences of actually doing innovation work in practice.

Introducing the teams

We have four teams taking part in the programme - two from the Scottish government, one from the Welsh government and one from regulator Ofcom. Their project themes are ‘fair work’ and the ‘wellbeing economy’ for the Scottish teams, social housing for the Welsh Government and ‘new communications’ for Ofcom.

The faculty and teams came together for the first time last week for the programme induction week in London, where they explored how to set both their project and team up for success. Teams now back in their day jobs putting some of the key tools and approaches into practice.

The programme

Over the next five months, we’ll continue to combine monthly intensive training sessions with their in-practice project work and mentoring, focusing on:

  • Exploring and framing: Teams learn how to use a set of innovation tools and techniques to help them identify assumptions, uncover biases and (re)frame their challenge. They explore it through different lenses: by looking from a systems perspective to understand the bigger picture, and by investigating how those most affected by the challenge experience it.
  • Developing and testing: Teams learn how to make sense of data they have gathered from citizens and stakeholders, to identify opportunities for testing new possible solutions and to improve these through an iterative process. Teams are encouraged to develop an action oriented mindset by building prototypes, and seeing how these help them to identify assumptions and learn what works and what doesn’t.
  • Validating and embedding: Teams learn how evidence and testing results can be used to help justify decision making, and how to measure impact to make a compelling case. Teams develop their advocacy and storytelling skills to prepare their organisation for change and learn ways to spread tools and embed innovation approaches across their organisation.

Our faculty

Throughout the programme, the teams will be guided by an experienced team with first-hand experience of innovating in the public sector, including Brenton Caffin, Executive Director of States of Change, Nat Hunter, Design Council Associate, and Cat Drew, Design Council’s Chief Design Officer.

We'll also be drawing in expertise on topics such as systems thinking or futures from our wider faculty - see who they are here.

To find out more about the programme, get in touch at uk@states-of-change.org, or you can keep up to date and see the teams in action on Twitter via @States_Change and @designcouncil.