On the one hand I read that the characteristics of innovation are:
- it often happens at the margins (of groups, organisations, societies)
- innovators are often members of the “awkward squad” (various versions of the invention of Post-It notes are often cited)
- innovations usually start small and take time to gain traction
- innovators characteristically do not give up – for years .
In other words, maybe not a lot there you can control or predict.
On the other hand there’s a whole industry around public service innovation with government departments devoted to it, quangoes promoting it, reports analysing it, even auditors urging public bodies to adopt an “efficiency, innovation and improvement strategy”.
Then along comes the wonderful web with a random tweet from davebriggs
Thanks Dave, it was good. But more to the point, with a few clicks it led me via Australia back to the UK and the worldwide perspective of The Open Book of Social Innovation by Robin Murray, Julie Caulier-Grice and Geoff Mulgan. For once the content justifies the claim in the foreword:
The Open Book presents a varied, vibrant picture of social innovation in practice and demonstrates the vitality of this rapidly emerging economy. It is fantastically rich, and demonstrates the diversity of initiatives being led by entrepreneurs and campaigners, organizations and movements worldwide.
My advice –go read.