Main proposal

Our proposal in response to the Cabinet Office tender was developed here. First ideas below under developing the model, with an animated explanation at Concept - the movie. Final delivery made on May 14. We aren't stopping - so register to get your own blog and start a new conversation (thread). Updates on our thinking here.

Final version of the proposal - and what's next

We submitted our bid for the Open Innovation Exchange on May 14 2007 - as you can see here. You can download a public version of the bid below. It is complete apart from the figures, which we can't publish because of tender procedures.

There are earlier drafts here, and more about the development process.

We are keeping the site open because we welcome any further ideas around our proposals, and ways in which open collaboration can assist innovation. You can see how to use the site, a site map, and who is here.

If you have ideas on how we can continue to use the site, drop a comment below.

Developing the model

version 3.0 of the Innovation Exchange Model

The full image can be viewed here.

We are trying to develop a single diagram that describes the relationships and exchanges that take place in the process of innovation in the delivery of public services.

We'd welcome comments on this.

Here's an explanation of the graphic as it stands:

1 The blue circles may represent:
- the movement of information and/or
- the movement of knowledge, advice, support and/or
- the movement of people (eg a service user may also become an innovator or adviser etc)

2 As these things move around the circles they may cross over into another one of the circles. As the circles get smaller the nature of the relationships get stronger and trust increases and the nature of the interactions is likely be more random, chaotic, unpolished, rich . . . . they will not be polished and honed for outside consumption

3 The things in boxes are functions not people or organisations. So an innovator in one context may be an adviser/mentor in another, an innovator may also fulfill the replication function and so on.

4 This concept is based on the net:gain experience (and others) which delivers capacity building services to the sector. It now needs testing on some real-life public service delivery situations.

Definition of terms

People who come up with new ways of delivering services which have the potential to:
- Improve the effectiveness or efficiency or quality of a service for the end user and/or
- Improve the accessibility of the service and/or
- Improve the ‘joined-up’ nature of the service and/or
- Reduce the cost of delivery

People who are able to make the innovation usable by others eg through social franchising, cascading etc. Innovators may also perform this role.

People who support the Innovators and the Replicators.

These include any ‘body’ who puts money into the system. It would include organisations like NESTA but also a small Borough Council paying for the delivery of a service in an innovative way in their Borough.

Delivery agent
A third sector organisation, or a partnership involving a third sector organisation, that is delivering a public service to service users.

Service users
People who access and use public services

A Powerpoint file containing this information is available on request.


New version of model (v 3.2)

A modified version of the Innovation Exchange model we are using to guide us is attached to this post.

It tries to incorporate the points made by Andy here.


Activity list and call for contributions

The list of workpackages and activities to deliver the 'Open Innovation Exchange' has been further refined and is attached to this posting (Word format). This builds on a previous posting and supercedes it. It is still incomplete and so ideas are still needed.

In the attached document we have provided a lead contact (bid leader) for each workpackage and a list of supporters. You can:

- post your contributions here (use the comments link or blog your own item);

- contact the bid leader directly (the document contains email addresses);

- ask to be added to the list of supporters (please email the bid leader for the workpackage you can contribute to);

"The genius is in the network . . . ."

. . . 12 days to deadline for bid submission.


Proposal - version 4.8

Report page

Here is version 4.8 of the proposal. We are still open for comments but we'd need to get them by midday tomorrow to be able to include them. There is still a lot of work to do but barring accidents I think we will get there.


Final versions of workpackages

Please find attached the final versions of the workpackages with the financial information removed (for tender rules reasons).


Bid Sumitted

Here’s the proof. The bid on its way from bike to bid reception. I bumped into John Craig in reception which was nice. I am sure it was a coincidence or maybe it was because we were causing a bit of concern setting up to film outside! But it felt good anyway.

He was friendly and, reading between the lines, I think he’s been really interested in the approach we’ve taken. They are expecting ‘a number’ of bids and I got the impression that it was number about halfway-ish between 15 and 25. So, as we breath a sigh of relief and can get our lives back, the hard work starts for them.

Our full bid less financials (for tender rule reasons) is attached to this post.

Thanks again everybody. This has been a really enjoyable and thought provoking experience. I, for one, am going to have to completely re-think the way I do most things!

The 'out takes'

We were restricted in the number of pages we could submit by the tender rules and there are things we would have liked to have explained more fully, had we had the time and space.

The OTS did say that they would follow-up if they needed further explanation of things so I hope we have done enough that they feel follow-up is worthwhile.

In the meantime we will be loading the 'out takes' up here.

A diagram that should have gone in (I think)

Engagement spiral

This is something we didn't have time to work up properly, but is actually quite important (!) It answers the question about 'What kind of transactions/relationships' will go on as people engage with the OIE. This isn't all entirely online by any means - as with our other metaphors and illustrations from the virtual world, parallels can be seen with 'real life' - and sometimes you get some useful insights when comparing the two.. this is because one rarely analyses what's going on in 'real life' but looking at virtual world parallels makes it more obvious what's going on.

So, this diagram (a larger version is attached) reflects how people engage (and drift away) with social networking sites (according to interest, affinity, need & commitment) - but also with any network they engage with. (See Wax and Wane - the green line). First of all they come across the network (by whatever means - event, WOM etc). They decide level of commitment. This is easy to see on a social networking site such as this one: people can observe (lurk) without being known. Their access includes reading, searching, browsing, learning, picking up tips and contacts. Most of this may never be known or measured. On this site, people may also comment anonymously (pros and cons here).

Once people see value in being 'known', they register. Many benefits here on all sides; it's people and their ideas that enrich the network. For example, on this site you can start a thread; comment with attribution; people can contact you and know of your work. (eg on Facebook, you have to be registered and accepted as a friend to see someone else's photos. On MySpace you can choose to set your profile to private, so only registered friends can see it). At this point, OIE network members could qualify, say, to ask questions in the Experts Online area - rather than just browsing a sample of entries.

Once people have made themselves known to the OIE (registration via a data capture form), innovators (for example) might agree exchange visits - independently or supported by the progamme according to qualifying criteria. Similarly, they may request and qualify for a mentor visit. Moving from a passive recipient of help to a provider (eg becoming a mentor to others; becoming an Expert Online) will lead to a contract and a paid transaction. This type of trading will also occur beyond the realms of the programme; that is part of its aim. But Open Source exchange of ideas - online and offline - are still free for all.



Exchange visits (fuller description)


After we (ruralnet|uk) setup the WREN Telecottage in
1991, one of the first public access IT centres in England, we were
inundated with people who wanted to visit. We soon realised that we should run regular Open Days, one day per month and charge each person a small fee. This enabled us to put some time into thinking about what we were actually doing and what it meant and preparing a standard visitor pack. This also contributed to our staff time – and had lots of other unforeseen spin-offs, such as visitors
being able to exchange notes with each other. Many of our visitors were from
Local Authorities – while others were private entrepreneurs and developers. Soon
we had regular private group visits too, especially when we got on the 'tourist circuit' for the Japanese Ministry of Telecommunications, who paid for specially-prepared premium visits, in cash against invoice with £50 notes (!). These 'wealthier' visitors helped cross subsidise our activities.

The demand for the 'seeing is believing' type
experience is there for innovatory projects. But the effort of preparation and
time spent need to be funded from somewhere, and small third sector
organisations just can't dedicate staff time. We gathered enough resource to
prepare a valuable experience. Unfortunately we did not have the capacity to
follow-up these visits to see what happened. Were they just interesting jaunts for those involved or did they have an impact?

Hartley and Rashman (2007) have looked exchange visits between beacon Councils and concluded that this was one of the most effective tools for spreading innovation in the public sector. But there needs to be a 'framework of knowledge transfer' underlying these programmes: with effective the source organisations demonstrating both conceptual and practical skills in
understanding and preparing for this transfer, the recipient organisation being learning ready. All this has to properly resourced, with an 'enabling process'
to make it happen – and a proper evaluation.

The Innovation Exchange will need to cover all these stages, and resourcing must recognise that innovative TSOs (whether visiting or being visited) need funds as well as
help to get the most out of the experience.

See: Hartley and Rashman (2007) How is knowledge transferred between organisations involved in change? In Managing Change in the Public Services edited by Wallace, Fertig and Schneller. In particular see Figure 9.1