Challenging questions

In her post earlier in the week Kerry posed some questions. The answers to these questions would be very useful in informing our bid. I have had a go at answering some of them but need the thoughts of others.

What evidence already exists on similar approaches and how they have worked in practice?

I am not aware that an approach of this type has been tried before. When I met with John Craig I asked him what the inspiration for the IE. Often a minister visits another coutry, or a project, or something and this sparks an initiative like this. However, there does not seem to be a precedent. John referred to Ed Miliband's speech on 22/6/06 as the source. (PDF, 31KB).

HOWEVER, I believe that all the elements of what we will be proposing for the Innovation Exchange have been in use successfully for some time. For example:

- the open space events run by Policy Unplugged - AndyDearden has made the point that "It's encounters between people . . . that generate real innovation"

- the simulations developed and Drew Mackie and David Wilcox have been successful in sparking ideas and generating innovation

- Delib's online tools support e-Consultation, Networking, Collaboration, Engagement and Learning

- the online services (eg Experts Online and Active Brokerage) which put people in contact with others that we run support project champions as they develop their ideas.

What is the Innovation Exchange for?

- I should really check back with the ITT before I answer this but off the top of my head, but from the way it feels at the moment, the Innovation Exchange should connect those involved in innovation with the people and services that can help them overcome the barriers they will face bringing their innovation 'to the market'. Some of this support will come from the network itself (and will need to be resourced by the project) and some will come from services that are delivered to the network.

- the Innovation Exchange should promote an 'open source' approach to innovation, it should be a leaning network where people build on the knowledge and experience of others rather than have to re-invent the wheel all the time. 

- the Innovation Exchange should also help initiate innovation in the delivery of public services.

What are the motivations for contributing?

- money! We know that the knowledge is out there. We know that the 3rd sector and the public sector has people who can support others in the process of innovation. However, we need to find them and bring them together but self-help peer-to-peer support will not provide the whole answer. We will need to pay for the majority of the time network members spend supporting their peers.

- access to people and services that can really help initiate innovation and support its development. The Innovation Exchange will NOT be another 'information portal'. It will be a place you can come to access the people who can help you. This will happen online and offline.

How can outcomes be measured?

I am going to pass on this one - there are others who will have expertise and ideas on this.

How can the value of these outcomes be quantified?




Questions for bid team

Who is going to be there ? Will it be Simon and the future project manager ( if one is identified ? ?


This bid appears to be rural-centric. How will it reach communities in cities and engage with the hard-to-reach sections of our society ?

How does this bid, and the way it will interact with citizens deliver more effective public policy outcomes for the third sector ?

What system of governance and accountability do you envisage for ensuring that the programme of work deliver the outcomes you seek ?



How can outcomes be measured?

How can outcomes be measured?  - It depends what the outcomes are, obviously, but there's not usually any difficulty finding ways of measuring things that have happened, if you get in early enough to have a baseline against which to do the measuring. Two more important questions in my view are: how do you get baseline data for unpredicted outcomes? (with difficulty but it can be done, eg with retrospective qualitative interviews); and who does the measuring (meaning, to what extent can users/ participants/ beneficiaries/ local people be involved in the evaluation)?


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