David Wilcox's blog

Developing open collaborative innovation

We used this site to develop an "open source bid" to the UK Cabinet Office for a £1.2 million innovation exchange - available here. We didn't win - but see it as our most successful failure of 2007. Here's the case study.

John Craig is new head of Third Sector Innovation Exchange

John Craig, formerly head of innovation at the Cabinet Office, starts work as director of the "official" Innovation Exchange on January 1 2008. John handled the tendering process under which we at the Open Innovation Exchange bid for the contract, and as I've written here, was very helpful and sympathetic to our approach - while sticking to all the challenging procedures. John has seen the innovation exchange idea through from the start, and this - together with experience outside the Civil Service - should give him a great start.

Open Innovation: public sector forums picks up the story

First published at Designing for Civil Society

As I wrote recently, those of us involved in the Open Innovation Exchange bid were naturally disappointed not to win, but then even more saddened to see that the Cabinet Office has chose a group close to Government to carry the initiative forward.

Public Sector Forum has now picked up the story, but unless you work in the sector you can't get full privileges on the site to read the feature (you can, however,  sign up here for Public Sector Forum newsletter).

I'm grateful  to have permission from editor Ian Cuddy for permission to reproduce it here in full.  read more »

Developing the New Media Open Innovation Exchange

Who is interested in an innovation exchange where we can both talk about using new media for social benefit, and also collaborate to develop some applications and services?

My previous item about an open innovation exchange for new media sparked some conversations online and off ... particularly with Simon Berry, who so ably project managed the development of our original proposal. I find it fairly easy to come up with ideas (well, remix other people's mostly) but making them happen takes a different sort of capability. Simon is a great reality tester. Do we have the time and resources? Will anyone else be interested? Can we deliver some useful products, services or other real outcomes? Will it be sustainable through earnings or other energy?

Anyway, to do some wider testing I drafted a set of questions and answers, talked them through with Simon who made some changes, and you can see them here and below.

This is by way of a very soft launch of the New Media Open Innovation Exchange. Or the Open New Media Innovation Exchange. Or Open Innovation Exchange for New Media. Or something better, please.


These are some first thoughts developed by David Wilcox and Simon Berry,
following discussions with some others involved in the Innovation
Exchange. Please add comments below, and help develop the idea further.
If you register on this site, you'll get your own blog to contribute more fully. Earlier item here.  read more »

New media innovation exchange, anyone?

I've been looking through the nominations for the New Statesman New Media Awards**, and I'm blown away by the range of interesting online initiatives there, ranging from the governmental to the small group and individual.

The Open Innovation Exchange has been nominated, and of course we are all hopeful that we'll get recognition for the open process we used to bid for the Cabinet Office contract, even though we failed. (No official news of the winner, though I did hear unconfirmed rumblings that the lead within the third sector may be ACEVO rather than NCVO).

The aim of the awards is to "celebrate UK new media projects that benefit society, government or democracy," and this year the categories are Contribution to civic society; Modernising government; Elected representative; Education Information and openness; Advocacy; Young Innovator. You can see last year's winners here.

I know some of those nominated - but not about many others, even though I try and scan the field and write about it here. It strikes me that awards are great for flushing out interesting initiatives, and rewarding them after they have achieved something. However, awards aren't generally designed to encourage start-ups, or help them learn from more experienced initiatives. To do that we would need .... ummm ... an innovation exchange!  read more »

Open collaborative innovation boosted by NESTA

First posted at Designing for Civil Society

UserinnovationNESTA provided a strong boost last week to the idea that innovation comes from open, collaborative approaches - rather than just research departments and manufacturers working behind closed doors protecting their secrets with the aid of intellectual property lawyers.

To underpin this, at the launch of their Connect programme last Thursday, the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts invited along Professor Eric Von Hippel, from the MIT Sloan School of Management.

In a short presentation, videocast here, he confirmed for me - and I should think everyone else there - that celebrating and encouraging bottom-up ways to improve products is one of the best hopes we have for the future. I found it enormously encouraging as we wait for tomorrow's decision on our proposals for an Open Innovation Exchange.  read more »

How our technology will be different

In the team interview after our session at the Cabinet Office, Ben Whitnall and the work of our technology partners Delib didn't get much of a mention.  Ben's not one of complain, but I do think their approach deserves celebrating. I suspect that our competitors are pitching in with plans for new systems that have every conceivable facility for getting and sharing information, communicating and collaborating.

In our proposal, Delib make clear that they can build content management systems with the best, and if needed we could have ....

  • Blogging, news
  • Calendaring and events
  • Expert answers
  • Contacts, friends, groups, networks
  • Pledges and critiques
  • Surveys, polls
  • Forums, bulletin boards

However, in our discussions it's been clear that Ben sees the wider Internet as the real platform. To tease this out, we exchanged a few emails.

My first question was, if others are probably proposing bit new systems, how is the Delib approach different? Ben replied:  read more »

After the interview was over

Click To Play

Formats available: Quicktime (.mov)

As Simon wrote earlier, Jane Berry, Ben Whitnall and I did our best at Cabinet Office yesterday in an interview for the Open Innovation Exchange proposal.

We came out feeling pretty buzzy, and since we were in Westminster, and my son Dan had his best video kit on hand, we thought we should do justice to the occasion with a proper interview. We took ourselves off to College Green, opposite the Houses of Parliament. It is more often used by national TV for interviews with Ministers, but hey, we are about leveling things out a bit.

As you'll see, we felt that we gave of our best, and on reflection wouldn't do anything differently in the bid or the interview.
My main feeling - and I think it was the same for others - was that this was a life-changing experience. Well, tender-writing, job-doing-change-experience anyway. Once you have the excitement of opening up, and getting ideas and commitment from others in return, the old ways don't seem too appealing.  read more »

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