This post comes from FutureGov, one of our awesome sponsors (without whom there would be no scotgovcamp!)
Councils in the UK have started to turn to open innovation processes – such as crowdsourcing, collaboration, sharing and transparency – to bring new ideas to bear on tricky problems.
Events like ScotGovCamp play a central part in bringing open innovation to life. They attract a range of people submitting ideas, from council workers and makers through to local residents and social innovators interested in solving some of society’s key problems.
From running past events like Councillor Camp, CityCamp London and the Camden Challenge, we’ve picked up some knowledge about how the open innovation process can work. We thought we’d share a few examples of our own to show what impact open innovation can make in changing local government for the better and addressing real social problems.
The inspiration for Patchwork came out of the Baby P tragedy. In 2009, FutureGov’s founder Dominic Campbell had been watching a documentary about the death two years earlier of Peter Connelly, a toddler who had been on the child protection register in Haringey, north London. Angry and frustrated at how the clumsy, bureaucratic safeguarding systems appeared to have failed Peter, we posted an article on the FutureGov blog asking how child protection might be reimagined in the age of the internet and calling a meeting to thrash out ideas. Twenty five people turned up and the project was built from there. This wasn’t the end of the open innovation process and Patchwork is now a fully fledged app working in the UK and Australia.
Casserole Club began as a serendipitous convergence of ideas between our project lead Murtz and FutureGov. Murtz had been working on his MSc, developing an idea for community led social care, while FutureGov had been pondering concepts for a new type of Meals on Wheels. From that point forward, we have spent our time researching, piloting, building local networks, and developing Casserole into what it is today.
Here at FutureGov, we’ve even created a bespoke platform to drive open innovation for companies interested in developing their own products and services in this way.
Simpl Challenges is a platform designed to improve public services by connecting social innovators to local government and organisations through focused, event-based challenges.
Simpl opens up the policy process for local councils in the UK by seeking ideas from inside and outside the organisations. The platform enables an accountability mechanism through holding idea owners and councils crowdsourcing ideas to account. This openness and transparency means councils have a stronger desire to deliver on ideas generated through Simpl as the ideas submitted to the platform are public, visible and co-owned by the people behind the ideas.
We used Simpl Challenges in our recent FutureGov hack week: three days of hard-core hacking on a range of ideas. Fuelled by mountains of yummy food and pots of the finest freshly-brewed coffee, 24 FutureGovers split up into teams to build the hacks and change the world. You can see the results of the three projects over on the FutureGov blog.
There are just a few examples, but you can see that an approach to Open Innovation at events like ScotGovCamp brings lots of opportunity to bring tangible examples of social change to life. We can’t wait to see the results!
Contact Dominic Campbell (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you’d like to hear more about FutureGov.
And check out our Ideascale site to get an idea of the sort of things we’ll be talking about at scotgovcamp 2013.