Ideas for today, tools for tomorrow


The Inclusive Economy Partnership (IEP) team attended Nesta’s fantastic Government Innovation Summit on Thursday 19th September. It was a unique opportunity to gather with public servants from across the globe and social innovators cultivating big ideas. The focus of the day – “Ideas for today, tools for tomorrow” – was underpinned by Nesta’s 20 tools of Innovating in Government designed to guide us to identify new opportunities, test ideas and change systems.

Inspiring thought leaders took to the stage to tease out practicalities behind radical visions of our future government, and guide us to think innovatively about how we can drive change in our teams and departments.

“Collaboration not competition”

Sacha Romanovich, Co-chair of the IEP; Shevaun Haviland, Deputy Director of the Business Partnerships Team at the Cabinet Office; Will Akerman, Founder and MD of MyKindafuture, and Phil Gosset, Senior Innovation Manager at Nationwide, spoke on a lively panel about how we can drive inclusive growth through cross-sector partnerships.

Having played pivotal roles in the success of the Inclusive Economy Partnership, each panelist brought an honest, personal perspective and shared what they believe is fundamental to a high impact partnership:

  • Convening individuals who truly cared about making a difference.
  • Prioritising tangible action and sharing of resources.
  • Digging deep into challenge areas that business leaders feel are important to them, their employees and their customer base.

“Ground all activity in real life problems”

The example of the Open Banking For Good Challenge, born out of the IEP and funded by Nationwide, brought to life an example of taking real problems that real people face and working in a collaborative, agile way to innovate in that space. The audience also put some interesting questions to the panel about how to convene the right voices around the table and how to measure the impact of activity. The following discussion didn’t shy away from the raw truth that launching a partnership like the IEP takes a leap of faith and entrepreneurial grit – but when it works, the results are incomparable to working in silos.

“Go into rooms with questions not answers”

Throughout the day, it was clear that ambiguity cannot be avoided when considering how to tackle deep-rooted social issues, or how our government could be reimagined in the decades that lie ahead – but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be asking big questions.

The summit was a great reminder that challenging processes and consistently innovating, even if we don’t have all the answers at present, is key to realising a more innovative government for a fairer society.