Link roundup

I find this stuff so you don’t have to:

What I’ve been reading

I find this stuff so that you don’t have to.

You can find all my bookmarks on Pinboard.

Innovation in Public Services: Small is Beautiful

An interesting item on NESTA’s website, with some accompanying useful resources, summarising the recent launch of the ‘Small is Beautiful’ paper on innovation in local government.

NESTA supported the Local Government Information Unit to analyse the entries to its ‘Small is Beautiful’ competition, which asked local authorities to submit examples of innovation they had implemented in non-statutory services.

Glyn Gaskarth from the LGIU described the entries received and what they suggest about the state of innovation in local government. Glyn noted the number and diversity of the entries received, but also that the key to their success was that they were often led by small teams with small budgets. While some of the examples might seem quite marginal from a national perspective, they have made a decisive difference to their local area (for example, in reducing offending or improving social cohesion), and some of them could be seen as the ‘Big Society’ in action. Glyn outlined the main proposal from the report – that local authorities could establish a new way to encourage and support these types of activities by creating innovation funds drawn from their own discretionary spending.

The Small is Beautiful paper is here (PDF warning).

At the event, Rochford District Council provided a case study of the work they have been doing to support local retailers, called ‘Shop at My Local’. Here’s the slides (again, PDF warning).

In the following discussion several barriers were identified:

  • While there was a shared recognition of the barriers (such as funding, risk-aversion and evaluating the benefits), there was some concern about the risk of painting too negative a picture of the ability of local government to innovate, and so this becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. It was also noted the many large private sector organisations face similar challenges in establishing a pro-innovation culture.
  • Many in the audience pointed out that local government could make more use of the resources and organisations that already exist in order to innovate, from volunteers and the third sector, to funders such as NESTA, in lieu of establishing their own funds.
  • Similarly, there was a lot of discussion about existing mechanisms used by local authorities to support innovation, for example the Innovation Unit described the innovation lab they are helping Knowsley to establish, and another member of the audience highlighted the Local Strategic Partnerships that have innovation boards and funds.
  • There was, however, shared concern that time was against us, and that many of the innovative approaches such as those highlighted in the report, and the mechanisms that can support them (such as local invest-to-save budgets), are now at risk of being cut in the current age of austerity.

There’s more on NESTA’s website – including a whole load of resources for innovation in public services.

Thanks to Dom for highlighting this in his link round up.

Bookmarks for April 5th through April 10th

I find this stuff so that you don’t have to.

  • Social Media Security – "We have found a huge lack of accurate information around security issues and awareness of social media. This website aims to help educate users of social media of the threats, risks and privacy concerns that go with using them."
  • E-government is not a financial cure-all – "Whoever is in charge after 6 May, I expect the drive towards "smarter government" (or whatever catch phrase replaces it) to continue. There are simply no other tools in the box. But whoever is in charge will avidly wish someone had made a bolder start while the going was good."
  • bantApp.com: Bant Diabetes Monitoring App for the iPhone and iPod Touch – Interesting iphone app for diabetes management, via @robertbrook
  • Two models of open innovation – "Based on our recent experience of working on open innovation projects, and also building upon a great paper by Kevin Boudreau and Karim Lakhani, we have concluded that there are two distinct ways of doing open innovation – creating competitive markets or collaborative communities"
  • Let government screw up – "I have the opportunity to speak to groups across government about the benefits, challenges and potential costs of social media. In the face of institutional anxiety, I’ve argued that social media is a positive environment that encourages experimentation. In fact, online users are willing to accept mis-steps and stumbles from government organizati0ns simply because it demonstrates initiative and ambition, if not expertise."
  • Project Spaces: A Format for Surfacing New Projects – home – "The event format I'm calling Project Spaces has emerged from working with various collaborators to facilitate events for communities actively engaged and committed to finding better ways to do things."
  • Can Open Office Escape From Under A Cloud? – "I do see a future for Open Office in the enterprise — one that’s closely tied to integration with collaboration, content management, and business processes and facilitated by the likes of Oracle and IBM."
  • A democratic view of social media behaviours – Interesting action research post from Catherine – plenty to chew on here.
  • Digital exclusion, porn and games – "I wonder if – as with mobile phones – there’s a certain, influential generation that see the technology as being more than just a technology. And instead, a marker for a whole way of life they just haven’t accepted yet."
  • Social media measurement – Great stuff from Stuart Bruce – debunking a few myths and some marketing BS.

You can find all my bookmarks on Delicious. There is also even more stuff on my shared Google Reader page.

You can also see all the videos I think are worth watching at my video scrapbook.

Bookmarks for March 13th through March 15th

I find this stuff so that you don’t have to.

You can find all my bookmarks on Delicious. There is also even more stuff on my shared Google Reader page.

You can also see all the videos I think are worth watching at my video scrapbook.