13 March 2007

NESTA launches £20m initiative to stimulate social innovation

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putting people first
by experientia

NESTA for social innovation
The UK’s National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) is more and more taking on the dynamic innovation role that the Design Council had until rather recently, again exemplified by this announcement:

NESTA just launched a new £20 million initiative designed to encourage innovative solutions to some of the UK’s most pressing social issues including chronic disease, mental health and climate change.

NESTA’s ‘Innovation Challenges‘ will focus on several key themes, starting with Health Innovation and followed by the Environment. Each theme will last for three years during which NESTA will conduct a series of high-impact projects with key partners, designed both to unearth existing ideas, and stimulate new approaches in response to recognised problems.

Focusing on health, the first Challenge aims to identify and develop solutions to issues around chronic disease management, mental health, and ageing. The Challenge programme’s initial partnership projects will see NESTA calling for both social entrepreneurs and front-line workers to come forward with ideas.

NESTA Chief Executive Jonathan Kestenbaum explains:

“The UK faces significant social challenges that are resistant to conventional solutions. Mostly the impetus for addressing these issues is placed on the shoulders of government alone but this isn’t enough – there’s an increasing gap between the scale of the problems and the solutions available. It’s time we empowered people at the grass roots to develop ideas which, with the right support, could have a lasting impact on key social issues“.

Read press release

The Design Council meanwhile is silent. The latest publication is from September last year. The latest press release (about a speech by a Government Minister) is from the beginning of December. And the dynamic RED unit is no longer.

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