Unlocking Innovation
From climate change to social care, innovation will be critical to meeting the public service challenges of the future. But traditional approaches to generating new ideas will not be enough. Rather than focusing on processes and pipelines, policymakers and service deliverers needs to harness the potential of citizens to be innovators in their own right.

Unlocking Innovation: Why citizens hold the key to public service reform is a publication by the UK think tank Demos that collects essays and analysis from a wide range of public sector experts and practitioners. The pamphlet’s chapters offer lessons on how public services can better engage their users based on examples of best practice in the public and private sectors.

It argues that the public sector must embrace new forms of ‘user-driven innovation’ that use the needs and potential of service users as the spur to radical service redesign.

The publication also presents a series of case studies that showcase citizen-focused innovation in action, including:

  • ‘In Control’, a social enterprise that provides social care users with easy and flexible access to individual budgets, making it simple for them to choose their own package of services.
  • Hammersmith and Fulham council using detailed survey data to redesign their customer contact centre to better serve local people.
  • Public private partnerships for tenant management organisations using deep dialogue with local residents to improve levels of service in social housing.
  • ‘Innovative ecosystems’ that have allowed educationalists, academics and artists to come together to build ‘mediascapes’ that allow pupils to enter a virtual world of sights and sounds in order to learn in an interactive and cooperative way.

- Read press release
Download report (pdf, 525 kb, 186 pages)