What does it take to transform a place?

…they live, too. Place-based transformation programmes have abounded for 50 years: major fiscal transfers to places facing industrial decline, city-based regeneration, neighbourhood-led regeneration and Total Place to name but a…

How to understand people and places

Different communities and generations often relate to places differently. Everyone will have their own story to tell, their own sense of the place in which they live. By tapping into…

Christine Owen

…local communities, Christine is a place based innovation expert and designs and leads large scale place based innovation programmes across Scotland. These programmes are delivered with a range of local…

Cultural competency in the workplace

…sitting in a place of shame . I was embarrassed that I didn’t know much about our past as a country, about what it meant to work with Māori (let…

PLACE: A case study

PLACE: Building a learning community without going to school is a case study part of a set of free, open-source publications, including a guide to project-based learning (written in partnership…

Rose Minshall

Rose is a Senior Innovation Consultant who is passionate about co-design, storytelling and supporting people to collaborate with purpose. Her work takes a place-based approach – which is about understanding…

People power: working together to make a difference

…elected them in the first place. Accountability often becomes diluted: politicians get away with poor decision-making and vested interests, which in turn leads to an increasing dissatisfaction from the general…

From programmes to people

…people-driven emergency response that was iterative, generative and responsive to local wisdom. The retreat of formal systems and bureaucracy enabled risk-confident and distributed leadership to take place on the frontline….

Ending and Beginning Well

…a nutshell, the PPR team worked to pioneer new place based approaches to driving change on complex, systemic challenges. Through these place based transformation programmes we are starting to learn…

Reflecting on a challenging year

…the eye of the storm. Like many others, we produced learning on the power of crisis-led innovation to create laser-like shared purpose in a place, to take down the existing…

The opportunity of a generation

…or cancel virtual appointments. The NHS Framework – right time, right place Some commentators, including campaigning mental health charities, may resist some of these changes, including the closure of hospital…

Cath Dillon

Cath leads a portfolio of large scale innovation projects across Innovation Unit’s children’s social care and health and social care consultancy work in a Place based context. Cath also leads…

Talking to young people in Lambeth

…young people living in Lambeth, aged between 16 and 21, to understand how this period has affected their wellbeing and consider what might be put in place to support them….

Tom Beresford

Tom Beresford is a public sector innovation and change specialist working with partners passionate about the renewal of places and communities. He has 10 years’ experience of research, systems innovation…

Mike Rees

…joining the Innovation Unit Mike’s work has mainly focused on the development of the Innovation Unit’s policy on ‘place’ and the implementation of that policy work. He has also continued…

Christina Cornwell

…and policy in central government and regulation. Most recently, Christina was the Executive Director with responsibility for Nesta’s portfolio of social, digital and place-based innovation programmes in health. Christina is…

Lizzie Cain

…and sharing learning across sectors, settings and place. She is passionate about challenging traditional hierarchies of evidence and exploring issues from multiple perspectives in order to create change that really…

Steph Gamauf

…Steph is passionate about improving the lives of young people through place-based collaboration and partnership working. She led on the development of the youth consortium Building Young Brixton, exploring borough-wide…

Aimee Hadrup

…of our work in New Zealand. Recently, Aimee has led capability building work with Healthy Families NZ, a large scale place-based initiative that brings together community leadership to tackle rising…

3 Ideas for Fostering

…UK. In a time of increased pressure to recruit and retain within the sector, support and supervision needs to place an active focus on the wellbeing of the foster carer,…

What Does it Mean to Thrive?

…from a rich variety of perspectives. Our panel included experts on politics, economics, learning, poverty and place, and we were joined by innovators from across the UK who are growing…

What the Voice teaches us about co-design

…and local language interpreting services). Up to 100 delegates were invited to each First Nations Regional dialogue, selected according to the following split: 60% of places for First Nations/traditional owner…

A vision for change

inequalities between places has never been clearer. Yet we are only just starting to understand what it will really take to have a transformative effect on people and places, and…

Learning to Thrive:- Special Event

…and place. We will hear from: Valerie Hannon, Co-founder, Innovation Unit Valerie is co-founder of Innovation Unit and a thought leader in education innovation. Valerie will discuss the changing purpose…

The Berkana Institute’s ‘Two Loops’

…of a paradigm and the rise of a new one in its place. The Berkana Institute’s ‘Two Loops’ model tries to capture how systems change or paradigms shifts can happen…

The Power Shift Framework

…building take place. How is it being used? There are some great examples of working across levels in the Systems Sanctuary report, but I want to share a few from…

A vision for change publication

At Innovation Unit, our vision is for a world in which all people belong and contribute to thriving societies. We have worked on place-based transformation of public services for 20…

Rochdale Borough Council: A trauma-informed system

…we have applied our expertise in place-based systems transformation to support Rochdale’s Children and Young People’s Partnership in embedding trauma-informed practice across children’s and families’ services with a view to…

Dear mental health system: can we help?

…you straightaway and booked a place. And I would have felt grateful. Believe me, I’m not annoyed with the people who wrote the letter, far from it. I’m angry with…

Healthy High Streets Challenge

…challenge is taking place on the high streets of each locality: West Green and High Road in Haringey, Walworth Road and East Street in Southwark, and Clapham Road and around…

Radical evolution in UK education

…goals’ for society (minimum ingredient 1). Get rid of the single word approach. Replace it with a summary of the strengths and weaknesses of the school. This would enable parents…

Takiwā Waihangā – Our Māori identity

…our place in Aotearoa, it acknowledges our commitment to work in partnership with Māori, and the work we do to enable the people of Aotearoa to thrive and participate fully…

Driven by Data

place-based institutions can use measurement at different times and in different ways to achieve the greatest social and economic impact for residents. The tool includes case studies, further resources and…

Aboriginal Wisdom

…sustainably in relationship with place. Here in Australia, where Aboriginal peoples lived sustainably for over 60,000 years before colonisation, there is so much to learn from Indigenous wisdom about how…

The Development Curve

…‘Degrowth’ movement, which hopes to displace the goal of endless economic growth and focus on the radical changes we need to make to bring our economies in line with the…

Meadows’ Leverage Points

…better. In 1997, Donella Meadows, a leading figure in (modern, Western) systems thinking, published a paper called ‘Places to intervene in a system (in increasing order of effectiveness)’. The paper…

Collective Changemaker Kōrero

…for everyone to hear from each other, notice what is taking place, why and how. The group didn’t claim to be representative of the full diversity of actors but it…

George Aye: Doing Design Differently

Taking place across Australia and Aotearoa in August and September 2023, the Doing Design Differently tour invites design practitioners, leaders, academics, and students to engage critically and constructively with questions…

Turning the tide on tragedy

…a feature. I argue that we are mistaken when we falsely oppose the world of communities (commonly characterized as places where relationships happen), and the world of services (which we…

Commissioning Innovation

…about what their funds will support. Overly directive commissioning stifles innovation by limiting experimentation with new practices or adaptation of an approach to the needs of a specific place or…

How edtech can transform learning for the better

…all–a place intentionally designed to serve and embrace every individual child in a richly diverse community. “Summit Learning” is a personalised, project-based learning (PBL) curriculum that puts Summit students “in…

How Social Innovation is Deeply Māori

…and with Māori, and the work that takes place to build our capability around bi-cultural practice. I believe social innovation embodies my first whakatauki: “E hara taku toa i te…

Three new board members join Innovation Unit

…to the team driving their mission. I’m particularly looking forward to helping place innovation at the heart of improvement in public service and showing how proven innovations that deliver better…

The Power of Story

…to leadership in the first place. This is why it is so important to gather as many stories as one can. For example, the lived experience of ‘providers’, often neglected…

Fund local innovation to tackle local inequality

…to be successful requires new and innovative thinking. “The history of place-based transformation is littered with examples of infrastructure investment in places that do not deliver great outcomes for its…

Imagining a future system for mental health

…community and place. Through today’s workshop, we set out to test and develop our understanding of the current system; learn about some of the most exciting innovations of the past…

Disruptive learning in and from a crisis

…for rapid and potentially seminal innovation: A mission-driven unity of purpose. A humanitarian focus on places and people and their needs. A permissive and risk confident culture. The liberation and…

Engaging in work that matters

…quarter of socio-economic disadvantage and only 5% are in the top quarter. It is a dynamic, diverse and incredibly rewarding place to work. The case for radical change in education…

Context is King

…skills and dispositions best prepare young people for a future that is uncertain. Putting EdTech in its place – rethinking outcomes and learning for the future If we’re serious about…

To Intervene or Not to Intervene?

…professionals can deal with some of the underlying factors that increase parental conflict — like not having a suitable place to live, or significant financial worries. Successfully developing the workforce…

Reform of NHS England: Innovation Unit’s view

…services and residential or foster placements. It’s not uncommon, for example, for young people to be sent to ‘out of area’ placements far from their friends and family. This can…

The Case for Change: No Wrong Door shows the way

…edge of care on its head. Rather than wait months for appointments in unfamiliar places with unfamiliar specialists, young people are offered short, medium or respite stays in No Wrong…

What Next?

Across multiple disciplines and fields, as organisations and as individuals, we seem to be asking ourselves the same simple question — what next? From politics to place-making, economics to education,…

Thriving families need thriving communities

…points to the need for and potential impact of place-based and whole-systems approaches, which would replace the Troubled Families programme with a strategy to create thriving families and thriving communities….

Remind me — what is it that you do?

…in the place and with the people of their choosing Community-based models for good mental health that keep people with mental health conditions well Networks of support for people with…

Learning from a crisis: webinar

…the debate. Contributions from the panel Sarah describes Innovation Unit’s recent work around place-based transformation. Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham and CEO of the London Borough of Barking &…

Thriving Communities

When people are given the power to shape a vision for their community, and the resources to make it happen, they grasp it. But when we talk about public services, this kind of agency is rarely part of the equation.

Health Anchors Learning Network

The Health Anchors Learning Network (HALN) is a UK-wide network for people responsible for, or interested in, anchor approaches in health to share and learn from each other.