About us

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Our vision, mission and areas of impact

Our vision and mission

Innovation Unit is a social enterprise with a bold vision: we want a world where more people belong and contribute to thriving societies. 

Our mission is to develop new solutions and create impact at scale. Through the way we work and the kinds of solutions we create, we help people and communities to thrive.

We hold a core belief in the power of innovation and the potential of people to make change happen. For us, innovation is driven by and liberates three things:

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Our areas of impact

We are outcomes and impact focused. We work with our partners and clients to deliver the tangible and measurable changes they, and we, want and need to see in the world.

Our areas of impact represent the issues that we care about and the sectors where we currently do most of our work –

children’s social care, learning & schoolshealthy lives,              early years and mental health.

Children's social care

A caring family & safe community for every child and young person

A caring family & safe community for every child and young person

All children need support and resources to help them thrive, and whilst demand for services is rising, the impact of cuts is deep. We're scaling up proven solutions that deliver better outcomes for children and young people, and better value for money for the system.

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Learning & schools

New models of learning & school

New models of learning
& school

The world has changed, but most schools haven’t. Schools are too often disconnected - to the lives of young people, and the economies and societies they will graduate into. We're exploring and designing new schools and approaches to learning in Australia, the UK and around the world.

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Healthy lives

Better value solutions that enable healthy lives

Better value solutions that enable healthy lives

Our health and care system is facing unprecedented pressure that too often leads to poor experiences and outcomes for those who use it. By focusing on models of care that take a preventative, asset-based and collaborative approach, we help create solutions that deliver better outcomes whilst reducing demand and costs.

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Early Years

Early years support that works with & for families

Early years support that works with & for families

Too often early learning pays insufficient attention to the changing needs of families, and of children themselves. We're putting strong partnerships at the heart of positive change, enabling providers and families to reimagine what’s possible together and build better outcomes for all.

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Mental health

Community based models for good mental health

Community based models for good mental health

Mental health services can't keep up with increasing demand that's driven by wider determinants of health, and social and cultural forces. We're helping develop and scale community-based solutions that can improve outcomes and drive down NHS costs.

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What our partners
say about us

The Health Foundation logo

"Innovation Unit takes a really open and collaborative approach. They have brought new insights and thinking to the table, and led a successful co-design process that brought a range of senior leaders together to build a sense of shared endeavour and commitment to achieving collective impact. We're excited to continue the partnership with them over the coming months."

Cathy Irving, Director of Communications, The Health Foundation
DWP Logo

"Complex problems such as this can only be solved by those at the sharp end co-designing a fresh approach. Innovation Unit have helped to make that process of co-design truly productive."

MATTHEW PIKE, POLICY FELLOW, WORK AND HEALTH UNIT
West London Clinical Commissioning Group logo

“Innovation Unit’s and PPL’s work has helped to energise the entire service. Their team combine creativity and dynamism, with a deep understanding of the context in which we are operating. They have managed to engage practice staff and partners, and keep them engaged, despite a hugely challenging context. We move forward with our work confident in the model, and ready to bring 20 more practices into the fold.”

HENRY LEAK, HUB MANAGER, WEST LONDON CCG

“Working across the education system in British Columbia, the Innovation Unit team has taken our thinking to new places and landed new ideas through a rigorous approach to innovation. They have focused on enabling more productive relationships between schools in bringing innovative practice to life. Their contribution to the development of BC as one of the world’s leading education systems has been significant.”

ROD ALLEN, DISTRICT SUPERINTENDENT AND FORMER ASSISTANT DEPUTY MINISTER IN BRITISH COLUMBIA
LambethCCG_Logo

"Our partnership with Innovation Unit has been about demonstrating the value of design led approaches and growing - not just our practical skills - but our culture to apply a design lens. We believe that to realise the change we want to see in Lambeth, design thinking applied at scale and across all layers of the system is critical."

DENIS O’ROURKE, DIRECTOR OF COMMISSIONING IN MENTAL HEALTH, LAMBETH CCG

“Being clear about the learning outcomes we want for students is challenging, complex and incredibly important foundational work for us. Innovation Unit have been just the right partners. Their expertise, commitment and the intellectual rigour they apply is delivering us a charter that we believe will truly deepen and enrich the education we offer.”

MARGERY EVANS, AGA KHAN EDUCATION SERVICES ACADEMIC DIRECTOR

“ELEVATE is a bold forward thinking initiative of AISNSW. To realise our ambition we specifically sought out Innovation Unit as a strategic partner to work with us because of their global perspective and proven impact. We wanted to offer schools the opportunity to engage in a robust innovation process to redesign practice and to equip them with methods that will serve them well into the future.”

SHARON CHEERS, DIVISION HEAD, SCHOOL INNOVATION, ASSOCIATION OF INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS OF NEW SOUTH WALES (AISNSW)

“The team at the Innovation Unit are brilliant at bringing structure and clarity to thorny problems. Facilitating a room of opinionated innovators is no easy feat, and yet they always manage to bring some new insight. That has helped bring new perspective to the scaling challenges we faced, and renewed vigour to our approach!”

TOM WHICHER, NHS INNOVATION ACCELERATOR FELLOW

“Through our work with the Innovation Unit, we have learned how to develop practices that are replicable, scalable and sustainable. Innovation Unit brings an incredible breadth and depth of expertise - in education, leadership, innovation, service design, evaluation - that is utterly transformative; we will never go back to the ways we did things before working with them!”

STACEY QUINCE, PRINCIPAL CAMPBELLTOWN PERFORMING ARTS HIGH SCHOOL, NEW SOUTH WALES, AUSTRALIA