Illustration containing title of the page: Connect

Exploring our formula for
innovation and impact

No Innovation Unit project looks the same and we flex our approach to the specific needs of our clients, but our formula for innovation and impact informs most of what we do. Some of our most ambitious projects take in activities across all six elements of the formula, others focus in on one or more.

See below for more information on each element of the formula, and to view some of the outputs of our work.

Generate Icon


We surface deep, challenging insights and build a compelling case for change

We can help you to:

  • Shed new light on hard problems by researching and understanding the reality of people’s lives
  • Assess the costs, value for money and outcomes of existing provision
  • Review relevant research and evidence-based solutions
  • Scan for inspiring new solutions from different places, sectors and systems
  • Map relevant assets and resources in organisations, places and systems

This might include:

  • Ethnographic research
  • Customer journey mapping
  • Qualitative research and insight gathering
  • Research synthesis
  • Horizon scanning
  • Asset and resource mapping
  • Cost-benefit analysis
Horizon Scan
Ethnographic Report
Insights Report
Mobilise Icon


We engage people in a powerful shared vision, and create the energy for collective action

We can help you to:

  • Communicate a compelling case for change that inspires people to act
  • Facilitate events and workshops that create high levels of buy-in, collaboration and collective action
  • Develop an outcomes framework that is owned by all the stakeholders in the system
  • Identify the new metrics and measures of success that will drive change
  • Develop a powerful vision and bring it to life through exciting products and meaningful engagement

This might include:

  • Design and delivery of events and workshops
  • Creating a theory of change
  • Outcomes frameworks
  • Engagement strategies
  • Storytelling and narrative creation
  • Communications, branding and collateral development
  • Campaigning
  • Visualising data and ideas
Design Icon


We co-design new, practical solutions with high potential for impact and cost-savings

We can help you to:

  • Generate a wide range of ideas for new solutions, and select those with the greatest potential
  • Co-design promising new solutions and then prototype and test them with staff and the public
  • Create a detailed blueprint for the new solution, specifying an implementation plan, costs and potential savings
  • Identify and mobilise the assets and resources needed for successful implementation
  • Co-develop an implementation plan and evaluation design

This might include:

  • Calls for ideas
  • Challenge prizes
  • Assessment and selection processes
  • Codesign workshops
  • Prototyping and testing ideas in practice
  • Developing service blueprints and user journeys
  • Implementation planning
  • Evaluation design
Build Icon


We work with leaders and teams to grow their roles, skills and capabilities

We can help you to:

  • Identify and develop the roles, relationships, resources, skills and behaviour change required
  • Coach leaders to ensure they have the necessary tools and strategies to lead innovation
  • Design and deliver workforce learning that supports staff to develop and sustain new practices
  • Provide evidence based tools and frameworks to help leaders monitor and evaluate progress
  • Partner with experts to provide specialist technical support, including digital, media, finance, HR

This might include:

  • Innovation and leadership coaching
  • Leadership development
  • Skills audits
  • Alearning strategy
  • Workforce development
  • Codifying practice and new ways of working
  • Business cases and resource modelling
  • Engaging a technology partner
Lead Icon


We work with leaders to change their systems, sectors and settings, so new solutions can flourish

We can help you to:

  • Engage senior stakeholders across the system and secure their active sponsorship and support
  • Develop new governance arrangements, and maximise the value of existing networks and partnerships
  • Develop meaningful accountabilities and performance measures
  • Create the right approaches to ongoing learning and evaluation to drive continuous improvement
  • Design new incentives, including financial, to change behaviours

This might include:

  • System and stakeholder mapping
  • Understanding and influencing system conditions relating to the new solution
  • Engagement strategies
  • New models of governance
  • Partnership development
  • Learning and evaluation designs
  • Changing financial incentives
  • Using evidence and insight in policy and decision making
  • Introducing new performance measures
Scale Icon


We work with system leaders to adopt and adapt solutions from elsewhere or scale their own new solutions

We can help you to:

  • Evidence the impact of a new solution on outcomes and costs
  • Maintain fidelity to the evidence based core of a new solution while adapting flexible features to local contexts
  • Grow communities of practice, engagement and interest and facilitate learning events
  • Build a movement for change around a new solution through powerful communications and engagement
  • Establish new ventures and develop sustainable business models

This might include:

  • Business planning
  • Organisational scaling strategies
  • Cost-benefit analysis
  • Business development
  • Communications and engagement approaches
  • Communities of practice
  • Learning events
  • Identifying potential adopters