Back in May last year, we put together the Go London Social Innovation Competition in partnership with NHS London, and this week we were delighted to see the launch of the brand new blog from winning idea Go 10,000!
Since May, we’ve been following how the project has benefited from the winner’s prize package, made up of support from the incredibly supportive people at Deloitte, thinkpublic, M&C Saatchi and Precedent to help prepare Go 10,000 for its pilot stages – from creative problem solving to designing the project logo. We’re now really looking forward to watching things develop beyond the competition and into reality. As Danielle, the brains behind the idea, explains:
“Winning the Go London Social innovation Competition has been a fantastic way to bring Go 10,000 to life. The prizes from so many respected organisations across the fields of innovation, design and strategy was a real incentive and helped me confidentely transform Go 10,000 from an idea to a project . With the launch of the blog I am now looking forward to putting this fantastic opportunity to good use by moving on to the pilot stages of this project. We hope that you follow (and perhaps even get involved!) in our journey!”
With our winning idea moving forward we thought we’d take the opportunity to reflect on our own Go London journey, and the big lessons that we learnt along the way.
The benefits of innovating from the inside
Delivering an innovation competition that depended on Londoners coming forward with original ideas benefited hugely from the wide reach that we were able to achieve from working in partnership with NHS London. We enjoyed a high profile launch, from press releases, appearing in the Metro, having the Chief Executive of NHS London promote the competition, providing an inspirational venue for the finals – as well as the Mayor of London sending out the odd tweet to help raise awareness:
This outreach proved effective, with some of our pages receiving over 10,000 views. We accepted over 100 ideas, from Tai chi in the park to Unicycling. Staff at NHS London seemed delighted, almost surprised, to see so much interest from people and with our Go London workshop we were able to invite staff members and innovators together to get the two groups of people chatting about what a good new idea looks like:
These conversations continued at the Go London finals, where staff within NHS London, designers, local government, service users and developers carried on these conversations around how innovation could be supported by, and even work effectively inside, a large local organisation. This, as well as the main aim of bringing some great new projects to life from the heads of amateur pros, showed the benefits of working with some really creative and risk taking types inside government, exposing the ‘system’ to new ideas, new people and new ways of co-creating and delivering public services through an an open crowd sourced approach.
One measure of success was the level of support the project gained within NHS London itself, indeed many of the ideas submitted were from members of NHS staff. However despite this, the project did essentially run alongside core NHS London business. The competition was very much ‘the innovation project’ with work carrying on as normal elsewhere. In future, we would be keen to intergrate ourselves further, tying the project in with other NHS London initiatives and events at every opportunity.
Competitive – vs – collaborative innovation
Competitive models of innovation are increasingly commonplace in the public and social sectors. Government (in this case) defines its problems, looking to the wisdom of the crowd, incentivising people with ideas to propose solutions to these predefined problems.
And it works. Despite setting the bar relatively high and asking for well defined solutions to the challenge of improving the physical fitness of Londoners, we had close to 100 entries with a wide range of submissions proposing tweaks to public services, new kinds of technology and social innovations.
The prizes also played a crucial role in keeping the energy of the competition up, creating that all important buzz. The in kind nature of the prizes and presence of the organisations on our judging panel at the Finals gave a real sense of involvement and allowed the winners and support organisations to be part of the winner’s journey from the very beginning.
However despite publishing all ideas openly, we felt we could have done more to move past a winner takes all model to one where all ideas were good ideas as long as there was someone who want to help make it happen. Very few of the submissions were out of bounds. Most could have helped make an impact on the fitness of Londoners. Which got us thinking. Why couldn’t we create a marketplace of ideas aimed at transforming public services, one that helped a lot of ideas happen as long as they were well defined and could find the support they needed.
Which is one part of what led to thinking about Simpl, our soon to be released social innovation marketplace.
[vimeo width="400" height="300"]http://vimeo.com/17520451[/vimeo]
With Simpl, all members are encouraged to share their ideas and pitch in their feedback even if they themselves can’t offer the resources to solve the problem. Simpl also provides an ongoing opportunity for engagement. Where challenges have a distinct beginning and an end and are usually looking for some kind of time-limited intervention, with Simpl people have a reason to keep coming back with new ideas and contributions of support.
We see both Simpl and challenges as valuable approaches to improving public services and communities, with plenty of room for both of these approaches for different types of social challenges.
You can read all about Simpl over on it’s blog here.
Getting people involved and keeping them engaged
As well as the successful launch, the momentum of the project was helped by significant on and offline efforts to engage with a diverse audience, tapping into existing projects and social networks. But we also learnt that you can never do enough. Next time we would be keen to look to do more offline in particular, visiting related community groups, finding new ways (and more time) to inspire and engage and pushing the competition element further to those who may not have noticed a largely web based launch.
The Go London Social Innovation Competition benefited hugely from being delivered in partnership with NHS London, and showed how government can play a crucial role in stimulation social innovation to improve public services. The competition engaged, involved and stimulated creative solutions to long-standing social challenges, putting Londoners at the heart of creating new approaches to public services.
And with this week’s launch of the Go 10,000 project, we’re proud to see it has left a lasting legacy too.
Dom and Lauren