Engage with our views and ideas. Discover our latest news. Read our latest research insights and learning reports.
Engage with our views & ideas.
Find out our latest news.
Our latest research insights & learning reports.
Do you share Innovation Unit’s vision of a world in which all people belong and contribute to thriving societies?
Why existing and emerging local leaders need space and confidence to fail, grow and thrive
Part seven of our place-based transformation series looks at grow-your-own local leadership
No wrong door for Alex
A picture paints a thousand words, they say, so what better way to explain a fresh approach to children’s social care to staff, young people and their families than through an animation?
How to get the schools we need? Rethink their purpose
We need an overarching goal for schools that is aligned to the new reality we are in.
Why place-based transformation requires teams to work at all levels of the system
Part six of our series shows how successful, sustainable change requires action from top to bottom and back up again.
We need new solutions for sustainable recovery: Innovation Unit response to 2021 Budget
Plans for sustainable recovery in the budget are welcome but the government still doesn’t seem to understand what it will really take to improve people’s lives.
Lateral leadership and custodianship – a legacy of Covid?
This piece is about leadership and governance, informed by the insights of 100+ front-line workers and leaders across Greater Manchester and their reflection on what they experienced and learned during their Covid response.
Reform of NHS England: Innovation Unit’s view
In response to the news that the government is planning to reverse reforms of the NHS in England, Sarah Gillinson, chief executive of Innovation Unit says more should be done to achieve greater integration and innovation.
How Greater Manchester rapidly adapted systems and processes to meet people’s needs
This blog is about what happens when the state gets firmly behind a clear, shared purpose in local communities and the lessons that emerge when it does.
How to learn your way forward when you don’t know what the next step will bring
The next in our series on place-based transformation focuses on the role of learning as you go when delivering large-scale community change
Working in a crisis: what Greater Manchester learnt about how we work
We are in our third National lockdown, and have been told once again to work from home, where we can. There is so much that we have learnt in this crisis about how we work, communicate and collaborate, and so much that has already been transformed.
From programmes to people
“This is what we have. Who needs it most?” From programmes to people in Greater Manchester’s Covid response.
How ‘getting on with it’ can reap the rewards when it comes to place-based transformation
Part 4 in our series on place-based transformation argues that meticulous planning is unnecessary and that more progress can be made by starting and doing
How to understand people and places
Part 3 in our series finds there can be no vision or meaningful action for place-based transformation without an appreciation of the locality and its residents
Disruptive learning in and from a crisis
Learning from innovation in a crisis: how the disruption of Covid has given Greater Manchester the chance to ‘design forward differently’
Learning from innovation in a crisis
Why a bold, positive vision is essential for any successful transformation of place
Part two of our series on Place-Based Transformation is on the need for inspiration and ambition as the starting point of a strategy for change
What does it take to transform a place?
Part one of our series shows how place-based transformation substantially improves the life chances of local residents – when it’s done well.
What does the Covid-19 pandemic mean for young people’s mental and emotional wellbeing in Lambeth?
The new report, ‘What does the Covid-19 pandemic mean for young people’s mental and emotional wellbeing in Lambeth?’, captures the experiences and emotional lives of a group of young people living in Lambeth during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Talking to young people in Lambeth
As we move towards nationwide vaccination and we look forward to the end of the pandemic, we should take the time to think: what has 2020 meant for the emotional lives of young people? What does it mean for future forms of care and support?
Innovating our way through a pandemic: the Strengthening Families, Protecting Children programme
Learning from scaling innovation in children’s social care.
Human Connection, Socially Distanced
Shining a light on intergenerational connection through the COVID19 pandemic.
A collaborative approach to innovation and living well could transform the way we deliver care
Innovation Unit head of health and social care William Roberts sets out a vision for a stronger, more sustainable model of care that supports older people to live better lives for longer.
Fund local innovation to tackle local inequality
Up to 10% of the government’s new levelling-up fund must be dedicated to innovation if the initiative is to achieve the impact intended.
A Journey to Recovery: shifts in thinking about women’s refuges (part 2)
KEY INSIGHTS FROM CO-DESIGN
A Journey to Recovery: shifts in thinking about women’s refuges (part 1)
GUIDING PRINCIPLES FOR WOMEN’S REFUGES
IU expands its leadership capacity in New Zealand and Australia
PRESS RELEASE: Jade Tang-Taylor to lead Innovation Unit New Zealand
NEW REPORT: Building stronger communities through parent-led support
Bridging the Gaps
NEW REPORT: Bridging the Gaps – new approaches to improving outcomes for care experienced young people given prison sentences.
Redesigning the mental health system around people and communities
From Crisis to Renewal: Redesigning the mental health system around people and communities
The new report, ‘From crisis to renewal: Redesigning the mental health system around people and communities’, captures changes in the mental health system in response to Covid-19 and advocates for a new mental health vision shifting power towards communities.
Tackling youth violence, now young people are online more than ever
How can we use the covid-19 crisis as an opportunity to reduce youth violence?
The Power of Story
Our work as part of the Living Well UK Programme has shown us that stories are vital for producing change and improving people’s lives.
Stories of hope and humanity
The world is in lockdown. It is affecting our mental health, our wellbeing, our lives. Yet there is also much generosity and kindness. We want to be sharing these stories, understanding that some will be harder to tell, and to hear, than others.
The opportunity of a generation
How the NHS Framework for Community Mental Health Services can help us to rebuild in response to the Covid-19 crisis.
Research project into play in Aotearoa, New Zealand begins
Innovation Unit ANZ are delighted to be working with Sport New Zealand | Ihi Aotearoa on a new project to understand experiences and perceptions of play from sector stakeholders, parents, and children, to create more quality play experiences.
An age-friendly Tāmaki Makaurau
A new report from Innovation Unit NZ investigates approaches to making Auckland an age-friendly region.
How to tell people about 100 projects?
Innovation Unit recently undertook a project to share learning from the DfE Innovation in Children’s Social Care Programme across the UK. In this blog Caroline Wierzejska discusses the key features of our approach.
An age-friendly Tāmaki Makaurau
Auckland Council commissioned Innovation Unit ANZ to bring to life key opportunities for system-level collaboration to make Auckland a more age-friendly region, based on feedback from older Aucklanders.
Transforming care experiences for young people in Sheffield
Innovation Unit Senior Associate Siobhan Edwards discusses Sheffield’s journey in adopting the No Wrong Door approach to Children’s Social Care.
‘Be a man’ – toxic masculinity, social media and violence
A report by Innovation Unit into youth violence in Greater Manchester reveals pressures on young males to conform to toxic images of masculinity, and the role of social media in this.
Cultural competency in the workplace
Rachel Knight from Innovation Unit Australia New Zealand discusses how Innovation Unit started her cultural competency journey, and some ways to help people engage with Te Āo Māori in the workplace.
Ka Mua, Ka Muri
How to look back to Te Āo Māori/the Māori world to advance your design research practices.
This is one of two blog posts based on Rachel and Kataraina’s talk at the 2019 UX New Zealand conference, which you can watch here.
Listen to the community to tackle violent crime
PRESS RELEASE: 350 people in Greater Manchester share their experiences and solutions on violence affecting young people in new report out today.
Co-designing whole-school STEM culture in Western Australia
Innovation Unit is delighted to congratulate 2019’s winner of the Governor’s School STEM Awards – Brookman Primary School – and runner-up Pannawonica Primary School, who have been awarded for their approach to bringing a whole-of-school STEM culture to life.
Ngā Kokonga Ngākau Perceptions and Experiences of Māori Heart Health in Te Tai Tokerau
The Heart Foundation of New Zealand commissioned Innovation Unit Australia New Zealand to lead a social innovation process in Te Tai Tokerau to explore how they might enable Māori to be screened for cardiovascular disease at a younger age.
False choices and gaps in the mental health system
Matthew Horne, Deputy Chief Executive at Innovation Unit, explains why we need new systems of support that help people to live well.
Two-year international learning project on urban health begins
Innovation Unit are delighted to be working with Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity on an international learning project to help them build their understanding of how living in urban areas affects people’s health and wellbeing.
Reimagining Education Together
This report from Innovation Unit in partnership with Big Change demonstrates how important it is for parents, teachers and pupils to be brought along, as well as the communities around them.
New research helps reimagine education
PRESS RELEASE: Seven in ten teachers say they wish schools were preparing students for more than just exams. New report on reimagining education launched by charity Big Change and Innovation Unit.
Local Learning Ecosystems: Emerging Models
The report, Local Learning Ecosystems: emerging models is part of the WISE report series, in this case in partnership with Innovation Unit, a leading innovation social enterprise.
Classrooms are not enough – new research report suggests
PRESS RELEASE: A radical new report from World Innovation Summit for Education-Innovation Unit calls for learners to get out of the classroom more and grasp the opportunities of flexible modern ‘learning ecosystems’.
Thoughts on the Long Term Plan
In this blog series we explore three priority areas of the NHS Long Term Plan and provide our view on what we think it will take in practice to achieve the ambition it sets out.
In this first instalment, Sarah Dew discusses the importance of scaling solutions that work for people, not conditions.
Falling through the gaps – new research into care leavers’ experiences
A new research report reveals key insights about the experiences of care leavers leaving prison, and the opportunities and challenges they face following release.
Looking ‘under the bonnet’ of No Wrong Door
We’re helping six Greater Manchester local authorities adapt and adopt No Wrong Door – last week they visited North Yorkshire to experience the model first-hand
Three new board members join Innovation Unit
PRESS RELEASE: Innovation Unit appoints Directors from HMRC, Ufi and Richmond Upon Thames Council to their Board.
We’re one of the UK’s Leading Innovation Consultants!
We are delighted to feature as one of the FT’s Leading Innovation Consultants in the UK for the second year running.
New school models in the US: 10 things we have learned
Innovation Unit has been visiting and working with innovative schools in the United States for the past decade. Here are some important things we have learned.
How Social Innovation is Deeply Māori
In this article, Kataraina Davis, one of our New Zealand based Project Leads, reflects on her journey into social innovation.
Mindsets for Social Innovation
The following mindsets for social innovation were developed by Innovate Change prior to its merge with Innovation Unit.
Congratulations to our first Coach4Care coaches!
Last week ten ex-carers became the first Coach4Care coaches to offer support to carers and those they care for.
New social work model: taking a longer term view
The Named Social Worker programme has a simple goal: to help people with autism, learning disabilities and mental health conditions lead a good life.
The opportunities and challenges of ICT for learning
Innovation Unit in partnership Aga Khan Education Services (AKES) and Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) have been working with UNICEF’s regional offices in sub-saharan Africa to better understand the opportunities and challenges of ICT for learning on outcomes for young people.
Mission accomplished? Not quite.
We’re looking for two new UK Board Directors to help us get there. If you’re an experienced leader with values that align with ours we would love to hear from you. Please register your interest by 23rd November 2018.
Healthy High Streets Final Project Report
Finding ideas from the high street to make healthy eating easier for children and families.
Revealing potential for Healthier High Streets
Over the past year we have been working with a dedicated partnership of funders and London Councils to explore the potential of business and community led ideas that help people make healthier food choices on our high streets.
Tender opportunity: Evaluator for the Living Well UK programme
Want to assess the impact of a new model for community mental health services? We are looking for an evaluation partner for a new ambitious programme supported by the Big Lottery Fund running over three years.
Can an end also be a beginning?
Nick Webb, our lead for mental health, writes an alternative job description for the new Minister for Suicide.
Housing Instability in Tāmaki Makaurau
Auckland Council commissioned Innovation Unit Australia New Zealand to understand peoples’ experiences of housing instability to inform a cross-sectoral homelessness plan for Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland)
Living Well UK programme announced
PRESS RELEASE: New Living Well UK programme will take innovative approach to improving mental health to four new areas thanks to £3.4 million in National Lottery funding.
Single mothers’ journeys reveal a broken housing system
A new report reveals deep gaps between housing support services, and shines a light on opportunities for system-level change.
Improving outcomes for care leavers with prison sentences
Funded by The Oak Foundation, Innovation Unit and partners have begun work to develop a deeper understanding of the issues facing care leavers given prison sentences and their experiences of being in custody and following release.
Upcoming webinar: learning from the Named Social Worker
On Tuesday 31st July Innovation Unit and SCIE will be hosting a free webinar to share and discuss learning from the Named Social Worker Programme.
How edtech can transform learning for the better
In the third contribution to Education Week’s Learning Deeply blog series, Sarah Ward and Tom Beresford share successful examples from Singapore and the United States that show how technology is implemented in schools makes all the difference for student learning.
Healthy High Streets in the news
BBC News coverage of Public Health England’s work on mapping fast food hotspots mentions Tasters Fried Chicken’s new healthier menu for children, which came about as part of our work on Healthy High Streets.
Takiwā Waihangā – Our Māori identity
As New Zealand’s Innovate Change merges with Innovation Unit, we create a new Māori identity that connects us to our place in Aotearoa.
People Powered Health: Health for people, by people and with people
Myths and Mechanisms of Scaling Innovations
Merger with NZ social change agency Innovate Change
On 1 July 2018, Innovate Change will merge with Innovation Unit, a not-for-profit social enterprise that creates new solutions for thriving societies.
10 solutions for 21st century healthcare
A collection of healthcare innovations that are beginning to answer some of the most challenging questions in healthcare.
10 Ideas for 21st Century Healthcare
The ideas in this booklet describe how radically different services might be achieved. They are some of the vital principles that should underpin 21st century healthcare.
New school-design partnership with Unlocking Potential
Innovation Unit are delighted to be working with Unlocking Potential to support them in the design of a unique primary school for children living in the London Borough of Brent.
Helping you adapt and adopt innovation in children’s social care
On Friday 20 April, we brought together social work leaders and managers from across the UK to learn from innovative approaches to working with adolescents with complex needs.
Scaling innovation: a collective endeavour
How can healthcare leaders create cultures in which innovative solutions can scale up? Sarah Dew, Project Lead at Innovation Unit, explores what needs to change.
Decisions that can make or break an integrated care strategy
Jonny Mallinson, Head of Alliances for Change at Innovation Unit, reflects on the rapid progress made by West London CCG as they move towards community-based models of care that are innovative, integrated and sustainable.
Flogging Dead Horses – Making the case for new school designs
In the second contribution to Education Week’s Learning Deeply blog series, David Jackson explains the need to build new schools in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia.
In conversation with… William Roberts
The latest NHS Confederation podcast looks at new care models in the NHS. Innovation Unit’s Health and Social Care Lead, William Roberts, offers his insight and experience of successfully spreading change across networks.
Scaling innovation twitter chat
On Thursday 15 March Q Community hosted a Twitter chat with David Albury and Tim Horton, discussing how innovations are successfully scaled in the NHS.
We welcome William Roberts as Head of Health & Social Care
William joins our expanding team, bringing significant health experience from both the NHS and local government, where he has held a number of key roles over the last twenty years.
Turning the tide on tragedy
How do we create thriving societies for good mental health? We need to stop working person to person and take a more holistic approach, supporting connected groups of individuals, friends, families, neighbourhoods and caregivers.
Healthy High Streets features in healthy eating campaign
Yesterday, Vicki Purewal joined the launch event for a new report on inner-city childhood obesity to talk about Healthy High Streets – the healthy eating project we are delivering with Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity.
New solutions, impact at scale: innovation for the many not the few
Scale is a word on many lips and wish lists. And nowhere is scale a more urgent or important priority than in our public services. So how do you scale an innovation that works? How do you persuade and support people to adopt a new solution to a wicked problem that actually has impact?
Innovation Unit nominated as MCA Awards 2018 Finalist
We are delighted to have been nominated as a finalist in the Change Management in the Public Sector category at this year’s MCA Awards for our health and social care project My Care, My Way in partnership with PPL and West London CCG.
What does it take to deliver truly person-centred care?
As part of the Named Social Worker programme, Innovation Unit, SCIE and the Department of Health & Social Care hosted a webinar to explore what it takes to deliver person-centred care.
Named Social Worker Update
The six pilot sites have been busy implementing their approaches to Named Social Work over the past few months. Here’s some of what has been happening…
Deeper learning demands deeper purposes
In this first contribution to Education Week’s Learning Deeply blog series, Valerie Hannon and Amelia Peterson explain why education systems need to rethink what it means to be educated.
Scaling up innovation requires action at multiple levels
A new research report looks at ways to ensure the successful uptake of innovations in healthcare to relieve the NHS’ financial and operational pressures, say Will Walburton and David Albury.
Against the odds: successfully scaling innovation in the nhs
Innovation Unit and The Health Foundation have joined forces to call on system leaders and policymakers to do more to create the right conditions for innovations to scale in the NHS.
Against the Odds: Successfully scaling innovation in the NHS
New research published today calls for new approaches that ensure more tried and tested healthcare innovations reach those who could benefit.