Blog contributed by Peter Mackenney – Change Consultant, London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham
This summer, H&F held its inaugural ‘Innovation Exchange’ event for staff working in H&F, and within those services shared with the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster City Council.
Bringing together people with a passion for change and improvement, we – members of the Innovation and Change Management division (ICM) – sought to use and showcase design thinking tools, including the Design Council’s double diamond approach.
In the process we discovered and defined what participants at the event wanted from the peer-to-peer network, and developed ideas for how to achieve this. The result was a signed ‘Innovation Declaration’ and a calendar of events designed and delivered by members of our new network. A great afternoon which really showed the value of design thinking!
This event is just the latest of a number of activities designed to support staff to think differently and creatively and – in particular – to use human-centred design tools. Over the last few years H&F’s ICM has developed an extensive array of resources, hosted on our own internal Innovation Site, to support those keen to innovate.
Knowing that innovation doesn’t always mean invention, we extended our own thinking by looking to the work of others – most notably Joan Munro’s Local Councils Innovation Framework and Shift Surrey.
In September 2015, after working with H&F and learning from Shift Surrey, H&F opened its Innovation Space pilot to staff as a symbol and signal of its commitment to help them innovate.
Creating an environment which stimulates creativity is a challenge that many organisations – including Nesta – are considering. With a limited budget, we in H&F have taken the leap and developed our pilot space which includes whiteboard walls, astroturf flooring, Google Chromecast and smart TV to access our innovation tools.
Since opening, it has been used by over 150 staff, as well as partners and residents. The space has allowed us to collaborate more with colleagues – internally through the Innovation Network and externally with Shift Surrey and other councils.
It has also led to viral change with one department developing its own space, which has built on the principals of the Innovation Space pilot and extended the technology on offer.
So far session topics have included brainstorming strategies, customer engagement, programme planning, intranet redesigning, event planning, and supplier consulting. This breadth of session topics is represented in the word cloud below.
In the face of the many challenges facing our sector, we believe that these resources and relationships are increasingly relevant.
We in ICM at H&F are supporting staff and residents to innovate through the use of design-thinking and are keen to share with and learn from you.
If you’d like to be part of our growing and valuable network of public sector bodies interested in innovation and design-thinking, please join this emerging network on Khub.