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Mar 19, 2010

Part of the Iriss Masterclass series, Geoff Mulgan.

Geoff Mulgan is director of the Young Foundation. Between 1997 and 2004 he worked in the UK Prime Minister's office and Cabinet Office and before that was the founding director of the thinktank demos. He is a Visiting Professor at LSE, UCL, Melbourne University and the China Executive Leadership Academy. He also works as a part time adviser to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in Australia. His latest book is The Art of Public Strategy: mobilising power and knowledge for the common good.

Gathering information and data about good and poor services

Geoff Mulgan talks in his lecture about the concept of Failure Demand: demand caused by a failure to do something or do something right for the service user or client and often involves miscommunication or lack of action. This is different to Value Demand - demand responding to what the service exists to provide. Overcoming failure demand is important to the experience of the service and is about improving quality. Where an organisation is failing can be identified in a number of ways - from quantitative data including escalating costs and data collection, to qualitative methods including the number of patients returning to a hospital or investigating services using such methods as ethnography.

Positive deviance is the name for a service or organisation that despite the having the same resources to other comparable operations achieves much better outcomes through a combination attitudes, behaviours and practices. The Positive Deviance Initiative aims to help organisations understand why this is happening and provides a variety of tools and advice.

Both these approaches provide public services with greater understanding of how to improve the experience of services and their success.

Engaging with citizens on what they want from services

Geoff Mulgan recommends the Kafka Brigade, a network of individuals who champion person-centred approach to innovation and use methods similar to action research to involve citizens. They are most interested in working in areas where bureaucracy and regulation has stifled innovation, and services are failing to meet the needs of individuals. Also mentioned is the Complaints choir's unique approach - using song - to enable individual citizens to feedback their opinions about public services

Gathering ideas from citizens

South Korea and the World Bank have both set up Idea Banks as way of providing citizens to contribute their thoughts and ideas online.

Innovating with citizens

Some organisations have started to use tools and methods used usually by designers to engage and collaboratively develop public services with citizens. Mind Lab in Denmark and the 27th Region project in France are both using this approach.

The Living Labs approach to innovating brings in people with different experience that reflect the diversity of regions to be involved in real life testing and experimentation of new ideas.

Another model for innovating that Geoff Mulgan mentions is Social Innovation Camp which has produced several new organisations with very specific social aims to date including: My Police and the Good Gym.

Social enterprise

Social enterprise is suggested as model for delivering different kinds of services - with examples such as Alcoholics Anonymous which has successfully used this approach. If you are interested in finding out more about social enterprise you can contact the coalition or if you would like to find a local social entrepreneur get in touch with Social Enterprise Ambassadors.

Organisation models that challenge the status quo

Models that change the system are also discussed in the lecture. The free area of Freiberg in Germany and Hammarby Sjostad - a new community which has been designed holistically to consider every resident as part of an integrated eco system. In a different field the School of Everything challenges the notion of education establishments and teacher-pupil roles. Everybody is able to sell their services as an educator.
Recorded at Composing the Future, Innovation by Design.

Transcript of episode

Music Credit: Increase the Dosage by Revolution void