Developing an impact framework for cultural change in government

Jesper Christiansen at Nesta: “Innovation teams and labs around the world are increasingly being tasked with building capacity and contributing to cultural change in government. There’s also an increasing recognition that we need to go beyond projects or single structures and make innovation become a part of the way governments operate more broadly.

However, there is a significant gap in our understanding of what “cultural change” or better “capacity” actually means.

At the same time, most innovation labs and teams are still being held to account in ways that don’t productively support this work. There is a lack of useful ways to measure outcomes, as opposed to outputs (for example, being asked to account for the number of workshops, rather than the increased capacity or impact that these workshops led to).

Consequently, we need a more developed awareness and understanding of what the signs of success look like, and what the intermediary outcomes (and measures) are in order to create a shift in accountability and better support ongoing capacity building….

One of the goals of States of Change, the collective we initiated last year to build this capability and culture, is to proactively address the common challenges that innovation practitioners face again and again. The field of public innovation is still emerging and evolving, and so our aim is to inspire action through practice-oriented, collaborative R&D activities and to develop the field based on practice rather than theory….(More)”.