The Little Book of Camden Social Innovation


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The Little Book of Camden Social Innovation

  2. 2. The Little Book of Camden Innovation hasbeen developed by FutureGov to support thoseapplying to or delivering the CamdenInnovation and Development Fund. This book explains what innovation is, how todesign an innovative project, some examples ofprojects to inspire you and some resources thatmight be useful when developing your idea. The Camden Innovation and DevelopmentFund is run by Camden Council and its aim is tounlock the creativity and potential within theborough to help find better ways of tackling thesocial problems that exist in Camera.More information on the Fund can be found at:’S THIS ALL ABOUT THEN?Camden challenge
  3. 3. SO WHAT EXACTLY DO YOU MEAN BY INNOVATION?Social Innovation means having a new idea, orapplying an existing idea in a new way, to make alasting and valuable social change. True socialinnovation completely changes the system andflips people’s assumptions, behaviours andsociety’s structures.There is a growing social innovation movement inthe UK, with innovators and social entrepreneurscoming up with new ways to solve some ofsociety’s most difficult problems. Social innovation is not about technology, but astechnology becomes increasingly central to ourlives, so it becomes an important feature of socialinnovation.Social innovation can come from individuals,groups, or organisations and can be from anysector – charity, for-profit, and public sector. Oftenthe best ideas happen when all of these cometogether – collaboration is one of the hallmarks ofgood social innovation. challenge
  4. 4. There are a number of ways that your projects can be designed to give them themaximum impact and make them more innovative. It’s all about communicating youridea with passion; looking at things differently; making better use of networks; involvingpeople in new and interesting ways; and looking for and using untapped assets. WHAT MIGHT HELP MEINNOVATE?Camden challenge
  5. 5. COMMUNICATING YOUR VENTURE/ PROJECTInnovative projects rely on people being engaged andinterested in getting involved in different ways. It isimportant to communicate your projects succinctly, in away that resonates with your audience and avoidsconfusion. Try to work your idea into a few sentences. One goodway of doing this is breaking your idea down into why,how and what? Talking about “why”first shows a focus on humanoutcomes and your passion. Then you need to describe“how”you intend to tackle the identified issue. Then the“what”is how your passion and work is delivered in thereal world. So... “We are tackling social isolation in older adultsbecause it effects their health and happiness. We willconnect them with people in their local community.How? By starting a cooking club.”Thinking about the different audiences you might becommunicating your idea to will also be beneficial. WHY?HOW?WHAT?Camden challenge
  6. 6. FLIPPING THE PROPOSITIONWhat is the problem you are addressing? It’s worth taking a step back from the project andlooking at what has been done before to try totackle this particular issue. What are all the assumptions that are made aboutthis particular issue and why are they beingmade? How do you know they are right? How canyou challenge some of these assumptions byflipping or denying them? So for example, if we were looking at gettingolder people online it might be worth flipping thetraditional approach of teaching older people howto use the internet and looking at the problemfrom the perspective of what older people want todo, then how you make the internet relevant. challenge
  7. 7. MAKING BETTER USE OF NETWORKSUnderstanding and uncovering the networks thatexist in Camden might bring to light interestingopportunities. Use one another within the programme whereyou can to build networks into places that youneed access. The council has a large network of local contactsand people in positions of authority, so they maybe able to provide useful links for you. There are useful tools and techniques that can beused to do this. Mapping networks that maybeuseful, particularly mapping key or “bridge”figureswho can help you access those networks orresources you might require.The RSA are attempting to map the socialnetworks that exist in Camden which might be agood resource for you to use when developingnew projects. Camden challenge
  8. 8. INVOLVE PEOPLE IN NEW AND INTERESTING WAYSTo really tackle deeply ingrained issues itsimportant to look at how service users and localpeople can be more meaningfully involved in theprojects in the local area as contributors. This can only happen where there is publicsupport and belief in the project. You might needto spend time engaging with people and thinkingof new ways to engage and facilitate involvement.Focusing on people’s strengths (what they canbring) and a sense of shared purpose will bebeneficial in getting people involved.This goes beyond traditional consulting andinvites people to contribute their knowledge, ideasand creativity to the design and development ofyour idea. Can the people you are working with beinvolved in the delivery of the project? Can youbuild enough trust to allow mutual decisionmaking powers?These approaches to building innovativecommunity projects are worth thinking about asyour project develops. Camden challenge
  9. 9. LOOKING FOR AND UTILISING UNTAPPED ASSETSThere are really huge opportunities to be found inlatent community assets. Unused or untappedpotential will mean that you can do much more withyour idea.Physical assets such as spaces, places and things likematerials might provide opportunities or resourcesthat could be useful. Projects such as Brixton Villageand the empty shops network make use of theselatent assets as an approach to regeneration.Human assets, such as untapped knowledge, skills andaspirations can also be extremely powerful if you areable to build on them. By focusing on capabilitiesrather than needs you can be presented withinteresting opportunities. This can be seen in projects such as Southwark Circle,which focuses on people’s capabilities.Its worth looking and understanding what ‘s in yourlocal area already and working collaboratively to mapthese latent assets.