All about Innovation

Defining innovation

A key challenge for children's social care is how to improve service experiences and outcomes for some of the most vulnerable members of our society in the face of complex social problems, increased demand for services, greater public accountability and pressure on public spending. Innovation is increasingly being used as a way of fundamentally rethinking the nature of such practice problems and transforming the ways that services are structured and delivered. But there are a number of key questions about innovation and its processes in social care that are difficult to answer:

  • Does the social care sector have a shared definition of what innovation means?
  • Is innovation in social care similar to or different from innovation as defined by other areas or disciplines?
  • How is innovation different from service or practice improvement?
  • Under what conditions do social care innovations start up and flourish?
  • What is the process of innovation like for those going through it?
  • How are young people and families involved in developing and evaluating innovations?
  • What barriers do professionals face when innovating in social care and what levers are needed to increase the likelihood of success?
  • How can successful innovations be scaled up, spread and evaluated?

Building new knowledge about innovation

In year 1 of the project, we will reviewing literature on the ways in which innovation is understood and practised within social care settings, both in the UK and in countries with a similar approach to social care. We will interview a range of expert informants with significant experience of innovation in the sector, including politicians, policymakers, senior leaders, operational managers, academics, researchers and representatives from social enterprises and charities that are leading on and promoting public service innovation. Combining analysis from the review and the interviews will enable us to build new theory about the nature of innovation in social care. This will shape our thinking on innovation and inform the fieldwork stages of the project.

If you are interested in being interviewed as a key informant, please get in touch

The findings from the review and interviews will be available to read and download from the website in Summer 2020.

Resources

Podcast : The long listen: 'All About Innovation'.

Join Martha Hampson and Carlie Goldsmith in conversation as they discuss the finer details of their roles and the project.

Who is involved with this strand of the project?

A team from Innovation Unit is leading the development of new theorisations of innovation in social care for the Innovate project. This includes:

  • Does the social care sector have a shared definition of what innovation means?
  • Is innovation in social care similar to or different from innovation as defined by other areas or disciplines?
  • How is innovation different from service or practice improvement?
  • Under what conditions do social care innovations start up and flourish?
  • What is the process of innovation like for those going through it?
  • How are young people and families involved in developing and evaluating innovations?
  • What barriers do professionals face when innovating in social care and what levers are needed to increase the likelihood of success?
  • How can successful innovations be scaled up, spread and evaluated?

Get updates about the project

If you’d like to receive updates about The Innovate Project, including our latest findings, blog posts and events, please sign up to the mailing list: