Category: Social Innovation

Moving From The Reactive To The Pre-Emptive

As Matthew Manos has written, many of us in the social sector are employed in the expectation that the things that go wrong will always go wrong.  Indeed, our work often profits from past societal failure rather than the contemplation of the signals of failures that have yet to exist. The entire premise relies on ...

The Problem With Seeing People As Vulnerable

Never mistake your Twitter feed for your country — Nick Cohen (@NickCohen4) December 12, 2019 Now, more than ever, it’s easier to exist within a bubble. We spend a lot more time communicating through screens than talking face to face. Our digital social networks are powered by algorithms designed to feed us information confirming what ...

How To Keep Focussed (And Remain Sane) In A World Of Complex Problems

In our heart, we know the solution does not lie in reforming silo by silo but in organizing our silos the way people organize their lives, so that the neighbourhood becomes our primary unit of analysis and change – Cormac Russell I’ve spent two days this week with both the Connected Places Catapult in London ...

If We Don’t Develop Different Relationships, We’ll Lose Our Legitimacy

If we do not respond to people and communities’ desire for power, we will lose our legitimacy and waste the potential of the many ways they can have agency over what matters to them. If we do not continually, bravely work to build trust, we will lose the essential foundation for everything we do. – Civil ...

Why Do We Have Such A Problem With Poor People?

It’s an uncomfortable truth that many of us working in the social sector share exactly the same prejudices about poor people as everybody else. Recognising this is the first step to tackling any stigma  I was recently asked to write a piece on the stigma of social housing. (TLDR: I maintain that the ‘stigma’ is not ...

Communities Need A Different Model – And That Might Not Include Us

Last week I was in Sulawesi, Indonesia, a place none of my family had ever heard of – until a devastating quake and tsunami hit Palu, at which point my phone sprang to life with loads of messages checking that I was still alive. Actually, we were 300 miles away at that point, and in ...

The Problem With Professionals

Social progress is about the expansion of freedom, not the growth of services – Cormac Russell Our digital networks, Twitter, in particular, are unparalleled listening tools. I follow thousands of accounts, many organised into lists so I can get a sense of what’s going on in innovation, technology, health, housing – and the social sector generally. ...

Reshaping Organisations Around What’s Strong – Not What’s Wrong

“ECONOMICS ARE THE METHOD: THE OBJECT IS TO CHANGE THE SOUL” This (pretty chilling) quote comes from Margaret Thatcher in 1981 – and ushered in an era that promoted the belief that social progress is achieved through the accumulation of wealth or status. Earn more, consume more, and you’ll be happy.  The legacy of this is ...

How To Design For Better Outcomes

Our job is to the mind the gap between the bureaucracy of our systems and the opportunities in our communities – Cormac Russell Sometimes it’s preferable to pull the plug on a service before you see it collapse in front of your eyes. A recent report says we are trapped in a reactive spending cycle on public ...

How Not To Solve The Health, Housing and Care Crisis

Crisis (noun) ‘a time of intense difficulty, trouble, or danger’. ‘a time when a difficult or important decision must be made.’ The housing crisis can no longer be ignored. Neither it appears can the crisis in health. And nor can the social care, or ageing crisis. Our repeated use of the word crisis is telling and ...