Public Services Innovation Lab

The Lab brings together academics, practitioners, community members and other stakeholders from across the public service system. It is a place and an opportunity to explore challenge-led issues identified by those close to them. 

Our approach to Public Services at EFI is underpinned by a relational, systems, data driven, complexity and challenge-led methodology – the vision, ambition and societal focus is innovative, emergent, and fluid.

We are focused on supporting multi stakeholder, inter disciplinary, systemic challenges. There is therefore a bias in favour of convening ‘spaces’ for collaboration and coproducing effective structures to work differently, such as the ‘Prevention Hub’.

The goal of the Lab is to bring together academics, practitioners, community members and other stakeholders within and across the public service system. The Lab specifically engages with and explores challenge-led issues identified by those close to them.  The nature of this work involves:

  • Appraising opportunities and partnerships from a ‘whole system’ and long-term mindset, with transparency and openness.
  • Sharing learning and thought leadership about ‘how to collaborate well’.
  • Disrupting the silo effect, identifying gaps and brokering conversations across boundaries.
  • Striving for innovation, change, transformation and better societal outcomes.

Relationships, systems, change.

The goal of the Lab is to bring together academics, practitioners, community members and other stakeholders within and across the public service system. The Lab will specifically engage with and explore challenge-led issues identified by those close to them.

It is clear that our public services are under immense pressure to reform and transform, to become more joined up, to meet an ever-increasing demand while managing 24/7 scrutiny and expectation.  In addition, complex and wicked issues like homelessness, poverty and health inequalities are intractable, deep rooted and require a collaborative approach from across our public service system, including citizens and communities.

Understanding the complicated contexts, the political and policy landscape and the need to bring the whole system closer together whether at the practice, research or data level is a fundamental step towards achieving better outcomes for citizens and communities.

Supporting and convening effective collaborative conditions, processes and space to grapple with challenging issues are necessary to; promote the sharing of experiences, illuminate opposing perspectives, strengthen relationships and working practices, encourage the development of ideas and promote data driven innovation.

In recognition of the above, this Lab has been formed to support those motivated to be a part of this ‘space’, to share experiences and knowledge relating specifically to the HOW of working collaboratively and to work together on shared challenges.

This Lab is a collaborative initiative and will be shaped by those with a stake in public services, by people who are interested in harnessing connections and relationships, by those focused on embracing data to drive innovation and by people who wish to ‘start somewhere’ in terms of whole systems transformation.  With this in mind it is important to say…there is no masterplan here.

It will be a crossing point for sharing knowledge, ideas, and an application space for shaping ideas into practical actions, bringing together stakeholders from across the public service system, university sector, communities and beyond.

We will draw from our world-class interdisciplinary expertise from the University of Edinburgh as well as our sister innovation Hubs, the Usher Institute, Health and Social Care Data Driven Innovation Programme and the Bayes Centre. We will link in with the activities and partners within EFI itself such as the Data for Children Collaborative, Centre for Future Infrastructure and Data Civics, to work with external organisations, government departments and agencies who are grappling with complex organisational, societal, data and digital challenges.

It will be a space where partners from across public services can engage with our leading academics, professional services staff, outstanding students at all levels and importantly with each other virtually or in our dedicated public services ward of the EFI building – to alter conversations, co-create different ways of doing, develop new processes, test out ideas and try out new working arrangements.

Our academics and public service team will share ideas and insights with stakeholders and partners and coalesce around key questions such as…

How can we collaborate more effectively across our public service sector? How can we access, share and optimise data to innovate and enhance? What capabilities and capacity gaps do we have? How should we support the next generation of leaders of public services?  How can we achieve better outcomes for our citizens and communities – and effect change locally, nationally and globally.

Through collaboration with public service partners, academics and other key stakeholders, we will co-create a powerful practice and learning network with those invested in our public service futures, who are seeking to tackle issues from different and unconventional perspectives, to better address the ‘wicked problems’ that persist.

Meet the team

Kristy Docherty

Director, Public Services
| Prevention Hub | Public Services Innovation Lab

Join us to challenge, create, and make change happen.