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Quick Thoughts from Nesta's Labworks 2015

Friday, July 17, 2015
by Nick Charney RSS / cpsrenewalFacebook / cpsrenewalLinkedIn / Nick Charneytwitter / nickcharneygovloop / nickcharneyGoogle+ / nickcharney

Last week I was lucky enough to be at Nesta's LabWorks 2015 - Global Lab Gathering London. I attended the conference as both a delegate and a speaker, having the opportunity to both take in the day but also help shape it by setting up a panel discussion exploring the question: What is the best model for public sector innovation. Overall, the conference was one of the better one's I've attended in recent history and it was a great opportunity to catch up with some old friends and make new ones.

One of the key takeaways for me was a diagram that Charles Leadbeater used to explain the lab ecosystem:


He argued that the prevailing world view from the innovation literature is that while no one wants to be on the red line (old systems being disrupted) and everyone wants to be on the green line (new disruptive innovations) the reality is that there are people (and labs) operating (and innovating) all along both lines. Some are innovating to maintain the status quo, others to change it, and that ultimately these forces meet somewhere along the curve and create new possibilities and futures that spin out in a multiplicity of directions.

I thought the description was not only incredibly apt but challenged the audience to think more critically about where their lab was in the ecosystem and what purpose it served. Broadly speaking, the feeling I get is that everyone likes to stylize their work as being in that cool place on the lower left part of that green curve when that's not always the case.

I'd share more right now, but my brain is still operating in another time zone.

Cheers