20 Tools for Innovating in Government


Work data:

ISBN: 978-1-913095-13-0

Type of work: Report


Government and Public Administration | Innovation


The 21st-century public servant is expected to be adept at change. The best of them will have access to the tools of an innovator and embrace a growth mindset which looks outwards to new possibilities.

This handbook covers 20 evidence-based tools, designed to help you bring bold ideas to life to change lives from within government. This includes tools that uncover new insights and generate ideas, to tools for developing and testing, or tools that support system change.

Some of the tools exploit new technologies like data analytics, whilst others harness insights from new sources, including frontline workers and citizens – such as the 100 Day Challenge, collective intelligence and people-powered public services.

Some tools are more established, such as prototyping, which Nesta helped to embed in local government in 2010 and which is now much more mainstream. And others are still emerging, like anticipatory regulation, a term Nesta coined in 2016 to describe ways of working with new technologies like drones and blockchain and artificial intelligence.

Each section explains what the tool is and provides case studies to inspire government innovators. There is also a list of further resources if you want to go deeper.


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Full document:
Sellick, V. (2019). 20 Tools for Innovating in Government. London: Nesta.