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1. You’re not alone – explore what’s out there

Connecting with people and teams who’ve been where you are (or are there right now) is a powerful reminder of the fact that you’re part of a dynamic community. Becoming a part of the broader design community can inspire, support and encourage you on your journey.
There is a lot of public sector innovation activity across Europe: you just need to know where to look. Explore this interactive map  to find out just how many innovation initiatives there are out there, and be inspired by what they’ve been doing. Read through the case studies and examples on this website. Focus on stories that resonate with you, whether that’s because they’re in a similar sector, have faced a similar challenge, or are in your region.
 

2. Build bridges and start conversations

Reach out. After you find other projects and people out there with a shared interest, think about what you would most like to learn from them. Prepare a short list of the key questions that you think might be useful to ask them and start purposeful conversations that are focused. Be mindful that they are giving their time and expertise, and also think about what you can offer them.
 

3. Identify government-funded initiatives that can provide support

Whether you are looking for mentoring, support and guidance, or funding for innovation projects, there is likely to be a government-led initiative that can help. Design has been included in European Commission innovation policy since 2010, helping to develop Europe’s design landscape. Not only is there an Action Plan for Design-driven Innovation at a European level but a number of European Member States, including Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France and Latvia, have also developed specific design action plans. In addition, 15 of the 28 European Member States have explicitly included design in their national innovation policy.
 

4. Reinforce your own learning by giving back

Teaching others is one of the best ways of embedding your own learning. Share your story and what you’ve learned with others. This could mean making space for reflection and sharing within your own immediate team, or offering your insights more widely within your organisation, department or community of practice.

Read more about communities of practice in the Building Skills & Capacity module, which explores how you can engage in a process of collective learning by sharing your experiences and reflections as part of a group.

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