Advocacy can be a very successful way of raising awareness. Learn more about how to get buy-in and support from others – and get insights into how to identify potential advocates, sponsors and champions.

We all know that in the public sector it can sometimes be difficult to push through change. Challenging the status quo and trying to do things in a new or different way can feel like an uphill battle, and this is why building advocacy and presenting a compelling case is essential for success. Change happens when people share both enthusiasm and evidence in a way that makes decision-makers feel convinced enough to use their authority to invest resources. If you can create a strong narrative that uses both hard data and citizen stories, you’ll find winning over the hearts and minds of others much more effective.

This approach is also very much in the collaborative spirit of design. Building advocacy is a powerful tools for change, and vital to raising awareness around the value of design-led innovation. By seeking allies, you can create a movement. So instead of building new siloes, how about we engage with others and talk about how we can work together on new approaches?

Who or what are advocates?

Your advocates are likely to be individuals, who could be key decision-makers, citizens, front-line managers, or public sector innovators. But they could also be groups of people or associations who support your aims or approach.

What role do innovators play in building advocacy?

Leading innovation is about bringing together alliances and movements, and amplifying the effect of new interventions and approaches. By inviting others to support your cause and help build momentum, you’ll have much greater reach than if you have to do this on your own. Successful innovation initiatives aren’t about heroic individuals, but about the creative confluence of people and ideas.

In the rest of the Building Advocacy section, we examine why some of the world’s leading organisations are looking to design, explore some examples of advocacy at work in public sector innovation projects, and share some of the practical advice drawn from people who have experience of building support for design in the public sector.