Know where to go for advice and guidance in public sector innovation, and understand how support and inspiration can help you on your journey.

Even if you’re convinced that using design and innovation approaches could make a positive impact on your work, you might not know where to begin. What support is available to you? How do you know what type of initiatives might be appropriate for your challenge? And what are the first steps that you should take?

This is when it’s important to remember that you are not on your own. Across the continent there are a whole range of people and organisations leading the way and showing what can be done. By exploring different case studies and identifying those with similar challenges to those you’re facing, you should begin to see more clearly what options might be open to you and how to tap into them for extra support.

Connecting directly with others who are on the same journey can also be enormously helpful. Seeing what’s possible is inspiring, but sharing the experiences of those who are a few steps ahead of you on their innovation journey can be the most valuable connection of all. The barriers and challenges that they faced at the same stage you’re at now, and their practical advice on ways to overcome them, will still be fresh in their minds.

We need to learn what works well, and accelerate what’s happening by building on what’s happening already, standing on the shoulders of giants.

Brenton Caffin
Director of Innovation Skills, Nesta

Some of the examples you uncover may have received support from government initiatives – from a European, national or regional level – and this could be a route for you too. More and more European countries are putting design and innovation on their policy agenda and launching support programmes, so explore how others have taken advantage of this and how you could too.

The rest of this section offers some tips to help you to understand what kind of guidance is out there. It also introduces an interactive map that can help you find contacts and networks in public sector innovation, which shows innovation labs and teams currently working in the public sector across Europe.