Taking the plunge

Turning innovative ideas into reality takes bold leadership, commitment, support and culture change. And there is no shortage of such ideas being delivered in local government, with more than 40 councils and organisations set to present their projects in the ‘Innovation Zone’ at the LGA’s annual conference in Bournemouth.

The seventh Innovation Zone, once again sponsored by Newton, will showcase real stuff within a supportive environment, allowing for honest discussion on how councils can continue to explore and share innovative and inspiring new ideas, and demonstrate the difference they have made locally.

Our theme this year is ‘taking the plunge’, featuring bold innovations and organisations that have not been afraid to try new approaches.

You can hear the story of Harewood Hill Lodge in Darlington, a short break service for children and young people with physical and learning disabilities, which became a ‘creative care home’ while improving its Ofsted rating to ‘outstanding’.

In the zone

The Innovation Zone is part of the LGA’s ongoing innovation and improvement work, including:

  • more than 1,100 council case studies
  • our Design in the Public Sector programme, equipping councils with design skills and techniques to apply to service challenges
  • our behavioural insights programme
  • our new Transformation and Innovation Exchange.

You can find out more at www.local.gov.uk/our-support/our-improvement-offer or access our latest weekly case studies on Twitter, at
@LGAcomms and #InnovateTuesday.

You can find out how data visualisation tools piloted by Kent County Council can help map the pathways of children entering care to enable better decision-making, or how children at Sheffield Council have been helping adults and carers improve placements for all children in care through a board game.

The Innovation Zone will feature a wide variety of interactive workshops, where you can take part in a DIY robotics challenge; meet Lexi the support dog; take a cycle trip round the world without leaving the zone; or see how home sensors and artificial intelligence-based analytics can help manage care.

We will also be tackling some key questions for local government. The first session in the Innovation Zone will tackle racial inequality head on, with a discussion from the London Borough of Hackney about its  ‘Improving outcomes for young black men’ project.

We have a practical session on helping local government staff and others in the sector who also have caring responsibilities. Another hot topic is the environment, with an example from Leeds on what the sector can do to increase recycling efforts, plus a session on tackling extreme weather through the EU’s blue-green infrastructure project in Kent and Enfield.

We will also be launching our new Transformation and Innovation Exchange (TIEx) – an interactive space where councils can come together to share learning and support each other to continue delivering value for money and better outcomes for communities. Come along to the launch at 6pm on Wednesday 3 July to find out more.

If you have your own exciting idea or innovation to share, you can get involved in the Innovation Zone’s open mic’ session, by ‘taking the plunge’ and speaking on an issue you care about. Join us on Thursday 4 July to hear fellow councillors’ take on innovation, solving local challenges or exploring new possibilities.

We look forward to meeting you at this year’s Innovation Zone.

To view the full Innovation Zone programme and to book a place at the LGA’s annual conference, please visit www.local.gov.uk/conference. Join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtags #LGAconf19 and #LGAIZ.

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