Radical Innovation in a key part of UK Government

In: BlogDate: Feb 22, 2016By: Claire Lickman

A group of speakers from GCHQ spoke about how they had introduced innovation into their department, saying “if we can innovate, really anyone can innovate.”

They were given a £1 million budget for innovation, and set up an internal crowdfunding-style website called OneShot (similar to Kickstarter), allowing anyone to pitch their ideas for a project.

But who decided which projects were funded? 100 junior staff members were each given a £10,000 budget to allocate to the projects they thought were best. The way the junior staff were chosen was simple – they had to ask for it, they had to be a junior staff (not managing another member of staff), and had to have never managed a budget before.

This project has been an incredible success. “We have funded some projects, but more importantly, we’ve created a community.” They found that the junior staff members took this responsibility incredibly seriously – “having a finite amount of resource meant that people were much more discerning about what they chose to fund.”

So far they have already resolved 24 different issues within the department – but, as they said, “we have funded some projects, but more importantly, we’ve created a community.” The system has really helped to improve morale, as staff really feel like they can make a difference to the department.

Click here to download GCHQ’s Powerpoint presentation (PDF).

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Claire Lickman

Claire is Digital Marketing Coordinator at Happy. She has worked at Happy since 2016, and is responsible for Happy's marketing strategy, website, social media and more. Claire first heard about Happy in 2012 when she attended a mix of IT and personal development courses. These courses were life-changing and she has been a fan of Happy ever since.

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