Cabinet Office Innovation Launch Pad

It has been almost two months since I last wrote a blog entry. The summer has flown by and what is normally a quiet time has been anything but. I am not complaining as the alternative is far worse. However a little time to catch my breath would be most appreciated!

A lot is happening this week however the most exciting item is on Tuesday 19th July. Some months ago it was suggested that we apply for the Cabinet Office Innovation Launch Pad. My understanding is that the Government has recognised that SMEs will be the engine of growth for our economy and should be encouraged. However it was pointed out that it is very difficult for most SMEs to do business with the public sector and therefore if the Coalition is to give meaning to its intent it needs to make some changes. The Innovation Launch Pad, run from the Cabinet Office, is a high profile way of doing precisely this.

Any UK SME could submit their ideas on how they could deliver improved value for money for Government. There then followed an in-depth evaluation process including public commenting, expert review, civil service voting and presentations by the short-listed companies. From this nine companies emerged as the ones selected as being most promising and MyWorkSearch is one of them. We put forward two ideas and the one that has been chosen is that every unemployed person in the country should be offered MyWorkSearch free of charge. If we can help just a small proportion find a job slightly faster than they otherwise would, we can save the Government over £250m per year in unemployment benefits and lost tax.

On Tuesday there is an event at the Department for Business Innovation and Skills where the nine selected companies will put forward their ideas. Present will be Government ministers, senior civil servants, business leaders and the media. In the evening there will be a reception in Downing Street.

The nine companies are:

It is a tremendous honour for MyWorkSearch that we have been selected to get this far and I am delighted. What is most exciting are the many conversations and introductions that have already occurred as a result of getting to this stage. I am getting a real sense that there is a commitment from the civil servants I have met to be open to the ideas we offer. The public sector has been risk averse for as long as I can remember and more of the same will not produce the outcomes our country requires. Making it acceptable to take a few risks and potentially have some initiatives fail is exactly what we need. The ideas that work can be scaled and those that don’t can be learnt from.  Meanwhile a generation of entrepreneurs will see that the public sector is open for business and will create solutions, some of which will deliver huge benefits.

I hope that the Innovation Launch Pad is a success. It will be great for MyWorkSearch however it could be superb for the country.