Innovation programme

What is the Innovation programme?

The Innovation programme is a new programme being launched by Frontline through our philanthropically funded Innovation Lab. Through the programme, Frontline fellows will have the opportunity to develop pioneering ideas that will positively impact social work practice and drive social change for children and families.

The programme has been designed to guide participants through an innovation journey to help turn their ideas, whether small, sustainable change in an individual local authority, or national, system-wide change, into something tangible. Throughout the programme, fellows will receive expert training and mentoring to facilitate the exploration of their ideas and think collaboratively about how to implement them. They will also benefit from peer group workshops to provide a safe space to develop solutions and share learning experiences.

Across the course of the 17-week programme, participants will work through a three-stage process; define, explore, and build and design. The programme culminates with the chance to pitch to Frontline’s Innovation panel and an opportunity for some of the most impactful and well-developed innovations to receive further support.

Why does the Innovation programme exist?

The coronavirus pandemic highlighted just how crucial the support of social workers is – the most disadvantaged in our society are affected disproportionately in times of turmoil, and social workers are uniquely placed to help them overcome the challenges they face.

Unfortunately, the social work system does not always empower social workers to do their best work, nor give them the freedom to make the best choices for children and families. Many of these challenges are not new – from excessive paperwork and bureaucracy and too little time spent with children and families to a lack of joined-up working by professionals in the team around the child.

But the pandemic has also shown us how adaptable, creative and resourceful social workers and Local Authorities can be. In this ability to adapt and innovate lies the solution to those persistent problems that social work faces. That’s why the Innovation programme exists: to support our growing community of fellows to turn their ideas and innovations into something tangible that brings about change in the social work system.

What makes the Innovation programme unique?

The first of its kind, the Innovation programme has been developed specifically for social workers, empowering them to create change through ideas that stem from their practice. Solutions will be directly driven by improving the lives of children and families, as well as overcoming challenges within the social work system. The Innovation programme aims to harness the unique insight social workers have into the root cause of these challenges, and support them to create real, tangible innovations to overcome these. While many of these challenges are not new, taking an innovative approach to tackling them that is led by social workers, is. By sharing their learning and best practice with the sector, we hope that more social workers will be inspired and encouraged to do the same.

Who can apply?

To be eligible to join the Innovation programme, you must be a Frontline fellow. Contact your fellowship officer for more information.