I'm subtooting not one but two conversations at once when I post the following definition of innovation from a throwaway line in Bruno Latour's 'Aramis'

“a project is considered innovative when the number of actors is not known at the outset”

Innovation is all about relationships. To create and improve services takes new alliances between human actors – be they customers, workers or citizens – and often non-human ones too – technologies, corporations and institutions.

It’s also the art of the unpredictable. Congratulations if you already know just who needs to do what, with whom, where and when to make something succeed – but innovation isn’t like that.


The larger, and older, the organisation, the harder its peole havd to work to avoid repeating old patterns that exclude the potential for new relationships forming.

There are many different ideas about how to innovate, from the wild throw-mud-at-the-wall variety to the rigorously data-driven and analytical.

People-centred service design provides a happy, human medium – thinking big enough for real breakthroughs, all the while grounded in genuine user insight.

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