The main component of the EXIT study involves in-depth research at six case study sites in different geographical locations around the UK. These case studies take place over two years using a co-production methodology, meaning the EXIT Study Team will work closely with the host organisation to improve their processes and practices around implementing innovation. Cases were chosen to reflect a range of organisational contexts in which innovation might happen.
After completing our case studies, we will then compare and contrast findings across each of the case studies to draw out lessons about how innovation can be best supported for implementation, and become sustainable, scale up and spread – all legs of the journey innovation undertakes. While many innovations begin that journey, only a few will go on to become widespread, established practice. Our case studies ask the question – why? Second, we aim to identify the practices and processes associated with different legs of this innovation journey.
Read on for an overview of the six case study sites.
Commissioned service context:
1) A complex innovation involving a collaboration between a local authority city council and a recently formed Children’s Trust, owned by the Council but which operates independently. Within this context we have identified two innovations to explore barriers and facilitators to implementation and scale-up. One of these addresses a city-wide need to do more for all vulnerable young people and thus includes, but is not limited to care leavers. The second case we are following is a therapeutic, life-work intervention for mums and parent couples (many of whom are care experienced), who have had previous children adopted or their children are at risk of adoption. The intervention aims to prevent their children or future children being taken into care.
2) A collaborative partnership between a city council and NHS partnership Trust. The council has commissioned the Partnership Trust to deliver, and improve upon healthcare outcomes and services for Looked After Children transitioning to adulthood. This was especially important as healthcare is an overlooked area of transition compared with other transition domains.
Charity Sector Context:
3) We will work with a long established national charity to explore processes of innovation that are focused upon placing care-leavers at the centre of the innovation process. Care leavers support all aspects of the innovation journey from its initial design, piloting and potential scale-up and diffusion. This case represents an innovative approach, to empower care-leavers themselves to be innovative, rather than simply have innovation imposed on them.
4) By contrast, our second case site in the Charity Sector follows the work of a more recent national charity. The organisation developed an innovation which has gone on to scale-up and spread to various places around the country. This case study represents a success story of how innovation can begin as a small-scale idea and become sustainable and grow. Lessons learned from this case study will help the EXIT team to explore and understand what factors are important for innovation to spread beyond its locale and initial pilot funding.
Local Authority Context:
5 & 6) We are working with two local authorities in the North of England to explore when innovation takes place in-house, within a local authority setting. While the Charity sector, and inter-organisational partnership practices are obvious contexts for innovation, many local authorities are also doing innovation on their doorstep to improve outcomes and experience for their care leavers. Such innovation may attract less publicity and funding thus remaining somewhat hidden from view. We want to explore what helps or hinders innovation when it is done as part of local-authority practice to enhance and develop its own care leaver services and local offer.