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Article Article April 5th, 2023
Cities • Delivery • Innovation • Justice • Infrastructure • Health • Education

Four things we’ve learned about reimagining government in Europe

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🌍 Gearing up for transformative change in Europe? @CPI_foundation's new report unveils insights from their journey 🛣️ as a learning partner to governments across the continent.

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📘 Unveiling @CPI_foundation's report, 'Reimagining government in Europe: what we're learning'! Dive into their projects and discover how their learning partnerships with governments are shaping the future.

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💡 Explore @CPI_foundation's work across Europe in 2022, featuring @UNDPEurasia @SystemsHuman @CollabNewcastle and more! Empowering 550+ public servants and 3000+ community members - this report is a must-read!

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Partnering for Learning

We put our vision for government into practice through learning partner projects that align with our values and help reimagine government so that it works for everyone.

Partner with us

2023 is passing quickly. It feels like we’re back to the pre-COVID-19 pandemic pace, and people are looking to the future. And we at CPI Europe (CPIE) are now over three years old, having been set up in early 2020 before the world changed overnight.

We all have learnt so much over the last three years. Whether that’s about our world, our political and government leaders, the systems we live in, and each other. We are no exception.

2022 was our first non-pandemic year as a UK charity and regional entity of CPI, working towards our mission of supporting the diverse network of changemakers leading the charge to reimagine government.

We have been so lucky to work with partners all over the UK and Europe. So, we wanted to take a moment in this busy year to reflect on last year, what we are learning about our vision for government, and what it means to be an effective learning partner. The result is our latest publication, Reimagining government in Europe: What we're learning.

What we’ve learned

In 2021-22, we worked with over 60 governments and organisations, 550 public servants and changemakers, and 3000 community members. Our work spanned 46 cities and places across 24 countries, covering a broad range of topics. Our latest report captures key learning and reflections from all of that work.

Of course, we know there is no silver bullet solution, and that every community, government, city, and country has unique circumstances. Nevertheless, here are four things we’ve learned that we believe can help governments shape public services that work better for people everywhere.

When governments work alongside communities, they can build better public services that meet people’s needs.

Putting people first and co-designing public services with the community rather than for them, can create more effective public services. This approach can also foster trust, paving the way for stronger relationships between government and communities. Leaders are vital to enabling these relationships and creating the conditions to prioritise this important work.

When government leaders think of their role as a convener and a steward, they can unlock partnerships able to tackle complex challenges.

Governments have a unique role as conveners. They can gather people from different sectors and areas of expertise, such as local communities, the private sector, civil society, and beyond. By bringing together diverse views, they can discover new perspectives, establish new partnerships and find better strategies for challenges that governments cannot solve alone.

When governments are proactive in building learning environments, they lead by example and are far better at navigating complex challenges.

Learning and adapting is critical to making governments more effective and improving things for people. But learning is only sometimes prioritised and can be viewed as optional rather than a necessity. Therefore, teams need the tools and frameworks to develop a continuous listening and learning culture.

When we re-frame how we approach innovation and what we mean by impact, we can drive meaningful change in how government works.

Innovation is central to government transformation. Given governments' constantly evolving challenges, it is crucial to innovate, experiment, test, and adopt new approaches to respond to a rapidly changing world. Yet, innovation in public services is often sporadic and restricted to specialised innovation teams, leading to silos. We also often think about measuring the impact of innovation in a narrow way.

To unleash its full potential, governments must systemically integrate innovation into public administrations and nurture the conditions to enable different working methods. In addition, they must shift their public management practice to create the conditions for that approach to stick.

Looking ahead

This is our first learning and reflection report as a CPI Europe team. But we’re only at the beginning of what we know about what a reimagined government could look like, and how we, as an organisation, can support that.

Looking to the future, we’re excited to continue working with so many partners - including Healthcare Improvement Scotland, Lankelly Chase, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Frontline, Crescendo and many more. We’re also thrilled to work with many new partners - such as, Lancashire and Thurrock local authorities, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Climate-KIC and others - in 2023 and beyond.

Our plans for 2023 include continuing our work on Urban Imaginaries, a 10-month learning journey co-designed and delivered under the Mayors for Economic Growth (M4EG) Facility with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the European Union’s support. The Urban Imaginaries programme supports cities across Eastern Europe and Central Asia to develop solutions to their most pressing urban challenges. Last year, 50 public officials from 18 cities across five Eastern Partnership countries benefited from training. This year, we’re eager to explore how we can help these cities take the next step, moving from ideation and experimentation to implementing their solutions.

We’re also embarking on a partnership with on the Europe-wide Impact Challenge “Tech for Social Good”. We are working with to support good ideas from nonprofits and social enterprises that leverage technology to benefit communities across Europe. The partnership is exciting as we have the chance to combine our learning on digital innovation and social impact and work alongside recipients to advance pioneering solutions that enable communities to thrive. 

These are just two of the projects we’re excited to collaborate on with partners in the coming year. As with all our projects and programmes, we’re committed to continuing learning about how we can best enable and steward the growing movement of changemakers in Europe towards a new future for government. We’re also committed to sharing what we are learning as an organisation, and listening to others.

Thank you to our partners for being with us on this journey, and if you’re working to reimagine government in Europe, then we’d love to hear from you. Together, we can create a brighter future for governments, where everyone thrives. So let’s talk about how we can work towards that together.

What we’re learning in Europe

As a learning partner, CPI supports governments, the public sector, and civil society, to change how they work. Read key insights on what we’re learning about how to shape governments that work better for everyone.

Read our report

Written by:

Katie Rose
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