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Coram Innovation Incubator

A National Catalyst for Radical Innovation in Children’s Social Care


Introducing the Coram Innovation Incubator

In collaboration with ten local authorities – along with Microsoft, EY and PA Consulting – Coram has launched the Coram Innovation Incubator (CII) a specialist vehicle for children’s services providers to generate, test and scale radical solutions to shared challenges facing the children’s social care sector. Leveraging a collective drive to support vulnerable children and young people at a time of great need, the CII will allow leaders to collaborate with – and work as entrepreneurs alongside – Coram and private sector experts to co-develop new approaches through the pursuit and exploitation of new products, processes and practice.

A call for radical solutions

Covid-19 has severely and permanently changed life as we know it. For children and young people, the pandemic has brought serious challenges including: disrupted education, social isolation and hidden harm – within or outside families, in person or online. All of this has compounded what was already a picture of increasing complexity and demand and it is imperative that we respond to this new context with radical solutions that meet the scale of the challenge.

Between December 2020 and January 2021, Coram-i carried out the first National Survey of Children’s Services Providers. The survey revealed that, although children’s services recognise the need to embrace new technology and innovative ways of working, they lack the resources to commit to the kinds of changes required to make the greatest difference. A mere 39% of the organisations surveyed were able to operate at the necessary level of radical innovation. Whilst the Department of Education’s Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme, and the What Works Centre for Children’s Social Care have done important work in initiating incremental improvements to practice and exploring evidence-based changes in the sector, the CII will provide the opportunities and infrastructure for a programme of much needed radical innovation in the sector.

To see the full insight report from the survey, please click here.

How the CII works

The CII brings together the insights of local authority partners, Coram’s highly experienced multi-disciplinary team and private sector expertise to develop and pilot innovative solutions to the most important challenges facing children’s services as defined by the providers of those services. The CII creates a space for the sharing of ideas and issues from which projects, partnerships and, ultimately, products or services will emerge. It is designed to enable senior leaders to be involved in the development – or incubation – of an innovation programme and to delegate implementation as appropriate within their teams.


Coram Innovation Incubator graphic

The CII operates on a 12-month cycle of Innovation Labs, Learning Sets and webinars, Innovation Surveys and regular reporting on good practice. Partner organisations will also receive dedicated support from a CII Innovation Business Partner. For more information on these components, click here.

The CII Offer for 2022/23

Coram Innovation Inset Coram runs a 6-month specialist development programme developed by Coram to support practitioners to become innovation leaders in their organisation and pilot an innovation project.
Innovation Labs Designed to interrogate specific challenges, these 2-hour workshops will run 3 times per year and be the first stage in the creation of an innovation project co-developed with end users.
National Innovation Report The CII conducts an annual survey assessing the state of innovation in children’s services, informing the National Innovation Report and helping to set the priorities for the incubator.
CII Innovation Collective A digest showcasing and assessing innovative projects and initiatives from across the sector taking place across the UK and internationally.
Learning Sets Running 3 times a year, CII members are given the chance to learn about new and exciting sector innovations and how they can implement them in their organisation.
Webinars The CII runs regular webinars where a range of expert speakers discuss key issues of interest to the sector.
Coffee Dates The CII facilitates informal monthly 1:1 meetings between partner organisations to build links and share practice.

Our Private Sector Colleagues


Recognising the need to co-develop solutions with know-how and resources from the private sector, Coram is proud to be working with three titans of innovation – Microsoft, EY and PA Consulting. Each organisation is committed to contributing their insight and expertise to support the sector to innovate to improve the lives of children and young people. The CII will seek out and secure further partnerships as needed to deliver on its programme of innovation, bringing the very best of the private sector to bear on the challenges for children.

Our Partners

We are delighted to announce the following membership group for 2022/23: London Borough of Bromley, City of London, Gloucestershire County Council, Hampshire County Council, London Borough of Harrow, London of Havering, Hertfordshire County Council, North Yorkshire County Council, London Borough of Redbridge, Together for Children Sunderland.

By bringing these partners together, the CII will facilitate national collaboration and idea generation, around common “grand challenges” and provide a vehicle to develop and test radical innovations, without the substantial burden of risk or distraction from business as usual that pursuing these projects alone may create.

Coram is looking for a further partners to join the CII. The joining fee for local authorities will be £8,000 for the year.

For more information or to find out more about becoming a CII partner, please email:  [email protected]