Innovative policy-making at the Foreign Office

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) asked LeaderSpace to help enhance one of its teams' ability to drive innovative policy making. We worked with the team leader, his staff and representatives of neighbouring teams to capitalise on their existing skills and insights, recognising and respecting the fact that they already innovate on a daily basis. Together, we identified and addressed the various forces within and around the team that were helping and hindering innovation. The result was a team better equipped to develop innovative policy across Whitehall and internationally.

Context and objectives

The FCO promotes the United Kingdom’s interests overseas, supporting its citizens and businesses around the globe. NATO is at the heart of the UK’s defence policy. The FCO’s NATO Team promotes UK objectives within NATO in support of Euro Atlantic security and prosperity. The team operates in a complex stakeholder environment, balancing the needs of the Cabinet Office, Ministry of Defence, Home Office, UK Parliamentarians, NATO and its member states, numerous think tanks, NGOs, the private sector, and the media, as well as a range of stakeholders within the FCO itself – all in service of the British public.

The team’s leader, Ross Matthews, asked LeaderSpace to help his team ‘up the ante’ when it came to innovation. Given the range of threats to Euro-Atlantic Security, Ross wanted to ensure his team had the skills and confidence to develop innovative policy solutions which could challenge the status quo. He also wanted to focus on how to achieve innovation working across government departments with his team scheduled to become a joint unit in the autumn.

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