NCFAs innovation and funding ecosystem

Bringing Good Ideas to Life: 13 Modern Ways to Innovate

Nesta UK | Kirsten Bound and Geoff Mulgan | March 19, 2019

A compendium of innovation methods - Bringing Good Ideas to Life:  13 Modern Ways to Innovate

An introduction to 13 featured innovation methods

  1. Accelerator programmes
  2. Anticipatory regulation
  3. Challenge prizes
  4. Crowdfunding
  5. Experimentation
  6. Futures
  7. Impact investment
  8. Innovation mapping
  9. People Powered Results: the 100 day challenge
  10. Prototyping
  11. Public and social innovation labs
  12. Scaling grants for social innovations
  13. Standards of Evidence

The next generation of innovators will have a vast new range of opportunities compared to the last. Much of 20th century innovation, from transistors and integrated circuits to polycarbonate and neoprene, was driven by big laboratories in governments and big firms like Bell Labs, DuPont, or Bayer. Innovation was seen as the preserve of science and technology.


The digital revolution transformed how innovation happens. It became more open and collaborative, spurring a plethora of new business models and services across industries – today epitomised by the ‘platform’ innovation at the heart of companies like Facebook and Apple.

Now, the advent of the big data era and the mainstream exploitation of artificial intelligence is recasting innovation processes again, with blockchain and driverless car testbeds just a hint of what’s to come.

Yet while innovation has changed dramatically, government policies and support for it have sometimes seemed stuck in a 20th century model of innovation.

For the last decade or more, Nesta has been searching for ways to support innovations that exploit these new trends, aiming to spread the capacity for innovation and apply it to the problems and communities most in need.

Featured in this compendium are just some of the innovation methods we have analysed, developed, tested and spread over the last decade. Some, like seed accelerator programmes, we have invested in and studied. Others, like challenge prizes, standards of evidence or public sector labs, we have developed and helped to spread around the world.

Innovation is a spiral methods - Bringing Good Ideas to Life:  13 Modern Ways to Innovate

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Bringing Good Ideas to Life:  13 Modern Ways to Innovate The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit:

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