James Whitehead @james_whitehead

The standout line for me in this provocative blog post by Oxfam’s Global Innovation Advisor is “if I ask my colleagues to identify work that is innovative I will often be met with a blank look. If I ask where our work is exciting and has potential to make a massive difference for people, that’s when the lights come on and the conversation gets interesting.”

Although James’ work is in international development, so much of it resonates with health and care. He bemoans the lack of ingenuity in trying to tackle domestic violence by putting a poster in a health centre. He highlights that most innovation starts by recognising, nurturing and retaining talent; and then encourage teams to take risks and defend them when things get difficult or don’t deliver.

James’ main point, based on a recent research paper he has written, is that people doing real innovation often don’t see themselves as such and the word itself isn’t particularly useful.