Thornton to chair innovations body

Labour peer and outgoing chair of the Social Enterprise Coalition Baroness Glenys Thornton has been chosen to chair the partnership board of the Government's new Innovation Exchange.

The body is charged with bringing innovators from the public and voluntary sectors together with social investors to solve social problems.

The three-year, £1.2m pilot programme will promote collaboration and provide tailored support for organisations with the most promising ideas. It will be run by the Innovation Unit – a government-funded body set up in 2002 to promote innovation – in partnership with Acevo and social software company Headshift.

Thornton, who is also chair of the National Programme for Third Sector Commissioning’s Advisory Group, a board member of IDeA, which works to improve local government, and a trustee at both Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Foundation and adult learning charity Training for Life, said the Innovation Exchange was a much-needed programme.

“Everyone in the third sector can point to exciting solutions that organisations and individuals have found, and we are also often puzzled and frustrated by the difficulty of growing and replicating them,” she said.

“Personally I am committed to bringing together innovators, public service commissioners and managers, and policy makers to ensure that new solutions to old problems are found and are then propagated and multiplied.”

The Innovation Exchange is expected to be officially launched next month.

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