Facilitating Transformative Collaboration

Bigger Boat


Big, intractable problems need inventive, multi-faceted solutions. Bigger Boat is a new organisation that brings together change agents across sectors and supports them to better understand – and act collectively to address – the big, intractable problems of our time.

Our approach is based on two observations. First: the solutions to the complex problems of our time are already embedded in the system – they just need to be released. Second: we won’t get to those solutions without a foundation of common understanding and trust.



Bigger Boat combines an understanding of design thinking, psychology and systems and organisational dynamics, with practical, community-led support to incubate and launch real-world solutions to the seemingly intractable problems being addressed.  These might include a new social enterprise, an innovative approach to service provision, a fantastic mar-comms campaign or a move to change national policy.

Over a 12- to 18-month period, Bigger Boat supports participants to:

  • Research a specific problem and identify highly promising opportunities for impact
  • Use design processes to identify and plan a set of ambitious, achievable initiatives that both stand on their own and work in concert to address the problem
  • Build a community of organisations and entrepreneurs to incubate and launch these initiatives.

We listen deeply, and turn the wisdom of those who are closest to a problem into new and never-considered ways to take collective action.

Bigger Boat is currently tackling problems such as how to promote patient-led approaches to managing care, how to increase public participation in democratic processes, how to transform residential childcare in the developing world and how to transform ageing and dementia care in the UK.


Bigger Boat works thematically and geographically.  Currently we are working on:

A Bigger Boat for Ageing, where we are working to map and then convene key innovators in the field of older person and dementia care in the UK;

- A Bigger Boat for Jamaica, where we are working with the Small Business Association of Jamaica to understand the role that small business has to play in addressing climate adaptation and wellbeing across the island;

A Bigger Boat for Open Government, where we are working to develop a comprehensive map of the field of Open Government in the UK and then convene key players with a view to fostering collaboration; and

- An international and inter-agency project on ethical volunteering for two large international NGOs.

Other themes currently under development include: marine supply chains in Europe; mobile for development; and social inclusion in London.

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