Convening | Collaborating | Solving | Learning

Bigger Boat


Bigger Boat is new initiative: a platform from which we can realise collective impact.  It is based at The House of Saint Barnabas, the prestigious new charitable private members club, in Soho, London and being incubated by the Centre for Innovation in Voluntary Action.

Bigger Boat is a creating a space on the third floor of The House of St Barnabas to support best in class organisations to design, develop and launch real world solutions to the seemingly intractable problems of our time.


Bigger Boat is working at three levels:

First, we are providing a space, both physical and intellectual, for organisations interested in collaborating to build new solutions to the “wicked problems” of our time;

Second, we are providing services designed to build a greater awareness of the  dynamics that affect organisations’ work, and so supporting not-for-profits tackling complex social issues; and

Third, we are developing issue specific multi-stakeholder yearlong programmes that design, develop and launch real world solutions to these seemingly intractable problems of our time.  These programmes comprise:

- An initial stakeholder dialogue phase, building a comprehensive landscape of the sector and specific issues to be addressed;

– Practical small study groups focused on developing real-world solutions;

– Strategic design sessions and ‘hackathon’ events for development and rapid proto-typing of solutions;

– Reflective practice groups designed to both identify and bear systems complexity and build trusted relationships; and

– Incubation and launch services to get initiatives started.

Success may be a new start social enterprise, a new approach to service provision, a fantastic mar-comms campaign or a move to change national policy.  Participants will use the design thinking and incubation elements of Bigger Boat to build and launch the real world outcomes they identify. 


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; and

- A Bigger Boat for Participation, 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.

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

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