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Case study: Driving innovation and knowledge management at the NSPCC

NSPCC has an extraordinary achievement behind it – the transformational Full Stop campaign. But they are committed to stepping up to the next level of performance with a new fundraising target and strategy to ensure they deliver on their commitment to children.

This case study explains how =mc helped develop an integrated innovation programme- including creating 50 innovation champions across the organization.

National Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) is the UK’s leading charity committed to protecting children.

In 2002 it launched one of the most ambitious campaigns in UK charity history – Full Stop. The campaign had two simple goals.

  • to end cruelty to children – Full Stop
  • to treble the charity income – to £250M – to resource that ambition

The campaign set about rewriting the way in which UK charities organise themselves and their work. And =mc is proud to have been involved in helping develop some of the ideas and approaches used in the campaign.


In April 2007 the NSPCC achieved the measurable part of Full Stop – raising the £250M target. But it still had to continue its work to end child cruelty – and it needed to find some new ways to energise the 400-strong fundraising team and supporters to even greater efforts.

Senior =mc consultants were involved in the development of the new strategy. As part of those developments NSPCC decided to become the first UK charity to commit to innovation and knowledge management as a core competence.

=mc was asked to advise on how to embed this competence and ensure that innovation became a fundamental part of the way NSPCC worked.

=mc’s brief

=mc was asked to do three things:

  • advise on how to set up an innovation department – how it should be staffed, what kind of people should be recruited, what kind of work should be carried out to stimulate other staff, and recommend how the programme should be evaluated
  • provide a rolling programme of coaching and support for the innovation staff – including arranging for them to visit the USA to connect to best/different practice and to make contact with other innovative organisations in the commercial and charity world
  • share some of =mc’s research into innovation models that had worked worldwide with different charities, INGOs and companies and help NSPCC apply it. This question of finding the best approach was central to the success of the initiative

(=mc’s 10 innovation strategies model is now widely regarded as the definitive model for this work. For a download see innovation strategies on knowledge base.)

“NSPCC sees itself as innovative – but that means we have to constantly re-invent our cause and our work to make sure we meet the needs and interests of children. =mc has been a great companion and challenger in ensuring we stay on the innovation edge.”

Tim Hunter, former Deputy Director of Fundraising, NSPCC

What we did

In consultation with NSPCC managers we helped design a programme of work to roll out the innovation strategy. The programme is being rolled out across fundraising functions in the NSPCC through the Innovation Manager, Lucy Gower.

Among the initiatives being rolled out or discussed:

  • training for all fundraising staff in innovation and creativity skills
  • helping develop a knowledge management/innovation intranet
  • suggesting different models for innovation development internally
  • a programme of exchanges and best practice visits to explore approaches
  • developing a system to assess the impact of innovation

Finally, significant time was spent developing an integration strategy to ensure that outstanding practice developed in any one part of the NSPCC was captured and shared across the organisation.


The results will most likely be long-term, as NSPCC shifts into a different way of operating based around constant innovation.

NSPCC has an extraordinary achievement behind it – the transformational Full Stop campaign. But they are committed to stepping up to the next level of performance with a new fundraising target and strategy to ensure they deliver on their commitment to children.

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Bernard Ross

About Bernard Ross

Bernard is an internationally regarded expert in strategic thinking, organisational change and personal effectiveness. He works in Europe, USA, Africa and South America. His assignments have involved a wide range...

Yvette Gyles

About Yvette Gyles

Yvette specialises in personal effectiveness, change and innovation, and leadership development. Before joining =mc, she worked in HR for several years in both the private and charity sector as...


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