Introducing the new Innovation Lab at Citizens Advice
The new Citizens Advice Innovation lab was created to serve as a dedicated space outside of the daily demand for Citizens Advice services to focus on future trends, emerging problems and solutions for the future.
Since its creation the innovation lab has worked on seven experiments, all of which are relevant and potentially useful to the broader access to justice sector.
One example is that of automation, which is the process of making a system or process operate automatically. In the advice sector setting this could mean automating complex advice delivery while also meeting ‘key client needs, such as care, reassurance and trust-building’. Innovation here doesn’t just mean new technologies, Citizens Advice have used their innovation lab to explore ways to support infrastructure, such as ways to improve the waiting room experience at Citizens Advice centres, or how to best make use of volunteer flexibility.
The lab tests ideas and concepts suggested by the Citizens Advice network, working in rapid 2-4 week experiments through research and prototypes. The lab is also able to incubate solutions which are tested to ‘gather data on what could work for our clients and volunteers, and what won’t’.
Operating at such a fast pace allows the lab to learn and understand a lot about different ideas and quickly discard ones that aren’t scalable and focus on solutions which have the potential to be most valuable.