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Research and Planning

This section provides a short guide to research around significant socially 

disadvantagegroups, and points to some useful ‘off-the-shelf’ material that might support an innovation process or stimulate ideas on what might be developed for implementation. While it isn’t essential to conduct research before developing ideas for new services and procedures, there are low-resource approaches such as small surveys, focus groups or video interviews that can be completed quickly and easily


This research could be conducted by a project team or by an external organisation. At a minimum a degree of consultation with the target group of people or potential beneficiaries of the service targeted for review and change will help to sharpen the focus and the results can help to create better outcomes.

Alternatively there are existing pieces of research that can be used – a few key reports and sources are provided as shown.


Example Primary Research


There are many potential approaches to conducting primary research in the planning phase of a social inclusion innovation process, here are some examples varying in the amount of resource required:


  • Simple survey and focus groups with the target group. In preparation for an innovation event around the challenges faced by children in care in North Lincolnshire, a small survey was undertaken into the attitudes, uses and aspirations around technology among this group. The results of this children in care survey are available within this toolkit for future reference, and as an example of a small piece of commissioned research.
  • Video Interviews with key stakeholders in the problem being solved. For a workshop on priority prolific offenders in Leicester, each of the key stakeholders involved in reducing reoffending, or dealing with the causes of reoffending where interviewed on camera, and two short videos compiled. The first offenders video (click here to download) provided a short sharp and consistent narrative on the issues and challenges faced by offenders and the lead professionals working with them. The second offenders video (click here to download) specifically dealt with the potential role of technology in supporting offenders. These were subsequently played at the innovation event. This is a relatively low cost approach to helping to research, refine and communicate the issues to attendees of the innovation event. In some cases the potential beneficiaries can get involved in the development of the video as well.
  • Survey of carers, frontline workers and professionals. Conducting a quantitative survey of those people who care for or support the target audience that is the subject of the innovation event can also be an effective approach. In follow-up to an innovation event in N Lincolnshire for Children in Care a survey of foster carers was undertaken to help to inform implementation of outputs from the innovation process.
  • Ethnographic/ Behavioural research. This is an excellent and detailed approach for understanding the behaviour of different groups. It provides rich insight into issues and problems that can support innovation processes and service design. Researchers spend considerable time observing behaviour to gain their insights. For an innovation process with  'just coping families’ in Kent, ethnographic research was conducted to gain insight into how the families used and interacted with technologies in their daily lives. A report was produced and some additional slide show stimulus material developed to engage attendees of the innovation event.


Existing Desk Research and Sources of Data


Key pieces of research, with a specific technology angle, on specific disadvantaged groups:



Key sources of digital exclusion statistics:



Resource links:



First Offenders Video:



Second Offenders Video: