A mandate for innovation


Anthony Nolan

Anthony Nolan is a charity that provides support, advice and information to people with blood cancer and their families. They match volunteers willing to donate their blood stem cells or bone marrow to people who desperately need lifesaving transplants. They educate young people about the lifesaving difference they can make by joining the stem cell register and they conduct research to improve the success rates of transplants and improve the lives of all people with blood cancer. 

To do all this for everyone that needs them, they need to recruit more people to join the register and raise more money to continue to run their services.

Continuing to do what they’ve always done will simply not deliver the increase in donor register numbers or fundraising income that is needed to achieve their ambitious strategy.

The team at Anthony Nolan needed to be bold, think differently and test ideas to raise more money and awareness – and do it fast,

With a new innovation manager in post they had a mandate for innovation.

‘I’d worked with Lucy on developing a culture that enables innovation to happen before and I knew she’d bring the right mix of challenge and support to inspire people to get involved and think differently.’ Bhavesh Dave, Innovation Manager, Anthony Nolan

Based on insight generated from interviews with senior managers and staff we designed and delivered four workshops for Anthony Nolan. We took a group of employees from across different teams through a process to give them the knowledge, expertise and principles to develop  a bespoke framework to enable innovation to happen more quickly and strategically. The problem at Anthony Nolan wasn’t the lack of good ideas, it was more the lack of capacity and rigour to pick the ideas with most potential and then the confidence to test them quickly in a strategic way. The framework and process is designed to help anyone at Anthony Nolan take a problem, opportunity or hunch and quickly test the most promising solutions. We also worked on individual and team behaviours for innovation to create an environment of psychological safety where innovation and creativity can thrive.

‘Lucy focuses her attention on supporting others to have the skills and confidence to innovate. Once the workshops were finished we were equipped with what we needed to continue to drive a shift in culture as well as specific innovation projects. Lucy’s at the end of the phone if we need her and is holding us/me accountable to keep pushing forward especially when we come up against barriers. Bhavesh Dave, Innovation Manager, Anthony Nolan

Since the final workshop there has been a continued level of enthusiasm from colleagues. All eager to put their new skills into practice, there are already two teams that are pushing ahead.  One is redesigning an existing product based on insight and an audience centred approach and another team is looking to develop a brand new offering to supporters. They are pushing forward so these can go live as soon as possible so the organisation can reap the benefits.

‘The workshop was inspiring and engaging and I learned that I really am creative! It built my confidence, provided me with new skills to test ideas and speak up and ask ‘why?’ more.’ 

Christina Taylor, HR Business Partner, Anthony Nolan

Subscribe to the weekly email for tips on creativity and innovation

Get the Lucidity weekly email