Public Service Pioneers 2021

Reaching and Sustaining New Horizons

Public Services Pioneers was a virtual experiment into community building in 2021 which aimed to bring together some of the most interesting voices in UK public services. The content created and curated for the event wanted to unite and inspire people across public work – whether designing, delivering or researching public services – to do things differently.

PSP 2021

Public Service Pioneers (PSP) was both an experiment into creating a learning community with over 70 people working in public services and also an experiment into how to delIver a virtual event differently.

This page holds all the content related to Public Service Pioneers.
  • All of our talks in video and audio format
  • The Miro which held event content and resources
  • Our Afterword podcast series with five 20 minute episodes of the most compelling talks from Public Service Pioneers
  • Snapshots of our learnings from hosting the event and hearing from pioneers.

A Taster : The Afterword Podcast

Available on Spotify : Five 20 minute episodes, providing a snapshot of the PSP talks.  The PSP Afterword Podcast features some of the most compelling talks captured for our 2021 Public Service Pioneers event.

Watch : The Public Service Pioneers 2021 Videos

Available on Youtube : 25 talks given during Public Service Pioneers available as videos. Content we’d encourage you to watch instead of listen:

Listen : Public Service Pioneers 2021 Talks as Audio

Available on Spotify : Want to listen on a walk rather than watch? You can access the PSP talks on Spotify (in additon to the Spotify Afterword Podcast).

Public Service Pioneers Miro-verse

Enter the Miro-verse we created to bring 70+ people together to engage in Public Service Pioneers. Follow the clickable pathways to start your learning journey. There are four spheres of content:

Talks focused on building the vision and scaffolding to sustain change.

Spotlighting those adapting, transforming, and reimagining what’s possible in public services.

Immersive sessions with UK-based social movements.

Our Story:
Background on who is behind PSP and how it came to life.

What we learnt

The Public Service Pioneers co-creative journey to an event designed for in-person delivery in March 2020 to virtual delivery in March 2021 taught us an incredible amount. We’ve broken down some of our learnings into the three areas below. If you’d like to read the short article on our learning journey, click here.

1. What we learnt from bringing pioneers together

We got 85 self-proclaimed pioneers to register for our event and asked each of them what they were feeling, expecting, observing, and desiring. The table below is a summary of the most notable themes. (Keep scrolling to download file)

2. What we learnt from delivering differently.

The graphic below summaries what we learnt about our approach to blended delivery and community building. We hope our successes and shortcomings can inspire others we know our Randomised Cuppa Trials already have (we didn’t invent these).

3. Technical learnings

For those who are more curious about the nuts-and-bolts technical learnings e.g. about the platforms we used, how we communicated, what we’d do differently, and more – we’ve compiled a quick slideshow for you.


Public Service Pioneers was people-powered and co-creative. Many people and organisations generously gave their time and support over its life course.

A huge thank you to all the speakers and potential speakers across both co-creative phases. We need to give a more specific thank you to our original event partners who dedicated countless hours designing our initial Public Service Pioneers concept:

We also received stellar support from speakers who went above and beyond to make Public Service Pioneers special. Thank you to:

Fizz Events – for helping to connect us with creatives, curate content, edit videos, and for the enthusiasm that you all and the Relational Activists brought to the project. Your energy and dedication kept the wheels turning.

Graham Leicester – for all the insight and wisdom you volunteered to help shape what our virtual delivery became. Thank you for volunteering your time, the postcards, gentle challenges that made us more intentional, for hosting a workshop, and for all the effort behind the scenes.


Hopefully this isn’t the end of the Public Service Pioneers community building effort. Although Y Lab’s ambitions and circumstances have changed since March 2021, we’d encourage, welcome, and actively support others to pick up where we left off. We intentionally created Public Service Pioneers to have its own brand so that it could be shared and passed on by any organisation or a consortium of organisations. We look forward to seeing what does and can come next.