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Innovation and improvement

Innovation and improvement

GCS wants to be a leader in the innovative use of technologies and data, to drive better effectiveness and impact for the public good. We want to embrace new ideas and ways of working to meet the challenges of today and those in the future. However, the emergence of new technologies, such as generative AI, has brought fresh challenges and raises important ethical questions. 

To support this, in 2024 we will publish a new Innovating with Impact Strategy that sets out  how teams can innovate with impact, using data and technology to transform communications in a way that aligns with our ethical standards. This Strategy will be an important step in embedding a culture of innovation across GCS by equipping teams with the skills, tools, and frameworks needed to seize the opportunities offered by new technology. 

The Strategy will outline a systematic approach to innovation, underpinned by our ethical principles:

  1. Encourage and identify new ideas that can drive value
  2. Rapidly test these through robust piloting
  3. Scale the learnings right across GCS

The biggest private sector advertisers spend around 10% of their advertising budget on innovation. As part of the reforms to our spending controls, we now encourage departments to spend up to 10% of their existing campaign budget on innovative techniques which we can test. More than 30 innovation projects are being piloted as part of this year’s campaigns. A single change to our spending controls is supporting departments and our private sector partners to think differently about how we run campaigns.

The GCS Innovation Hub identifies the best ideas from the external market, bringing together agency partners and technology companies to develop a pipeline of the most promising new technology. It invites UK tech start-ups to pitch their idea for how to improve government communications. Pilots include working with Audiomob, which enables us to better reach key audiences through non-intrusive in-game audio ads.

Our new Framework for Ethical Innovation, which will be published in 2024, will support communicators across government in their use of emerging technologies and data. The framework clearly sets out safeguards we will adopt to assess new innovative ideas, and aims to provide government communicators with the confidence that their approach is in line with our ethical principles and standards. 

The central GCS team is developing and delivering innovative new tools and platforms for the benefit of all government communicators. This includes the development and roll out of the GCS AI co-pilot, a conversational AI tool for GCS members, tailored to government communication. This brings together a high-performing Large Language Model (LLM) and overlays GCS data, frameworks and standards.

Introducing the GCS AI co-pilot  
Developing our own GCS specific AI tool means we can introduce additional privacy and data safeguards, ensuring that we remain in full control of the data we input. Ask it for evaluation measures and it will use the GCS Evaluation Cycle. Ask it for a communication plan and it will use the OASIS method (Objectives, Audience, Strategy, Implementation, Scoring). 

Evaluation of government communication is essential for improving policy outcomes, adapting innovative strategies, promoting learning, demonstrating value, and building public trust. The updated GCS Evaluation Cycle is designed to provide best-practice guidance for colleagues to most effectively and efficiently evaluate communications  across government, whether it is for major paid-for campaigns or low/no-cost communication activities. The Cycle encompasses industry-leading practices that will continue to drive improvements across the profession, enabling communicators to demonstrate the value and impact of campaigns and communication activities.