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New site tests crowd funding for digital services



CC2i provides potential for new route to raise cash to support development of reusable solutions

A crowd funding platform aimed specifically at supporting the development of digital public services has gone live this week.

Named CC2i (Co-fund to Collaborate and Innovate), its founders have described it as similar to funding websites such as Kickstarter and Indigogo, with an emphasis on helping public sector organisations get solutions off the ground.

It is open to teams from any service or department in the public sector, along with SMEs that want to work with public authorities and struggle with complicated procurement procedures.

When organisations pledge money in response to a pitch they can become directly involved in its development and implementation. Each idea has to come with a clear business case, contracts and service level agreement.

The founders have claimed that they have already received pitches to raise funds projects in healthcare, welfare and benefits, self-care and customer service.

There are some familiar faces from the Looking Local programme, which is owned by Kirklees Council and for several years has been providing various platforms for re-use by public services. Guy Giles is the founder and managing director of CC2i and Jane Hancer is director of innovation.

But the new organisation is independent of Kirklees and its business model is as yet unclear: a spokesperson told UKAuthority it is not yet decided whether it will operate long term as a not-for-profit.

Best and worst

In a statement accompanying the launch, Giles said: “I have seen some of the best and some of the worst examples of ‘how to do it’ when it comes to all things digital. Austerity has come along and offers up both a challenge and an opportunity to the sector.

“We’re all used to hearing the words: ‘It's about transforming the way we do things,’ and ‘We need to share and collaborate more.’ But profound change, delivered via professional, reliable and effective digital technology does not come easily or cheap.

“So this is our call to arms. CC2i provides a platform for co-funding great ideas, collaborating on their development and enabling digital innovation to actually happen.”

The launch is an interesting move in testing the potential of crowd funding to support services that could be reused in the public sector. As organisations are starved of cash it could provide an alternative source of development funds, if the funders can be convinced that there is a strong prospect of return on investment.

Image: Howard Lake, CC BY-SA 2.0 through flickr

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