Innovation in Politics Awards

Earlier this month, Kindred team members Nicola and Jen accompanied Dr Jo Leek from Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, to Warsaw, Poland, to represent Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram at the Innovation in Politics Awards 2023.

Organised by the Innovation In Politics Institute, based in Vienna, Austria, these annual awards celebrate political bodies that are solving policy challenges with innovative and bold solutions.

Kindred was shortlisted from 337 projects from 26 countries, and was selected by a panel of 1045 jurors, representing the member states of the Council of Europe. We were one of just three innovations selected from the UK.

Placed in the Local Development (Local Economy) category, Kindred was described as “a progressive investment fund supporting socially-trading organisations to create wealth and collective social impact in places not reached by the wider economy.”

The Kindred team at the Innovation in Politics Awards in Poland.

At the day-long event, hosted by the Mayor of Warsaw in iconic landmark, The Palace of Arts and Science, we discussed Kindred’s development, practice and impact with colleagues in our category. We also learned from them about their projects from Lithuania, Belgium and Spain – which demonstrated innovation in transport policy, welcoming new overseas talent and supporting a local circular economy. 

In the afternoon we heard from a panel of mayors. Each shared, with emotion and passion, their role in leading innovative responses to the challenges that faced their communities, both existing and newly-welcomed, over recent last years, including the Covid19 pandemic and war in Ukraine.

After a quick rest and a glow-up we returned back to the Palace of Arts and Sciences for the award event. The keynote speech was delivered by Birgitta Ohlsson, Director of the National Democratic Institute, and former Swedish Minister for European Affairs. It was Eurovision Song Contest week and, despite her illustrious career, she gleefully interspersed her speech on the future of democracy in Europe with many Eurovision references.

Keynote speaker Birgitta Ohlsson, Director of the National Democratic Institute and former Swedish Minister for European Affairs.

The winner of our category was MAGMA, from Austria, the world’s first job guarantee project for long-term unemployed citizens. It offers a universal and unconditional guarantee of a well-paid job to all people unemployed for over 12 months, through alternative forms of employment within the public or private sector, or – which interested us the most – supported them to create a new job for themselves based on their existing knowledge and skills. It also offers wrap-around support, based on the needs of the citizen, ranging from counselling, social workers, doctors and psychologists.

If you want to know more about the Innovation in Politics awards and see the range of nominated projects – have a look at the event website.

Nicola Higham, operational lead; photos by Sebastian Philipp