Side-by-Side Innovation has launched!

Three, two, one and lift off! We’re proud to announce that Side-by-Side Innovation has launched.

Side-by-Side are a small, dedicated team that work at arms’ length to our core business, but completely in the interests of our customers and communities. Over the past two years our Research and Innovation team have been laying foundations and finding their rhythm, but now they are ready to ‘spin-out’ and try a different approach.

Side-by-Side gives them the agility and freedom to get closer to the customer base, to see opportunities through customers’ eyes and to work alongside communities in developing their own solutions and improving their well-being and prosperity.

Read more about the launch event from Side-by-Side:


On Tuesday 8 June, we welcomed a diverse innovation community of around 100 people from across housing, care, public sector, government, consumers goods and beyond to share the origin story of our innovation spin-out, Side-by-Side, and launch it to the world.

We’re a group of innovators powered by Hafod. We work with local communities to understand some of the challenges they’re facing, then co-create tangible responses in order to create positive change and a better future.

Our launch event covered why Side-by-Side Innovation was created, what we’ll do and how we’ll do it, all centered around the concept of meaningful innovation.

What did we talk about?

Our CEO, Jas Bains, kicked off the event, welcoming all the guests and giving his perspective on the pressing need for innovation to tackle wide reaching societal challenges. He touched on why Hafod is well-positioned to deliver against this and why Side-by-Side is the perfect vehicle for change.

Jas said: “When I joined Hafod it was my vision that innovation would be the cornerstone of our transformation and it’s amazing that we’ve reached this milestone. More than ever the world needs new ideas and new solutions; innovation is the most potent tool we have to lead us towards them.

“Side-by-Side is about meaningful innovation and is our way of creating the conditions to make headway on these big challenges that will benefit not only us and our customer base, but other customers and communities in the wider world.”

The event showcased the Side-by-Side approach and introduced our concept of meaningful innovation, which focusses on building on existing innovation models by adding a critical vector of meaning. For example, does the idea help people or communities and help to solve larger societal problems, or does it only address a specific pain point of one person?

Following this, we went on a journey of discovery through our opportunity areas and the process we follow to take new innovative ideas through in order to learn and ultimately help our customers and their wider communities.

Special guest, Hubbub

We were extremely fortunate to be joined by our friends Hubbub, an inspiring sustainable behaviour change charity who we are working in partnership with on the Community Calling initiative. This scheme aims to repurpose devices and data packages for customers in need. We’re also partnering with Hubbub on a recently initiated opportunity area around promoting and encouraging uptake of sustainable behaviours in our communities.

Platform for change

Thank you to everyone who joined us for our launch event and for your engagement and input during the session. Our aim is to use Side-by-Side as a platform for change and a vehicle to understand the needs and aspirations of our communities, and ultimately co-create solutions that help them thrive.

If you missed the launch, you can watch the recording or flick through the presentation. Be sure to follow us at @sbsinnovation on Twitter if you want to learn more.