Launch of LOTI’s Covid Innovation Fund

Idea in a nutshell

LOTI is pleased to announce the launch of its Covid Innovation Fund, which will make up to £150k available to help boroughs work together to design and put in place measures that address Covid-related challenges.

Our aim is to fund two projects. Half the funds will go towards an idea that involves making smarter use of data; the other for a digitally-enabled initiative. Project ideas will be proposed by LOTI boroughs, with the successful two going forward for delivery in early 2021.


Boroughs are at the forefront of helping their residents manage the rapidly changing impacts on their lives caused by Covid. Digital, data and innovation – the LOTI community’s core areas of strength – have played a massive role in the crisis period and will be key to a successful recovery. For all its disruption, recovery presents an unprecedented opportunity to rethink the way services are delivered. New and more experimental approaches will need to be developed to meet emerging needs. Our aim to help boroughs reduce the risk, time and cost of trialing new approaches by working together and sharing experiments. 

What’s on offer?

  • Funding: Up to £75k for each of two project ideas that are relevant to LOTI’s Year 2 strategic priority of helping Londoners whose needs have grown as a result of the pandemic. One project should involve making smarter use of data; the other, making better use of digitally-enabled approaches. 
  • Expert Support: Depending on each project’s specific needs, LOTI can help boroughs access and allocate their funding towards sourcing expert external support, for example in project management, consultancy, data analysis, research, design or technology development. 
  • Hands-on support from the LOTI team: Genta Hajri will be the lead contact for the digital project and Jay Saggar for the data project. 
  • Personal Professional Development: Projects funded by this initiative will act as professional development opportunities for borough staff involved. Participants will be peer-matched with colleagues in other boroughs and have the opportunity to draw on and learn from experts to deliver the project’s goals. They will be publicly acknowledged on all documentation produced and will be given the opportunity to showcase their work via LOTI’s public platforms, including our website and Weekly Show and Tells.
  • Dissemination and design support: LOTI will draw on the experience of design and communications experts to produce first-class resources that can be reused by all LOTI members.

Project criteria and selection

Projects supported by this fund should:

  1. Be aligned with LOTI’s Year 2 strategic objective of helping Londoners whose needs have grown as a result of the pandemic. 
  2. Use LOTI’s outcomes-based methodology and work in the open.
  3. Be supported and delivered by at least two LOTI boroughs.
  4. Be replicable by other London boroughs (i.e. designed with wider adoption in mind, based on common standards/principles where relevant).
  5. Gift their outputs to LOTI for dissemination and maintenance. 
  6. Build on an ongoing or completed scoping, research or discovery phase.
  7. Be deliverable by the end of May 2021.
  8. [For data-enabled project ideas only] Use the tools and methods developed by the LOTI community and endorsed by the London Recovery Board. Most notably this would involve sharing data via the London Datastore.

Project ideas should be submitted via LOTI’s online form by midnight on 1 February 2021. Submissions will be reviewed and discussed with all LOTI members, with the final decision made by the LOTI central team. Any ideas that are not awarded funding in this round will be added to LOTI’s backlog to be reconsidered at the earliest opportunity.

Why do this?

As part of our commitment to delivering value for the LOTI community, we want to focus our financial resources and relationships on the most important areas of borough activity. No area is more vital right now than helping with Covid Recovery. Our aim is to create new and useful interventions that can benefit all boroughs. In addition, these projects will help us rehearse and develop the LOTI community’s ways of working together.


  • On 11, 13 and 18 January, 1-2pm, Genta Hajri and Jay Saggar will hold drop-in sessions for anyone wishing to discuss their idea.
  • By 15 January – we invite boroughs to submit a one-line summary of their project idea to a spreadsheet that has been shared via Basecamp. This will help identify similar ideas that might benefit from being combined, and allow boroughs to indicate their interest in joining a project.
  • On 20th January initial ideas will be shared and discussed at LOTI’s All-Member meeting, giving a chance for other boroughs to offer feedback.
  • By midnight 1 February boroughs should complete the online form, outlining their full project idea and budget needs.
  • On 5 February all project submissions will be shared with LOTI’s main borough representatives. Borough will be asked to indicate which project ideas they most favour.
  • On 10 February a shortlist of the most favoured project submissions will be presented and discussed at LOTI’s all-member workshop.
  • On 12 February a final decision on which projects will be funded in this first round will be made by the LOTI central team.

If any boroughs have questions about the fund, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the LOTI team.

Eddie Copeland
16 December 2020 ·
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