Radical Help is about new ways of organising living and growing that have been developed with communities across Britain.
The British welfare state transformed our lives. The model was emulated globally, setting the template for the ways we think about social change across the world. But this once brilliant innovation can no longer help us face the challenges of today.
Radical Help argues that our 20th century system is beyond reform and suggests a new model for this century: ways of supporting the young and the old, those who are unwell and those who seek good work At the heart of this new way of working is human connection. When people feel supported by strong human relationships change happens. And when we design new systems that make this sort of collaboration feel simple and easy people want to join in.
Radical Help shows how we can make change and how we can make a transition now towards a new system that can take care of everyone.
An Introduction to Radical Help: presentations and articles
For a brief introduction to some of the ideas in Radical Help you can watch Hilary speaking about the book at its London launch at the RSA here.
Reviews and Comment on Radical Help
Jonathan Freedland called Radical Help ‘the most important book you [will] read this year. In 2019 he wrote in the Guardian that Radical Help was ‘the idea that could transform Britain’.
In the New York Times, David Brooks called Radical Help ‘mind-shifting‘ writing that Cottam is showing the way to a welfare system of the future.
Nicholas Timmins, the biographer of the welfare state, wrote ‘Humane and beautifully written… there are powerful ideas here. This book should be required reading for every politician, professional and manager who seeks to make the UK a better place.’ Prospect
Melissa Benn wrote ‘Cottam’s ideas could transform the way we all live. She is onto something exciting in her insistence on the potential of both relationships and new technology to sustain long-term human prospering’. New Statesman
Anne-Marie Slaughter hailed Radical Help as ‘the most important book I have read in the last decade. A must-read for everyone who believes that we can make a measurable and lasting difference in the lives of our fellow human beings, even those who may seem hardest to help. The former Director of Policy and Planning for the US State Department and CEO of New America wrote further on the importance of the participatory methods used in Radical Help in The Stanford Social Innovation Review.
Nicolas Colin wrote ‘In the great tradition of British social innovation – from Robert Owen to William Morris – Cottam’s optimistic vision shows how we could reinvent the welfare state. Not a utopia but a promise’. Le Monde
Kate Raworth, author of Doughnut Economics wrote ‘One of my very top reads. If you care about the future of the welfare state and the role of human relationships, I deeply recommend it. Set in the UK, relevant everywhere’.
Frederic Laloux, author of Reinventing Organisations wrote ‘One of the rare books capable of making an impact on society. It’s the most exciting thing I’ve read in years.’
Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator at MOMA wrote, ‘One of the principles behind great design is to be radical. In this indispensable volume Cottam explains the approach she has pioneered – Social Design’.