Reductions in Government spending, rising unemployment and social inequality make the design and delivery of effective new services that benefit the public a priority.
In developing those services, it is worth tattooing to wrists the cautionary advice of Richard Rumelt, professor of strategy at the UCLA Anderson School of Management and published in his recent book Good Strategy/Bad Strategy: the broadcast of intent does not make it happen.
And for guidance on roles and responsibilities, mine a Golden Nugget in the observation by US broadcaster David McKillop - repeated in a speech by TV executive Jane Root last year and relevant to other industries, not just the media - that networks find the winds like sailors, while producers build the ships.
Here are several projects that we have helped build over the last few months - and were characterised provocatively by designer Jakub Szczesny of Centrala at the Europe Culture Congress, Wrockław, as survival technologies.
We see each of these ventures as a Tiny Epic, a small local social 'widget' that enables people to associate with one another, share and exchange experiences, skills and commitments and so create new value.
The People's Supermarket
Since opening in May 2010, the business has created twenty new jobs, stimulated over 10,000 volunteer hours and and its innovation is now starting to mainstream, with a link to the NISA-Today product supply network.
In just a few weeks time, the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts will publish a How to start your own Supermarket manual that we've written - with all of the pleasure, pain and secret ingredients that we have learned and used to deliver the new social venture.
Shiregreen Neighbourhood Challenge
This programme that we designed with Sanctuary Housing to develop community initiative and involvement on a large housing estate in the Shiregreen district of Sheffield, Yorkshire is now being delivered.
A massive number of events have taken place in the area since Spring 2011, events designed to support neighbourliness and encourage people to declare what they are good at, like, and might want to do for or share with others.
A new neighbourhood website - Shiregreen.net - is now up and running, edited by local people and designed to promote the talent of residents.
We are developing an estate catering service and food production hub with talented Mum & Dad cooks, staff working in school kitchens, food growers, micro-entrepreneurs and restauranteurs in Sheffield.
And we're working with local residents on Make Do & Mend, a possible new social enterprise in which people who live in the area and have practical skills can fix stuff for others.
The SKY 1 HD Great Tree House Challenge
Next month, Sky Television in the UK will broadcast The Great Tree House Challenge, a series of three programmes featuring their involvement in an initiative in which three local communities have created an ultimate Tree House for the enjoyment and benefit of local people.
We supported the development of the initiative which forms part of the broadcaster's Sky Rainforest Rescue campaign and for us has been a great opportunity to help develop informal and unusual social spaces in neighborhoods.
Portobello Giving Project
In parts of London like Notting Hill Gate and Portobello Road, neighbourhood shops and services that have helped define the personality of the area for many years are slowly being replaced by global brand boutiques and luxury residential development.
The market can't be 'bucked' but we feel passionately that by leveraging local creative and financial assets, areas like Portobello Road can and will retain their differentiated personality and so competitive advantage.
With this in mind, we have been starting to work with local residents, business, public and private sector organisations in the area, such as the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea, on the development of the Portobello Giving Project, a possible new 'citizen finance' service in which wealthy, talented people who live in the area act as business angels and advisors to existing or new entrepreneurs in the area.
To call these ventures survival technologies is both compliment and insult.
However, these sorts of small-scale ventures are effective ways to promulgate confidence and value - and strangely, in certain lights, their practicality and localism reveals them to be, rather than comic book saviours, some kind of re-versioning or new age of Asian-syle community capitalism.