Geoff Mulgan

Geoff Mulgan has been Chief Executive of Nesta since 2011. Nesta is the UK’s innovation foundation and runs a wide range of activities in investment, practical innovation and research.

Under his leadership it moved out of the public sector to become an independent foundation; greatly expanded its work, partly through creating new units, centres and funds in fields ranging from evidence and impact investment to challenge prizes and skills; and complemented its work in the UK with work in dozens of countries around the world.

Between 1997 and 2004 Geoff had various roles in the UK government including director of the Government’s Strategy Unit and head of policy in the Prime Minister’s office. From 2004 to 2011 Geoff was the first Chief Executive of The Young Foundation. He was the first director of the think-tank Demos; Chief Adviser to Gordon Brown MP and reporter on BBC TV and radio. He has been a visiting professor at LSE, UCL and Melbourne University and is currently a senior visiting scholar at Harvard University. He has helped set up many organisations including Demos and the Young Foundation as well as the Social Innovation Exchange (SIX), Uprising, Studio Schools Trust and Action for Happiness.

Geoff co-chaIrs a World Economic Forum group looking at innovation and entrepreneurship in the fourth industrial revolution. He has advised many governments around the world and is currently chair of an international advisory committee for the Mayor of Seoul and a member of advisory committees for the Prime Minister’s office in the UAE, the Scottish Government and SITRA, the Finnish Innovation agency.

Past books include ‘The Art of Public Strategy’ (Oxford University Press), Good and Bad Power (Penguin) and ‘The Locust and the Bee’ (Princeton University Press). His most recent book is ‘Big Mind: how collective intelligence can change our world’ published by Princeton University Press. His books have been translated into many languages. Geoff has also given TED talks on topics including the future economy, happiness and education.

Geoff’s Twitter handle is @geoffmulgan.

  • How to learn the right lessons from Carillion

    24 January, 2018
    When government implements far-reaching policies whilst ignoring the evidence there can be catastrophic consequences, writes Geoff Mulgan (Nesta). Private finance initiatives (PFIs) and public-private partnerships (PPPs) are in the spotlight again thanks to the collapse of...
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  • What’s wrong with theories of change?

    6 September, 2016
    Geoff Mulgan (Nesta) questions the popularity of the term ‘theory of change’ and suggests that it can encourage too simplistic an understanding of why change occurs. The phrase ‘theory of change’ is bandied around throughout the world...
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  • Evidence-based business?

    19 April, 2013
      We’ve been advocating for some time that governments should take evidence more seriously. Where possible, data should be opened up to public scrutiny, and policies should be tested to see whether they actually work. The...
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