Chief Executive Officer

Geoff Mulgan


Executive Team

Join Date

June 2011

What I do

Geoff Mulgan is Chief Executive of Nesta, and has been in post since June 2011. 

Under his leadership Nesta has moved out of the public sector to become a charity (in 2012), launched a range of new initiatives in investment, programmes and research, and has implemented a new strategy involving partnerships with other funders in the UK and internationally. 


From 2004-2011 he was the first Chief Executive of the Young Foundation, which became a leading centre for social innovation, combining research, creation of new ventures and practical projects. 

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. Before that he was the founder and director of the think-tank Demos.

He has also been Chief Adviser to Gordon Brown MP; a lecturer in telecommunications; an investment executive; and a reporter on BBC TV and radio.

He is a visiting professor at LSE, UCL, Melbourne University and a regular lecturer at the China Executive Leadership Academy. He is an adviser to many governments around the world, and has been a board member of the Work Foundation, the Health Innovation Council, Political Quarterly and the Design Council, and chair of Involve. He is also currently chair of the Studio Schools Trust and the Social Innovation Exchange.   

His recent books include The Art of Public Strategy - Mobilising Power and Knowledge for the Public Good (OUP, 2008) , Good and Bad Power: the ideals and betrayals of government (Penguin, 2006)  and Connexity (Harvard Business Press and Jonathon Cape, 1998).

His latest book The Locust and the Bee was published by Princeton University Press in March 2013. Read more on some of the ideas Geoff has been involved in over the years.

Capital in the 21st Century by Thomas Piketty is essential reading. It shows what many had suspected – that capitalism is more likely to widen inequalities than to narrow them; that there has been a long-term rise in returns to capital relative to labour; and that the pattern is particularly striking at the moment.
Geoff Mulgan
Thursday, 20 March 2014
Stuart Hall was both a great inspiration to me and, at times, a sparring partner. But he was nevertheless a supremely creative intellectual, not afraid of complexity, and always on the side of a better world.
Geoff Mulgan
Wednesday, 12 February 2014
I’ve written a paper looking at the various social and public labs I’ve come across around the world, which suggests a typology for understanding them and describes some of the challenges they face.
Geoff Mulgan
Wednesday, 12 February 2014
Today the Cabinet Office and Nesta announced a new partnership that will take the Behavioural Insights Team – the nudge unit – out of government. The government launched a search for partners last summer, and we at Nesta decided to respond – partly because we’re excited by the potential for behavioural tools to make better policy, and partly because of the very obvious synergies with Nesta’s work.
Geoff Mulgan
Wednesday, 5 February 2014
Word can inform and inspire, or deceive and confuse. So we recently held a session at Nesta to discuss how we could make our writing clearer.
Geoff Mulgan
Monday, 3 February 2014
I’ve drafted a paper suggesting how the centres of national governments could be reformed to make the most of new tools – from open data to strategy, innovation to performance management.
Geoff Mulgan
Monday, 27 January 2014
During 2014 Nesta will be involved in over a dozen projects designed to make a reality of the promise of smart cities. This blog summarises some of our analysis, and lists the main relevant projects we’re involved in.
Geoff Mulgan
Thursday, 23 January 2014