About Nesta

Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society.

Good and bad innovation: what kind of theory and practice do we need to distinguish them?

What methods should be used to distinguish good innovation from the bad? Working at Nesta over the last few years, and engaging with a lot with innovation practitioners and academics, I’ve been surprised at the paucity of good answers. There is no shortage of approaches, some very impressive academic experts - Stilgoe, Callon, Wilsdon, Lövbrand, Stirling, Rayner, Hajer, Wynne, von Schomberg, to mention just a few - and some excellent overviews of the field, mainly focused on responsiveness and more open processes.

But the methods proposed are often hard to put into effect. This paper attempts to provide a possible framework that complements these. It recognises the inherent difficulties involved in assessing future possibilities, while arguing that intelligent judgements can guide allocations of money and the design of policies and regulations.

Download 'Good and Bad Innovation' by Geoff Mulgan (pdf)


Geoff Mulgan

Geoff Mulgan

Geoff Mulgan

Chief Executive Officer

Geoff Mulgan was Chief Executive of Nesta from 2011-2019.

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