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.

Radical visions for the future of government - we want your ideas!

Which specific trends will have the greatest influence on the future role and shape of government? Will we live in a world of robot social workers, micropayments for public services and social credit scores? What if we could place empathy, relationships and trust at the heart of social services instead of impersonal bureaucracy? Should governments look more like tech startups, cooperatives or something else entirely? Or will we need a new set of rights and responsibilities - such as to care, or for lifelong learning - to help us manage a set of wider economic and social trends?

Our Radical Visions collection seeks to explore these and other trends as part of a fundamental reimagining of government: how it works, what it does, who’s involved in it, the tools and resources it uses, and the relationship it has with citizens and communities. It will bring together a diverse range of ideas from a diverse range of people. We are now seeking contributions for this collection.

There are three broad, overlapping themes in which we are particularly interested: Re-imagining Services, Rebuilding Trust, and Re-crafting Roles. We are looking for contributions that speak to one or more of these themes and which are imaginative, challenging, optimistic and radical. They should explore visions of government up to the year 2030 and respond to questions such as:

Re-imagining Services

For example:

  • What’s the best way to deliver better social outcomes, given growing concerns that current models of service delivery are no longer adequate?
  • How might emerging technologies and other innovations radically alter the way social needs are met?
Rebuilding Trust

For example:

  • What would it take to reinvigorate democracy, trust and citizens’ relationship with their governments?
  • Is there scope to fundamentally rethink the way in which governments and citizens interact? What might this look like?
Re-crafting Roles

For example:

  • How will the roles and skills of public sector staff, politicians and citizens need to change?
  • Do we need to revisit the social contract between citizen and state? If so, what might that look like and how would we do it?

We are interested in views which challenge existing orthodoxies, as well as those which take current trends, technologies or ideas to a new frontier. For the purposes of this collection, we have no fixed view of what future government should look like. We bring an open mind and hope to be challenged and surprised.

We will be launching the collection at a major Nesta event in central London in September 2019. We are looking for submissions in a format that could be included in a printed publication. This includes, but is not necessarily limited to: written submissions of around 1500 words, such as essays, provocations, think pieces, stories, futures scenarios or interviews. Or non-written submissions, such as graphic art, illustrations or photography/photojournalism.

All outputs will be released under a Creative Commons license (Attribution Noncommercial ShareAlike licence (CC-BY-NC-SA), full details), meaning results can be republished elsewhere.

What about austerity?

We’re conscious that in the UK and some other contexts, austerity dominates conversations about the future of government. For this collection, we encourage you to look beyond immediate funding challenges and focus on preferred futures. We’re looking for optimistic and compelling visions which need not be constrained by the here and now. We would also like international perspectives, where the pressures of spending cuts may not be as pressing a concern.

Who can apply?

Applications are open to anyone over the age of 18, with applications from inside or outside of the European Union very welcome. Please note that Nesta reserves the right to include contributions from individuals under the age of 18, but this will be by invitation only.

Will contributors be paid?

Yes. It is important to us that all contributors are rewarded fairly for their work. As we will be including a variety of different styles of creative work in the final publication, we will discuss compensation on an individual basis.

How to apply?

As part of their initial pitch, we are asking you to submit the following:

  • A short pitch of up to 300 words on how you will approach developing a creative output that explores a radical vision for future government
  • Clearly state what form your final work will take
  • Some relevant examples of your past work

Please email your pitch to [email protected] by midnight on the 28th of April 2019, using the phrase ‘radical visions pitch’ in the subject line of the email. ​Please include some examples of your previous work. This could be some previous writing, such as an essay, article or blog post, or it could be an example of your artwork (if relevant).

We ask you not to submit your final work without Nesta having first contacted you to discuss your pitch. We aim to respond to all shortlisted applicants in the first fortnight of May to schedule a follow-up meeting and discuss the contents of the final output as well as remuneration.

How will applications be judged?

Applications will be reviewed by a team at Nesta. Submissions will be judged on the following criteria:

  • Quality - Meaningfully and constructively engages with at least one of the questions within the three themes outlined above to provide a radical but plausible vision of future government. Provides tangible examples of how trends or ideas may play out in a real-world context.
  • Originality - Represents a marked shift from the existing status quo and notions of what best practice, transformation and innovation look like
  • Capacity to deliver - based on the quality of previous work submitted

What if I have more questions?

If you have any further questions, please email [email protected] and we will endeavour to get back to you as soon as we can.

Indicative Timetable

Our provisional timetable is detailed below. This is intended as guidance only.

  • 28 April 2019: Deadline for pitches
  • Early May 2019: Shortlisted candidates contacted
  • 15 May 2019: Final candidates confirmed
  • 28 June 2019: deadline for submission of final outputs
  • 19 September 2019: launch event

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Tom Symons

Tom Symons

Tom Symons

Deputy Director, fairer start mission

Tom is the deputy mission director for the fairer start mission at Nesta.

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