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.

How can governments reimagine public services to improve the lives of citizens? What new approaches will help them tackle the complex issues that will define our future?

What is the event?

At Nesta’s first ever Government Innovation Summit in September we came together for a full day of talks, workshops and panel discussions, with input from senior public servants and local government leaders. We also showcased innovations from around the world that are set to become mainstream in the next few years, from new ways of using digital to the cutting edge of public engagement.

Who is speaking?

We heard from social entrepreneur Hilary Cottam on radical new forms of government; Shevaun Haviland, Head of Business Relations at 10 Downing Street; leading local government Chief Executive Joanna Killian; thought leader and former senior civil servant Rob Whiteman; and Francesca Bria, Barcelona's Chief Technology and Digital Innovation Officer, whose ideas have been copied in cities across the world.

There was learning about new forms of citizen engagement from the government's lead on Citizen Juries Miriam Levin from DCMS and digital democracy expert Ben Fowkes from Delib, and practical examples from around the world of how governments can use AI from Ben Hawes from Connected Places Catapult and Coline Cuau from CitizenLab.

There were workshops led by delegates from across Europe and experts from Nesta, including a session with CEO Geoff Mulgan.

Who is it for and why should I come?

This one-day event in London was designed for anyone who wants to explore bold new ideas for the future of government. It was especially relevant for civil servants, local government officers and other public sector policy leads, commissioners and service managers; as well as entrepreneurs and innovators in charities who interact with the public sector.

What’s on offer?

The sessions on offer aimed to get us all thinking about what radical new foundations we could lay for the future of government.

We heard the latest evidence and saw policy ideas come to life, from how smart cities can use technology and data while maintaining the trust and support of citizens, to learning what skills public servants will need to tackle complex problems in the future. We debated some of the big questions: do we need a new social contract for the 21st century? How can governments collaborate across sectors to tackle problems like inequality, homelessness and youth unemployment?

We found out which digital tools are helping to re-engage the public with democracy, and contribute to an interactive session on how councils can create flourishing local economies.

View the preliminary programme