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.

Nesta’s innovation experts work at the cutting edge to tackle some of society’s biggest challenges. Our practice teams are communities clustered around different methodological approaches to innovation. We have a core of expertise - highly specialised staff with a deep understanding of their methodological approach. Practice teams work closely with each other, and with the mission teams to find and test innovative solutions in the core mission areas. 

Our broad suite of experience and expertise means we can bring a novel perspective, harnessing the collective power of diverse disciplines. It’s rarely a quick fix: our approach requires a deep understanding of the problem at hand, and we relentlessly prototype and discard potential ideas before we light on the ones that work. But by thinking differently and borrowing ideas from diverse fields, we aim to continually push the boundaries of what’s possible, and drive big and meaningful change.

Our Practice teams

Data analytics

Our data analytics practice uses state-of-the-art data engineering, machine learning and visualisation methods to scope problems, make recommendations and predict outcomes. For example, our Open Jobs programme is mapping possible new careers for people affected by automation, and giving policymakers and educators the tools to meet changes in demand for specific skills.

Collective intelligence

Our Centre for Collective Intelligence Design helps Nesta and other organisations find new insights and innovative solutions to complex problems by bringing together human and machine intelligence. For example we’ve blended novel data, AI and participatory methods to help teams from the UN Development Programme in over 60 countries develop more inclusive ways of tackling their sustainable development goals.

Arts and creative economy

Our arts practice drives innovation by harnessing the power of creativity to understand social problems and design solutions. It also uses the arts to support Nesta’s mission goals by influencing attitudes and behaviours in wider society. Alongside our arts practice Nesta is home to Arts and Culture Finance which sits within our investments directorate and contributes to the organisation’s wider work in the creative economy. Arts and Culture Finance manages several social impact investment funds aimed at organisations in the arts and cultural sector. Nesta is also home to the Creative Industries Policy & Evidence Centre which provides independent research and policy recommendations for the UK's creative industries.

Design and technology

Our design and technology practice designs, builds and tests solutions that meet people’s needs. We make products, services and processes more usable and likely to succeed by engaging people in their design and development.

Behavioural science

Our behavioural science practice uses tools from a wide range of disciplines to explore problems, develop solutions to address them, and rigorously test what works. The challenges our missions face – obesity, educational inequality, and home decarbonisation – have major behavioural components. Our aim is to use behavioural science to develop ideas that go beyond putting the onus on individuals to change; shaping systems and markets to impact our mission goals.