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.

We all want to feel like we can take action to create the kind of world we want to live in. That’s what people power is all about. It’s the belief that people should be at the heart of how communities, public services and democracies are run.

From helping students perform better in exams to people managing their long-term health conditions more effectively, we’ve used a people powered approach for the last ten years to help governments and communities reimagine public services and improve people’s lives.

Shrinking budgets and a growing lack of trust in the political system means that governments today are facing huge challenges. COVID-19 has also brought to the fore the role of collaboration and the need for connection.

The complexity of these issues demands a different approach to power. An approach that involves communities and their needs, positions citizens as experts and rethinks the way public services are delivered.

To celebrate 10 years of people-powered work we're hosting a people power shift week of events and releasing several publications that call on government to support the acceleration of a people-powered shift through:

  • The establishment of a £2 billion National Social Infrastructure Commission, to invest as much in community and social welfare infrastructure as we do in physical infrastructure like train lines and motorways;
  • A £1 billion civil society and local authority local support package to support the immediate next wave of responses, alongside £50 million local voluntary response ‘booster fund’ to increase the capacity of local areas to support immediate voluntary responses to the pandemic;
  • A £250 million people-powered recovery fund for those most impacted by COVID-19 and structural disadvantage.
  • A public service pioneer programme to support a wave of pioneering local public services to experiment with ways to accelerate their people-powered shift with their local communities and civil society.
  • A National Citizens’ Assembly to help citizens from all walks of life debate and shape the national COVID-19 recovery
  • A national strategy for civic empowerment and participation, to shape the long term conditions for a people-powered shift.

Find out more in our report The People Powered Shift.