We believe that innovation policies can be designed to drive better social outcomes and tackle inequalities.
Nesta’s inclusive innovation team looks at who gets to benefit from government investment in innovation, and how policies and institutions can be improved so that the risks and rewards of innovation are more equally shared.
Our work focuses on making the case for an inclusive approach to innovation policymaking, developing policy ideas and collaborating with partners to test them.
Our agenda consists of three main strands, drawing on our framework for inclusive innovation policy.
Innovation activity and investment is concentrated in a few highly successful places and firms. We want to see participation in the innovation economy broadened to include people and places that have traditionally been underrepresented.
Produced in collaboration with leading philosopher Roberto Mangabeira Unger, Imagination Unleashed: Democratising the knowledge economy sets out a cross-cutting, programmatic agenda to transform the innovation economy, so that society as a whole is able to participate in it and shape it.
We’re also investigating education’s potential to address inequalities in participation in invention. Our report, Opportunity Lost: How inventive potential is squandered and what to do about it, maps schemes in the UK that aim to give children “exposure to innovation” and and makes practical suggestions to improve their reach.
New technologies, products and ways of doing things can help tackle our greatest challenges, but they can also deepen existing inequalities. We’re exploring how to design policies, institutions and systems that direct innovation to where it’s needed most.
How Inclusive is Innovation Policy? sets out a new framework for inclusive innovation policy, distinguishing its key dimensions, drawing from a comparative analysis of national innovation strategies. The Biomedical Bubble examines the power and influence of the biomedical community, arguing that the UK needs a greater diversity of priorities, politics, places and people in its innovation system. The Lisbon Declaration on Social Innovation, produced as part of the Social Innovation Community project, sets out 10 recommendations to put inclusivity at the heart of EU innovation policy.
Decisions about innovation and technology are made by a small group of people, while those affected by technological change are rarely involved in policymaking. We’re researching and testing different ways to engage the public in shaping innovation policy priorities and decisions.
We developed Seven principles for engaging the public in innovation policy, explaining why innovators and funders should engage with people who aren’t like them, and giving guidance on how to make public engagement in innovation worthwhile. Our small grants programme, Everyone Makes Innovation Policy tests creative ways to involve the public in decision-making around innovation and new technology. Common Futures is a series of essays about the future of work, by people working on the frontline of technological change in a range of low-paid jobs.