Skip to content

Public Value

This paper brings together views from Nesta on better ways of mapping and measuring public value.

It builds on work Nesta has done in many fields - from health and culture to public services - to find more rounded and realistic ways of capturing the many dimensions of value created by public action. It is relevant to our work influencing governments and charities as well as to our own work as a funder, since our status as a charity commits us to creating public benefit.

Our aim in this work is to make value more transparent and more open to interrogation, whether that concerns libraries, bicycle lanes, museums, primary health services or training programmes for the unemployed. We recognise that value may come from government action; it can also be created by others, in civil society and business. And we recognise that value can often be complex, whether in terms of who benefits, or how it relates to values, as well as more technical issues such as what discount rates to apply.

But unless value is attended to explicitly, we risk ending up with unhappy results.

Authors

Geoff Mulgan

Geoff Mulgan

Geoff Mulgan

Chief Executive Officer

Geoff Mulgan has been Chief Executive of Nesta since 2011. Nesta is the UK's innovation foundation and runs a wide range of activities in investment, practical innovation and research.

View profile
Jonathan Breckon

Jonathan Breckon

Jonathan Breckon

Director, Alliance for Useful Evidence

Jonathan Breckon has 15 years experience in policy, research and public affairs.

View profile
Mariola Tarrega

Mariola Tarrega

Mariola Tarrega

Researcher, Alliance for Useful Evidence

Mariola is a Researcher for the Alliance for Useful Evidence in Scotland based in the offices of the Carnegie UK Trust, Dunfermline.

View profile
Hasan Bakhshi

Hasan Bakhshi

Hasan Bakhshi

Centre Director, Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre (PEC); and Executive Director, Creative Economy and Data Analytics, Nesta

Hasan oversees Nesta's creative economy policy, research and practical work.

View profile
John Davies

John Davies

John Davies

Economic Research Fellow, Creative Economy & Data Analytics

John is a research fellow focusing on the digital and creative economy. He is interested in the interface of economics, digital technology and data.

View profile
Halima Khan

Halima Khan

Halima Khan

Executive Director, Health, People and Impact

Halima is Executive Director of the Health, People and Impact. She leads Nesta’s work in health and also oversees people (human resources) and impact for the organisation.

View profile
Annie Finnis

Annie Finnis

Annie Finnis

Director of Operations and Impact, Health Lab

Annie is Director of Operations and Impact in the Health Lab at Nesta.

View profile