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.

Celia is a director within Nesta's strategy department, shaping the organisation’s future agenda and leading the Discovery Hub.

Nesta’s Discovery team systematically scans the horizon for emerging trends, technologies and innovations. The Discovery Hub brings together foresight with data science, qualitative research and innovation methods. For example, Discovery’s experimental project Innovation Sweet Spots uses cutting-edge data science combined with foresight methods to map trends in innovation systems.

Discovery’s thought leadership work encompasses Nesta’s Tech in the Dock series and Signals (which picks out the early stage trends, technologies and ideas set to shape the year to come). Discovery is also home to Nesta’s employee-led innovation offer (known as Distributed Discovery). This includes a unique residency scheme specifically designed for a social impact context, a sabbatical programme for staff and an internal programme of learning events.

Celia joined Nesta in 2015, initially leading the design of challenge prizes; including establishing the first multi-million prize fund on open banking with the CMA and several major UK banks. Between 2017-2020 she was Director of the Explorations team; incubating the Centre for Collective Intelligence, seeding work on participatory futures and overseeing programming for our flagship festival FutureFest.

Over her career, Celia has developed a particular interest in the future of foundations (having led this Horizon Scan of grant-making trends) and in long-term strategy in the social sector more broadly. Her international experience includes time as a Fulbright Scholar at New York University, a Fellow at the American public sector innovation centre GovLab and the Foundation for Young Australians in Melbourne.

In the UK, she has held senior roles in charities and think tanks – including as Head of Research and Policy at the Family and Parenting Institute. She spent several years at the think tank Demos where she published a wide range of reports on policy, technology and society. Celia holds a BA from Oxford University and an Executive Masters of Public Administration from New York University.