Department of Engineering Science, University College London
Geoff is a social entrepreneur, policymaker, and author, who has worked at different times in civil society, government, the technology sector, and academia. After nine years running Nesta, an innovation foundation in the UK, in 2020 Geoff took on the position of Professor of Collective Intelligence, Public Policy, and Social Innovation at University College London. Prior to joining Nesta, Geoff had roles in the UK government, including Director of the Government's Strategy Unit and Head of Policy in the Prime Minister's Office. At the moment, he is also WEF Schwab Fellow and is working with the UNDP, Demos Helsinki, and various national governments.
At THE NEW INSTITUTE Geoff is involved in the program "The New Hanse".
What gives you hope?
Spending time with activists, innovators, and entrepreneurs keeps me hopeful. Action in the world tends to fuel optimism, whereas the more detached we are the more we become pessimistic. For all the many flaws of social media, I also believe that digital technologies have the potential to expand our shared global intelligence. So, although I’m frustrated that so little progress has been made in using technologies in these ways, I’m hopeful that over the next decade or two this vital work will get underway.
How does change happen?
I wrote a very long book trying to answer this question. I concluded that change results from both a positive—strong new ideas combined with the power to act on them—and a negative—a weakening of the forces of conservatism that always block change—from interests, assumptions, and relationships. Generally, we overestimate how much can change in the short-run and underestimate how much can change in the long-run—partly because deep change requires a shift in minds and cultures.
If you could have a conversation with one person (dead or alive) who would it be?
I would love a conversation with Georg Hegel. It’s possible I might even understand him then!
The Case For Exploratory Social Sciences
In THE NEW INSTITUTE’s first discussion paper, Geoff Mulgan argues that the social science should help design the future and sets out a plan of how to organize this within universities and beyond.
Social Innovation: How Societies Find the Power to Change, 2019
Big Mind: How Collective Intelligence Can Change Our World, 2017
The Locust and the Bee: Predators and Creators in Capitalism’s Future, 2015
Good and Bad Power: The Ideals and Betrayals of Government, 2009
Discussion PaperThe Case For Exploratory Social Sciences
Should the social sciences only analyse the past and present? Or should they also try to help design the future?
PAPER EDITIONCovid Special
We are in this together: An attempt to reflect on the unexpected – the year of the pandemic.
Corine Pelluchon | Geoff Mulgan | Wilhelm Krull | Christoph Möllers | Art |
interviewCovid and Social Impact
Geoff Mulgan is Professor at UCL and Senior Advisor at THE NEW INSTITUTE
newsAn Unfolding World – Luisa Neubauer and Geoff Mulgan Discuss the Potential of the Urban Transformation at “Untitled”
What will this coming decade be – the ten years, some say, that are essential if we want to change the course of things, tackle climate change before more tipping points are reached.
newsInternational & Interdisciplinary – THE NEW INSTITUTE Forms an Exciting Advisory Team
Francesca Bria, President of the Italian Innovation Fund, Geoff Mulgan, the former head of the UK innovation agency Nesta, and Christoph Möllers, law professor at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, support THE NEW INSTITUTE.
Geoff Mulgan is one of the most curious and constructive thinkers and practitioners around. He used to work in politics, he founded and ran big think tanks...
essayGeoff Mulgan – Our Task
Courage is one of the classical virtues. But it is a subtle virtue. Courage can easily spill over into folly or hubris. Yet all communities need at least some people to be courageous, and not just in a martial sense.