Nesta – A Global Innovation Foundation

… a core concept used in Implementation and Delivery and Atlas107

Click for Nesta website

Concept description

Nesta (reference below, link on right) is a UK charity that works “globally, and always in partnership” and describes its mission as:

“We seek out, spark and shape powerful new ideas, joining with others to take on the big challenges of our time and shift how the world works for everyone.”

It states:

“New ideas are the key to human progress, prosperity and happiness. In a rapidly changing world, we need new ideas to tackle the big challenges we all face and empower people to shape the future.

“The kinds of big challenges Nesta tackle include the pressures of an ageing population; stretched public services; and a fast changing jobs market.

“We know we can’t make change happen by ourselves. We work with all kinds of partners all over the world, who have in common the drive to improve how the world works. We bring together the very big, such as national governments and global technology firms, with the grassroots, such as community groups and local activists, to make change happen. Find out about some of our success stories here.

Nesta describes its work as follows:

“Using our knowledge, networks, funding and skills, we grow new ideas that can change the world for the better:

  • We see – making sense of  opportunities and challenges Our research into emerging trends and technologies helps us answer big questions:  such as what could health services look like in 2030?  Which skills will matter most in an automated workplace? How can public policy harness entrepreneurial energy?
  • We spark – generating new ideas from many sources Our programmes discover and nurture new ideas – championing creativity, generating and testing radical new ideas in the real world, and offering early-stage support to innovators across different fields.
  • We shape – helping to test, grow and adapt promising solutions Our funding programmes help brilliant ideas benefit more people – growing innovations with evidence of success so they can work at scale, for example through impact investing.
  • We shift – changing whole systems Sometimes it’s not enough to grow individual technologies or ventures – instead we have to transform the way whole systems work – for example, by bringing together organisations and individuals from across a field, by advocating for change, by changing policies, or by helping other organisations get better at innovating.

“At Nesta we are experts in methods for innovation.

“We apply these methods in priority fields where there are big challenges and our capacities are suited to the action that’s needed: health; education; government innovation; the creative economy, arts and culture; and innovation policy.”

Nesta publications

Nesta’s publications, all open access, are found at and, in October 2017, included 10 guides, 478 reports, 30 toolkits and 62 working papers.

An example of a guide is: Innovation Teams and Labs: A practice guide (2014).

Atlas topic, subject, and course

Promoting Innovation and Driving Change (core topic) in Implementation and Delivery and Atlas107


Nesta, About us, at, accessed 19 October 2017.

Page created by: Ian Clark, last modified 19 October 2017.

Image: UK Gov, Policy Lab, at, accessed 19 October 2017.