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£1 million donation from Baillie Gifford kick starts pioneering work at UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose

22 March 2018

A new global network to drive a mission-led approach to tackling urgent societal challenges, and a new Mission Orientated Innovation and Industrial Strategy (MOIIS) Commission directing the UK Industrial Strategy towards missions have just been launched at UCL, thanks to a £1 million donation from leading investment management company Baillie Gifford. The donation will allow the UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose (IIPP) to kick-start their activity and grow their ground breaking work around mission-oriented innovation over the next five years. 

Professor Mazzucato and Baillie Gifford

The new Mission Oriented Innovation Network (MOIN) was launched on the 19th March and has over 25 global partners including state investment banks, innovation agencies and other public, private and third sector organisations. The ambition for MOIN is to bring public purpose and innovation into the centre of government machinery, creating a framework for dynamic capabilities in the public sector, and developing a corresponding policy toolkit which allows public value to be nurtured and evaluated. The emphasis of the network is on developing new organisational capacities and capabilities needed within public organisations in order to enable them to set missions collaboratively, to welcome the exploration and experimentation process necessary for welcoming multiple bottom up solutions.

The work of MOIN will inform the development of the new Masters in Public Administration, which will run from September 2019 and focus on building capacity to innovate in public sector organisations. The IIPP is also launching a lecture series at the British Library to engage the public with its ambitions around rethinking public value and purpose. The series will be kicked off by IIPP Director Mariana Mazzucato and British Library CEO Roly Keating, and will see speakers such as Richard Rogers, Brian Eno, Amande Levete and Jayati Ghosh take the stage.

IIPP Director Professor Mazzucato has pioneered the mission-led approach, including in IIPP’s first working paper, Mission-Oriented Innovation Policy: Challenges and Opportunities, and points to NASA’s Apollo programme as a lesson in the important of a cross-sectoral approach in transforming intangible goals into concrete and solvable ‘missions’. She says:

“A key lesson is that missions require more active policy making – market shaping rather than the traditional market fixing that mainstream economists are wedded to. Missions have to be bold and activate innovations across sectors, actors and disciplines. They harness and direct the power of research, not only to stimulate economic activity and growth, but also to find tangible solutions to the most pressing challenges of our time. How to apply mission thinking to social problems, including improving the quality of different types of public services, is perhaps the biggest challenge we have in the 21st century. This support from Baillie Gifford will allow us to address this challenge head on.”

Welcoming the recent launches of both the MOIN and the MOIIS Commission, Thomas Coutts, a Partner at Baillie Gifford, says:

“Mariana’s work on the state as an entrepreneurial agent challenges conventional beliefs about innovation and raises profound questions about how the rewards from that innovation should be divided between the public and private sectors. Like her and her colleagues at the Institute, we are interested in rethinking capitalism and challenging mainstream economic beliefs – whose support owes more to unquestioning faith than rigorous thought. We are delighted to support this work.” 

Find out more about the UCL IIPP.

Read the UCL IIPP full press release here