UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose


25 April 2018 | 6:30 pm to 03 May 2018 | 8:00 pm

IIPP & British Library join forces in lecture series on Rethinking Public Value & Public Purpose

Knowledge Centre, The British Library, 96 Euston Road, London, NW1 2DB
Open to
Free Event
British Library
Rethinking Public Value and Public Purpose in 21st-Century Capitalism

Rethinking Public Value and Public Purpose in 21st Century Capitalism is a public lecture series presented by IIPP in collaboration with the British Library. 

IIPP is launching a lecture series on Rethinking Public Value and Public Purpose at the British Library
Featuring luminaries from the worlds of arts, economics, architecture and design and policymaking, it considers the role of the public sector in today’s capitalist world and asks what partnerships are needed to address societal and technological challenges? How can public spaces be designed to create more democratic participation and new forms of learning and exploration? Does public necessarily mean free? Can the digital revolution create a new type of public realm?

The series will be kicked off by IIPP Director Mariana Mazzucato and British Library CEO Roly Keating, followed by thought-leading speakers including leading architects and planners (Richard Rogers, Amande Levete, Lucy Musgrave, Dan Hill, Finn Williams), digital strategists, artists and designers (Jeremy Till, Brian Eno, Mike Bracken), economists and social scientists (Stephanie Kelton, Jayati Ghosh, Dan Sarewitz, Rainer Kattel). Information on the first two lectures is below, with futher dates to follow.

In Conversation with the 'World's Scariest Economist'

On public purpose: Roly Keating in conversation with Mariana Mazzucato, the ‘world’s scariest economist’

Wed 25 Apr 2018, 18:30 - 20:00

On the first night of the Rethinking Public Value series, IIPP Director Professor Mariana Mazzucato, styled by The Times as the ‘world’s scariest economist’ will be joined by Roly Keating, Chief Executive of the British Library, to explore the provocative issues that the series aims to address. Roly will draw on his extensive background steering national institutions in the pursuit of public purpose and value, with the British Library, the BBC, and beyond. 

Unlocking Public Value from the Data Revolution

IIPP's Mike Bracken and Rainer Kattel discuss government digital transformations

Thu 3 May 2018, 18:30 - 20:00

How can governments unlock public value from digital transformation and harness the potential encapsulated in the internet and data for more equitable public services?

Mike Bracken, founder of the UK's award winning Government Digital Service (and its digital platform gov.uk) and Rainer Kattel, UCL Professor of Innovation and Public Governance, discuss the experiences of government digital transformation from around the world, specifically focusing on the UK and Estonia as paradigmatically diverging examples.

This lecture will explore how governments can unlock public value from digital transformation and harness the potential encapsulated in the internet and data for more equitable public services. How much and what kind of data should citizens own, and should we be able to earn from our data owned by private corporations?

Richard Rogers Tuesday 22 May

Details tbc

The Public Purse: a government budget is not a family budget …and why this matters

Stephanie Kelton on the relationship between budgeting and the economy

Tuesday 12 June 2018, 18:30 - 20:00 

Drawing on her experience as the Chief Economist on the U.S. Senate Budget Committee, Stephanie will give a beginner’s class on public deficits and what (almost) everyone is missing in the debate over the government’s budget. Is the government’s budget really just like a family budget? (Teaser: It’s not!) What is the purpose of budgeting anyway? Is it to balance spending and revenue, or is targeting a balanced budget the wrong goal altogether? Is the British government living beyond its means? 

Stephanie will outline a new way of understanding deficits, debt, taxes, the relationship between the public and private sectors, and what our economy could look like. Turning the public budget into a participatory, mission-oriented endeavor Is critical to restructuring public services and public investment and building the kind of economy that will deliver a cleaner, safer, more secure future for all.

The Public Value of Care and the Politics of Women’s Work

Jayati Ghosh on the importance of recognising, rewarding, reducing and redistributing care work - and ensuring representation for care workers.

Thu 14 June 2018, 18:30 - 20:00

Care services are taken for granted, unrecognised and unsung in almost all societies. But they contribute hugely to public value: to social well-being, cohesion and stability and to the progress of the economy and its future potential – even though that contribution is missing in the national accounts.

Currently, most care work is performed by unpaid and underpaid women, especially in developing societies, which unfortunately affects social attitudes to all work done by women as well as all care work. This needs to change to create happier and more equal societies. Public policy is crucial in determining the extent, coverage and quality of care services as well as the conditions of care workers. 

The Unruly Subject of Urban Neighbourhoods: Research, Intelligence and Process in Urban Change

Lucy Musgrave on the interlinking of spatial, social and cultural conditions within the urban fabric.

Tuesday 26 June 2018, 18:30 - 20:00

How can we nurture and forge a strong, legitimate and significant civic identity for 21st century neighbourhoods and cities?

Through examples of international and UK civic projects, Lucy Musgrave will show a new field of practice in urbanism that has emerged to forensically study urban conditions and needs in order to propose change that is inclusive, rich in meaning, forward-thinking and human-centred.

This radical approach refuses to shy away from the inherent ‘messiness’ of urban neighbourhoods and their existing social networks, so easily swept away in the rapid churn of new development. Instead, it employs a new way of looking at and acting in the city; a process of analysing the complexity of what exists in urban neighbourhoods; bold, strategic thinking about urban change; and communicating new ways for neighbourhoods to thrive.

Lucy will show how spatial, cultural, social and economic conditions can be used to design inspiring, ambitious and tangible strategies for the future, and why it is in the interest of the private sector to adopt a strategic approach to city development that focuses on the value of long-term stewardship. Finally, she will demonstrate the power of using evidence-based briefs to forge partnerships between politicians, policymakers, investors and users, build civic identity and catalyse urban change that addresses real need.

The Value of Everything

Mariana Mazzucato speaks on new book about the concept of value.

Monday 9 July 2018, 18:30 - 20:00

Who really creates wealth in our world? And how do we decide the value of what they do? At the heart of today's financial and economic crisis is a problem hiding in plain sight.

In modern capitalism, value-extraction is rewarded more highly than value-creation: the productive process that drives a healthy economy and society. From companies driven solely to maximize shareholder value to astronomically high prices of medicines justified through big pharma's 'value pricing', we misidentify taking with making, and have lost sight of what value really means. Once a central plank of economic thought, this concept of value - what it is, why it matters to us - is simply no longer discussed. 

Yet, argues Mariana Mazzucato in her penetrating and passionate new book The Value of Everything, if we are to reform capitalism - radically to transform an increasingly sick system rather than continue feeding it - we urgently need to rethink where wealth comes from. Which activities create it, which extract it, which destroy it? Answers to these questions are key if we want to replace the current parasitic system with a type of capitalism that is more sustainable, more symbiotic - that works for us all. The Value of Everything reignites a long-needed debate about the kind of world we really want to live in.

Planning for a Longer Now

Brian Eno and Finn Williams ask how the public sector might find a new agency to create long-term public value.

Monday 24 September 2018, 18:30 - 20:00

How can we create real and lasting public value within an increasingly narrow and short-sighted ‘here and now’? 24 hour news cycles are leaving politicians struggling to look past tomorrow’s headlines, let alone think beyond electoral terms. National leaders are conceiving policies in reaction to their twitter feeds. The most globalised countries are turning their backs on the world to look in on themselves. So who is really doing politics now? And where are new ideas for the future of cities and society coming from?

The state was once in the business of building futures, but over a period of decades it ceded the initiative to the private sector. The public sector’s delivery capacity has been broken down into contracts, its appetite for risk outsourced, and its skills and knowledge salami-sliced by efficiency cuts. Now the short-term savings of handing over to companies like Carillion or Capita are starting to add up to long-term costs – not just financially, but also socially, and democratically. Who is left to plan beyond the dates the contracts end?

Can bureaucracies be creative? What role should science have in government today? Who are the civil servants of the 21st century? How do you define government when the lines between public, private and civic society are increasingly blurred? Can we imagine a 'civilian politics'? How could governments and citizens collaborate to plan for a bigger here, and longer now?