UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose


Digital state capacity and grand challenges

06 June 2023, 10:45 am–11:40 am

Digital state capacity and grand challenges

In this session we will consider the past and present landscape of mission-oriented policies in Europe, how such policies can be conceived as an agenda for public sector reform and the new opportunities for building state capacity in a digital era.

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Tuesday 6 June 2023 | 10:45-11:40 (BST) UK Time

What has the COVID-19 pandemic taught our governments about the re-imagining of state capacity to tackle 21st century challenges? What new digital infrastructures should be public to enable societies to tackle grand challenges and what does this mean for the definition of public and private?  In this morning session, David Eaves, Deputy Director of IIPP will moderate a panel discussion between digital experts in the public sector on the topic of digital state capacity to tackle grand challenges. 

In this morning session, David Eaves, Deputy Director of IIPP will moderate a panel discussion between digital experts in the public sector on the topic of digital state capacity to tackle grand challenges. 

Meet the panel:

This talk is being moderated by David Eaves, Associate Professor in Digital Government, in conversation with:

  • Prof Mariana Mazzucato, Professor in the Economics of Innovation and Public Value
  • Francesca Bria, President of the Italian National Innovation Fund, Board Member of the Italian public media company RAI and IIPP Honorary Professor 
  • Gulsanna Manchyieva, Director General of Directorate for European and Euro-Atlantic integration at Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine
  • Nandan Nilekani, Chairman and Co-founder, Infosys and Founding Chairman UIDAI (Aadhaar)

The event is part of the IIPP 2023 Festival: The Entrepreneurial State 2.0. - Rethinking the State in the 21st Century. 

Join the conversation on #IIPP_MOIN and #TheEntreprenurialState2.

About the Speakers

Prof Mariana Mazzucato

Founding Director and Professor in the Economics of Innovation and Public Value at UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose

Mariana Mazzucato
Mariana Mazzucato (PhD) is Professor in the Economics of Innovation and Public Value at University College London (UCL), where she is Founding Director of the UCL Institute for Innovation & Public Purpose (IIPP). She received her BA from Tufts University and her MA and PhD from the Graduate Faculty of the New School for Social Research. Her previous posts include the RM Phillips Professorial Chair at the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) at Sussex University. She is a selected fellow of the UK’s Academy of Social Sciences (FAcSS) and of the Italian National Science Academy (Lincei).

She is winner of international prizes including the Grande Ufficiale Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana in 2021, Italy’s highest civilian honour, the 2020 John von Neumann Award, the 2019 All European Academies Madame de Staël Prize for Cultural Values, and the 2018 Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought. She was named as one of the ‘3 most important thinkers about innovation‘ by The New Republic, one of the 50 most creative people in business in 2020 by Fast Company, and one of the 25 leaders shaping the future of capitalism by WIRED. Most recently, Pope Francis appointed her to the Pontifical Academy for Life for bringing “more humanity” to the world.

She is the author of four highly acclaimed books: The Entrepreneurial State: debunking public vs. private sector myths (2013) which investigates the critical role the state plays in driving growth; The Value of Everything: making and taking in the global economy (2018) which looks at how value creation needs to be rewarded over value extraction; Mission Economy: a moonshot guide to changing capitalism (2021) rethinks the capacity and role of government within the economy and society; and most recently The Big Con: How the Consulting Industry Weakens our Businesses, Infantilizes our Governments and Warps our Economies (2023).

She advises policymakers around the world on innovation-led inclusive and sustainable growth. Her current roles include being Chair of the World Health Organization’s Council on the Economics of Health for All, Co-Chair of the Global Commission on the Economics of Water, Co-Chair on the Council on Urban Initiatives, member of the South African President’s Economic Advisory Council, the UN High Level Advisory Board for Economic and Social Affairs, the European Space Agency’s High-Level Advisory Group on Human and Robotic Space Exploration for Europe, Argentina’s Economic and Social Council and Vinnova’s Advisory Panel in Sweden and the OECD High-Level Advisory Panel on Climate and Economic Resilience. Previously, through her role as Special Advisor for the EC Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation (2017-2019), she authored the high-impact report on Mission-Oriented Research and Innovation in the European Union, turning 'missions' into a crucial new instrument in the European Commission’s Horizon innovation programme, and more recently, authored a report with the UN’s Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) on Transformational Change in Latin America and the Caribbean: A mission-oriented approachMore about Prof Mariana Mazzucato

David Eaves

Associate Professor in Digital Government at UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose (IIPP)

Previously a lecturer at Harvard Kennedy School where he taught and wrote on digital era public administration, digital transformation and the governance of digital public infrastructure, David has co-founded Teaching Public Service in a Digital Age, which has sought to bring together faculty from around the world to co-design and share an open licensed curriculum to teach the minimum needed digital competences for future public leaders. These materials are now used by dozens of faculty members in over 20 universities around the world David has partnered with Public Digital to co-hosts an annual convening of digital government leaders from around the world. He has also taught policy analysis in the MPP core curriculum and ran a highly successful Executive Education program on Digital Transformation.

In addition to his work at HKS David co-founded and served as CEO of a civictech start up that successfully grew to serve over 400 governments across North America. He’s advised on governance and collaboration strategies for open source communities such as OpenMRS, Drupal and Mozilla and provided training to almost every cohort of Code for America fellows, White House Presidential Innovation Fellows and Code for Canada fellows.

David is also proud of his work as a negotiation adviser to numerous tech organizations, governments and environmental groups. He served as negotiation advisor to a coalition of Canadian environmental government organizations during two years of negotiations with the Forestry Products Association of Canada (FPAC) which helped cement the ground-breaking Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement. More about David Eaves

Francesca Bria

President at Italian National Innovation Fund

Francesca Bria
Francesca Bria is the President of the Italian National Innovation Fund and a Board Member of the Italian public media company RAI. She is Honorary Professor in the Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose at UCL in London and she is part of the High-level Roundtable for the New European Bauhaus set up by the EC President Ursula von der Leyen to accelerate the EU Green Deal.

She is the former Chief Digital Technology and Innovation Officer for the City of Barcelona in Spain. In this role, she was leading the smart city Agenda and she was one of the founders of the United Nations Cities Coalition for Digital Rights. She is leading the EU flagship DECODE project on data sovereignty in Europe, and is a Senior Adviser on the EC programme STARTS (Innovation at the nexus of Science, Technology and the Arts).

Francesca has a PhD in Innovation and Entrepreneurship from Imperial College, London and MSc on Digital Economy from University of London, Birbeck. As Senior Programme Lead at Nesta, the UK Innovation Agency, she has led the EU D-CENT project, the biggest European Project on digital democracy and crypto platforms. She also led the Digital Social Innovation EU project, advising the EU on digital innovation policies and mission-driven innovation. She has been teaching in several universities in the UK and Italy and she has advised Governments, public and private organizations on technology and innovation policy, and its socio-economic, geopolitical and environmental impact.

Francesca has been nominated Commander of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic. She has been listed in the top 50 Women in Tech by Forbes Magazine. Francesca is also Culture Persons of the Year 2020 according to the newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), and is in the World's top 20 most influential people in digital government by Apolitical.   More about Francesca Bria

Gulsanna Manchyieva

Director General of Directorate at European and Euro-Atlantic integration at Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine

Gulsanna Manchyieva
In charge of European and EuroAtlantic integration in digital sector and gradual integration of Ukraine into EU Digital Single Market.

Gulsanna and her team have launched development and implementation of the Strategy of integration of Ukraine into European Union Digital Single Market. It consists of many components: electronic communications, trust and identification services, e-commerce, open data, digital skills, privacy, innovation, online safety, cybersecurity, etc.

Before working in the Ukrainian government, Gulsanna had been a lawyer in private IT sector.

She have got Master Degree in Information Technology Law, University of Tartu, Estonia and currently pursuing PhD at Kyiv Institute of International Relations with the research in the sphere of Internet Law and social media regulation.

Gulsanna speaks Ukrainian, Crimean Tatar, Russian, English. Learning French. More about Gulsanna Manchyieva

Nandan Nilekani

Chairman, Co-founder and Founding Chairman at Infosys and UIDAI (Aadhaar)

Nandan Nilekani is the Co-Founder and Chairman of Infosys Technologies Limited. He was the Founding Chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) in the rank of a Cabinet Minister from 2009 to 2014. Most recently, Nandan has co-founded and is the Chairman of EkStep, a not-for-profit effort to create a learner centric, technology based platform to improve basic literacy and numeracy for millions of children.

Born in Bengaluru, Nilekani received his Bachelor’s degree from IIT, Bombay. Fortune Magazine conferred him with “Asia’s Businessman of the year 2003.” In 2005 he received the prestigious Joseph Schumpeter prize for innovative services in economy, economic sciences and politics. In 2006, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan. He was also named Businessman of the year by Forbes Asia. Time magazine listed him as one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2006 & 2009. Foreign Policy magazine listed him as one of the Top 100 Global thinkers in 2010. He won The Economist Social & Economic Innovation Award for his leadership of India’s Unique Identification initiative (Aadhaar). In 2017, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from E&Y. CNBC-TV 18 conferred the India Business leader award for outstanding contributions to the Indian Economy (2017) and he also received the 22nd Nikkei Asia Prize for Economic & Business Innovation in the same year. He has been inducted as an International Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2019. In 2022, Nandan was appointed the co-Chair of the G20 Task Force on Digital Public Infrastructure. He also won the Business Standard’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2022.

Nandan Nilekani is the author of “Imagining India”, co- authored his second book with Viral Shah, “Rebooting India: Realizing a Billion Aspirations” and co-authored his third book with Tanuj Bhojwani,“The Art of Bitfulness: Keeping calm in the digital world” released in Jan 2022. More about Nandan Nilekani