UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose


Hilary Cottam, innovator and social entrepreneur, joins IIPP faculty

28 February 2019

Internationally acclaimed social entrepreneur in rethinking the welfare state, Hilary Cottam, has been appointed Visiting Professor at the UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose (IIPP).

Hilary Cottam, innovator and social entrepreneur, joins IIPP faculty

Hilary will bring 20 years of experience in thought leadership, learning, systemic change and innovation to IIPP and to our Master of Public Administration (MPA) in Innovation, Public Policy and Public Value. Hilary's passion for rethinking fundamental public services, and experience in social innovation will provide thought leadership to our research agenda on the connection between technological and social revolutions, helping equip our first cohort of MPA students with the skills required to tackle the challenges of the 21st century. 

Combining new thinking with radical, concrete practice, Hilary's work in Britain and around the world has focused on rethinking the welfare state via collaborative and affordable solutions to some of the greatest social challenges of our time: challenges such as ageing, loneliness, chronic disease, good work and inequality.

From the late 1980s to mid 1990s, Hilary worked extensively around the world to address issues such as famine relief and urban poverty. She started the Do Tank Ltd to extend the work into prisons developing a new, affordable prison design which would accommodate a regime proven to reduce re-offending.  As a Director of the UK’s Design Council she created the pioneering RED Unit which developed design led approaches to public service reform. In 2006 she started Participle, a ten-year project to develop new models of welfare.

Her recent book Radical Help: How we can remake the relationships between us and revolutionise the welfare state lays down her core ideas on how to rethink the welfare state away from managing scarcity and towards enhancing individual capabilities. At IIPP, her focus will be on developing the manifesto for social revolution 5.0. Hilary says,

"I’m delighted to be joining IIPP and to have this opportunity to develop the next stage of my work.  IIPP has created global energy around new forms of public policy and problem solving and I’m honoured to be invited to collaborate with the faculty and students."

Hilary’s research will be in close relation and dialog to the work of Honorary Professor Carlota Perez whose work looks at the relationship between technological, social and financial institutions.

IIPP welcomes Hilary to the institute with open arms, excited for our future leaders and policymakers to learn from her expertise. IIPP Director Mariana Mazzucato says,

"Every major technological revolution has been accompanied by a social revolution. Indeed, the former will not affect society without the latter. Making sure this connection leads to more inclusive growth is a key objective for IIPP and there is no better person than Hilary Cottam to lead this work in IIPP. We are thrilled to have her."

Hilary will be discussing her work in one of the first events marking the new collaboration between IIPP and the British Library, in a new series called Innovation and the Welfare State launching in May 2019.

Our MPA in Innovation, Public Purpose and Public Value focuses on developing an in-depth understanding of the economic of innovation, technological, social and institutional innovations, alongside cutting-edge thinking and practice around public administraion and governance, strategic design and digital transformation.