UCL News


New UCL partnership with OECD aims to drive public sector innovation

11 February 2019

UCL’s Institute for Innovation & Public Purpose (IIPP) has announced a new partnership with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), aimed at rethinking and driving innovation in the public sector.

Professor Mariana Mazzucato

The IIPP, led by Professor Mariana Mazzucato, will work closely with the OECD Observatory of Public Sector Innovation (OPSI) to develop new policy toolkits that help support countries to develop better policies and achieve public sector mission-oriented goals.

The partnership Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) sets out a framework for activity across several areas including markets and aligning policy and sector collaborations to deliver public value, with one of the focal points being the IIPP’s Mission-Oriented Innovation Network (MOIN).

This network brings together more than 30 leading global policy-making institutions including state investment banks, innovation agencies and strategic / sectoral units setting the strategic direction of governments as well as private organisations interested in public purpose.

Mission-oriented innovation occurs in service of an overarching goal, which could be societal or organisational. A mission has a clear outcome or overarching objective that guides relevant ecosystem players as they work together to innovate, learn and develop new knowledge to achieve it.

Professor Mazzucato, Director of IIPP said: “IIPP challenges people to imagine a new role for the public sector as an ambitious and entrepreneurial partner with the private sector.

“We are thrilled to be working with the OECD who share this vision and the belief that public organisations should not only fix markets, but actively co-create and shape them.”

Angel Gurrira, OECD Secretary-General said: “Joining the forces of the OECD and IIPP can create real synergies and help governments take the next step. We look forward to further strengthening our fast-growing and mutually beneficial co-operation. So that together, we can create tools and methods for policymakers that deliver a more inclusive and sustainable public value.”

Professor Rainer Kattel, Deputy Director of IIPP said: “Innovation in the public sector is too often seen through the prism of efficiency gains: getting more or less. However, at the time when so many fundamentals of the public sector are challenged – through ideology of austerity and transformational technological change – efficiency is a poor guide for innovations.

“Together with the OECD, we can create a new framework for public sector organisations to shape markets towards sustainability and rethink public services towards being inclusive.”

The OECD OPSI is a global forum for public sector innovation, working directly with governments to understand and encourage new approaches to address society’s complex problems.

The MOU was signed on Sunday 10 February at the World Government Summit in Dubai by IIPP Director Professor Mariana Mazzucato and OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria. Professor Mazzucato also took part in a panel discussion at the summit entitled “Transforming the Future: Creating value through government innovation”.



  • Professor Mariana Mazzucato.

Media contact

Kate Corry

Tel: +44 (0)20 3108 6995

Email: k.corry [at] ucl.ac.uk