Tuesday 10 September 2019


Mariana Mazzucato

Missions and moonshots: rethinking innovation

How can we turn the talk about rethinking ‘purpose’ in business into a real moonshot?

A more purposeful capitalism requires more than just letters, speeches and goodwill gestures. Business, government and civil society must act together, courageously, to ensure that their walk is as good as their talk.

Mariana is a critic of mainstream thinking in economics which assumes policy can, at best, ‘fix’ market failures. She argues that a more dynamic approach is needed to co-create and shape markets: strategic public sector investment can catalyse economic activity, crowd-in the private sector, spark innovation, solve public problems, and lay the foundations for future economic growth.

In this process, there are important lessons that we can take from the ‘mission-oriented’ investments of the past, such as the Apollo space programme.

Mariana Mazzucato

Mariana is Professor in the Economics of Innovation and Public Value at UCL where she is Founding Director of the Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose  (IIPP).

Her work is focused on the relationship between innovation and the direction of growth, with emphasis on building symbiotic partnerships that can create a form of growth that is more innovation-led, inclusive and sustainable.

She is author of numerous award winning works including The Entrepreneurial State: Debunking Public vs. Private Sector Myths and The Value of Everything: making and taking in the global economy.

Her mission work has recently come together in a high impact report for the European Union Mission Oriented Research and Innovation in the European Union: a problem solving approach to fuel innovation led growth.

The mission of the UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose (IIPP)  is to change how public value is imagined, practiced and evaluated to tackle societal challenges. IIPP rethinks the role of the state: rather than being just a market fixer, it can be an active co-creator of value.

IIPP’s research and teaching helps create the new economic thinking and practical tools to make this a reality.