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Geoff Mulgan

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Geoff Mulgan
Mulgan on 24 May 2011
Geoffrey John Mulgan

1961 (age 62–63)
Alma materBalliol College, Oxford, University of Westminster
Employer(s)BBC, NESTA
Political partyLabour Party

Sir Geoffrey John Mulgan CBE (born 1961) is Professor of Collective Intelligence, Public Policy and Social Innovation at University College London (UCL). From 2011 to 2019 he was chief executive of the National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts (NESTA) and visiting professor at University College London, the London School of Economics, and the University of Melbourne.


Mulgan obtained a first-class degree from Balliol College, Oxford[1] and a PhD in telecommunications from the University of Westminster. He was also a fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and trained as a Buddhist monk in Sri Lanka.[2]


Mulgan worked for a spell in the 1980s as a van driver for the "Labour-supporting collective of musicians and comedians known as Red Wedge",[3] opting ultimately for a career in local government and academia in the UK as well as writing on social and political issues in various newspapers and magazines in the 1990s, including The Independent, the Financial Times, The Guardian, and the New Statesman. He also worked as a reporter for BBC television and radio.

In January 2020, he was appointed as Professor of Collective Intelligence, Public Policy and Social Innovation at University College London, to lead research into collective intelligence.[4] Also in 2020, he joined the Nordic think tank Demos Helsinki as a fellow.[5]

Earlier roles include:

He has founded or co-founded many organisations, including: Demos, the Young Foundation, the Social Innovation Exchange (SIX), Uprising, Studio Schools Trust, Action for Happiness, the Alliance for Useful Evidence, States of Change, The Australian Centre for Social Innovation, Maslaha and Nesta Italia. He is a founding editor-in-chief of the journal Collective Intelligence, published by Sage and ACM.

He has been chair of various organisations including the Social Innovation Exchange; Involve; Nesta Italia; and the Studio Schools Trust. He was co-chair of the London LEP Digital, Science, Technology and Arts group under then London Mayor Boris Johnson. He has been a board member of Big Society Capital and a trustee of charities including Action for Happiness; the Photographers' Gallery; Reimagine Europa; Luton Culture Trust; the Design Council, the Work Foundation, Crime Concern, and Political Quarterly, and a member of various committees for bodies including the European Commission, World Economic Forum, OECD, SITRA and the Academy of Medical Sciences.

In 2007–2008 Mulgan was an Adelaide Thinker in Residence, advising South Australian Premier Mike Rann on social innovation and social inclusion policies.[9] As a result of Mulgan's recommendations, the Rann Government established The Australian Centre for Social Innovation. From 2016 to 2019, Mulgan was a senior visiting scholar at the Ash Center in the Kennedy School at Harvard University. From 2019 to 2022 he was a World Economic Forum Schwab Fellow.

Mulgan is profiled in two books: The New Alchemists (1999, by Charles Handy), and Visionaries (2001, by Jay Walljasper). He was profiled by the Daily Telegraph in January 2024, prompted by evidence that when in government he had tried to cancel the Horizon Post Office software which later caused a series of miscarriages of justice and a major scandal.[10]


Mulgan has written a number of books, including Communication and Control: Networks and the New Economies of Communication (1991), Politics in an Anti-Political Age (1994), Connexity (1997), Good and Bad Power: the Ideals and Betrayals of Government (Penguin, 2006), The Art of Public Strategy (2009), The Locust and the Bee (Princeton, 2013), Big Mind: how collective intelligence can change our world (Princeton, 2017); Social innovation: how societies find the power to change (Policy Press, 2019); Another World is Possible: how to reignite social and political imagination (Hurst/Oxford University Press, 2022); and When Science Meets Power' (Polity Press, 2024). His books have been translated into many languages.

He has written numerous reports and pamphlets for Demos, the Young Foundation, Nesta, and Demos Helsinki. He has lectured and advised several governments on policy and strategy, and given TED talks on the global economy, education, and happiness.

Honours and awards[edit]

Mulgan was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2004 Birthday Honours for his work at the Prime Minister's Office.[11] He was knighted in the 2020 Birthday Honours for services to the creative economy.[12]

In 2010, he was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Social Science by Nottingham Trent University.[13] He was awarded an honorary fellowship by Cardiff University in 2022.


  1. ^ Barr, Ann (9 March 1997). "The swot who knows best". The Independent. Retrieved 4 April 2024.
  2. ^ Jay Walljasper, Visionaries, Utne Books, 2001, and Charles Handy, The New Alchemists, Random House, 1999.
  3. ^ Harris, John (26 May 2006). "Geoff Mulgan is the ultimate New Labourite". The Guardian.
  4. ^ a b "UCL STEaPP welcomes Professor Geoff Mulgan". UCL Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy. 13 January 2020. Retrieved 4 April 2024.
  5. ^ Leppänen, Juha (8 April 2020). "Geoff Mulgan joins Demos Helsinki as a Fellow: "We need social imagination to come out of this crisis"". Demos Helsinki. Retrieved 13 March 2021.
  6. ^ a b "NESTA appoints new Chief Executive". NESTA. 22 February 2011. Archived from the original on 26 February 2011 – via Internet Archive.
  7. ^ Wintour, Patrick; White, Michael (4 September 2003). "Blair pins hopes on sweeping policy changes". The Guardian.
  8. ^ UK Who's Who 2006.
  9. ^ "Adelaide Thinkers in Residence". Archived from the original on 26 January 2014. Retrieved 2014-01-22.
  10. ^ Rayner, Gordon (26 January 2024). "'I told Blair to cancel Horizon in 1998 – even I could see it was likely to go wrong'". The Telegraph.
  11. ^ "No. 57315". The London Gazette (Supplement). 12 June 2004. p. 8.
  12. ^ "No. 63135". The London Gazette (Supplement). 10 October 2020. p. B2.
  13. ^ Nottingham Trent University (21 July 2010). "Dr Geoff Mulgan - NTU Honorary Graduate - 19th July 2010" – via YouTube.

External links[edit]