Helping you respond wisely to the challenges of our time.
We live in a world facing many urgent, overlapping challenges. But we’re hopeful. There is no single answer to climate change, social justice or inequality, there’s an infinite number of them. That's why we need collective learning on a scale never seen before: to help us understand what works, where, for who and why.
We’re trusted by individuals, institutions and governments to help them learn, as fast as they can. That’s what we do. Because in an uncertain age we believe it’s the fastest learners who will flourish. Our role is to help you flourish.
We test your assumptions, facilitate your learning and act as your guides. We use experimentation, practice and reflection to create an environment that accelerates your understanding of what works, and what doesn’t.
Is that there are no silver bullets; that people understand the nuance of their own context better than anyone; and that every context is different. So we don’t offer ready-made solutions to your problems, we instead work those answers out together.
States of Change was initiated by the UK Foundation Nesta to help governments become better problem-solvers. We are now an independent not-for-profit with the same mission, based in Australia and operating around the world.
We are a core team and a global collective of accomplished multi-disciplinary fellows who have been doing innovation in organisations large and small for years.
Research and Communications Lead
James shares what we learn so others can learn too. He researches complex topics and cares about making them accessible in creative ways to others. He's driven by a fierce curiosity to understand how things work and why people behave the way they do. Before States of Change, James made documentaries that took him across the globe for the BBC and Channel 4 and has an MA in Cities and Society from Goldsmiths University, London.
Jesper is Co-founder and Executive Director at States of Change. He is first and foremost a public innovation thinker and practitioner, focused on dealing more effectively with public problems for the common good.
Previously he was Head of Strategy and Development in Nesta’s Innovation Skills team supporting governments build their innovation skills and explores new avenues in the fields of social, public and government innovation. Before Nesta, Jesper worked at Danish cross-public innovation unit MindLab for seven years. He founded and directed its research programme and managed MindLab’s international collaboration, working with and advising several governments, public agencies and international institutions.
Professor at UCL and former CEO of NestaUCL
For decades, Geoff has advocated for more experimental government and nurtured policymakers and politicians around the world to realise that vision. He had various roles in Tony Blair’s government including director of the Government's Strategy Unit and head of policy in the Prime Minister's office. Geoff was the first chief executive of The Young Foundation (2004 - 2011). He was the first director of the think-tank Demos; Chief Adviser to Gordon Brown MP and reporter on BBC TV and radio. He has helped set up many organisations including the Social Innovation Exchange, and has been CEO of Nesta since 2011.
When Geoff speaks, people listen. Today he advises governments, from the Mayor of Seoul to the Prime Minister’s office in the UAE, the Scottish Government and SITRA, the Finnish Innovation agency. He writes books and a summary of ideas Geoff has worked on can be found here.
Danish Design Centre
CEODanish Design Centre
Christian has been pivotal in creating the field of public innovation. He has inspired many through his radically generous approach to advocating for and illustrating how human-centred government could work. He’s the chief executive of the Danish Design Centre, where his role is to set their strategic direction and to look after their most demanding initiatives. Previously he was Director of MindLab, the Danish government's innovation team (2007-2014).
Christian likes to write; for magazines like Harvard Business Review, Stanford Social Innovation Review and the Danish business and political magazine Mandag Morgen. He has authored seven books on design, innovation and management, from Leading Public Design, to Leading Public Sector Innovation. He’s a visiting associate professor at several executive education institutions, including Oxford Saïd Business School, the European School of Administration, Copenhagen Business School and Aarhus University.
Service DirectorCornwall Council
Andrea is a pioneer in using design to make places, lives and communities better and has successfully embedded that mindset into the heart of the UK government. Andrea ran the UK’s Policy Lab since she founded it in 2014 until 2020. It enables civil servants from across government to experiment with new approaches to policy problems. Its exists as a recognition that government needs to get better at policy-making; open it up, make it quicker, more digital and more connected with the people who are affected by it. Before government, Andrea was an industrial designer by training, an early adopter of service design and Chief Design Officer of the Design Council.
Snowcone & Haystack
DirectorSnowcone & Haystack
Marco imagines and aspires to new horizons in government, and inspires others to embark on those journeys with him. He believes we can solve the complex challenges of today with a shift from trying to improve the efficiency of what was, to redesigning what could be.
Marco was Strategic Design Director at Sitra, the Finnish Innovation Fund (2008-2013). There he led Sitra’s Strategic Design capability and ran Helsinki Design Lab, a global initiative to help address today’s large scale strategic redesign and transformation needs; the Design Exchange Programme, which embedded designers within public sector organisations, and Low2No, a strategy to create a carbon-free urban development market in Finland. Take a look at the full overview of his work at Helsinki Design Lab. Prior to Sitra Marco was an Associate Professor at the Harvard Design School (1999-2009).
Department of Premier and Cabinet
Exec Director, Public Sector ReformDepartment of Premier and Cabinet
Sam works at the heart of one of Australia’s most innovative jurisdictions and wants to shift public servants’ views of their own ability to innovate. She is responsible for the Victorian Government’s Behavioural Insights Unit as well as a broader range of activities and functions to accelerate innovation across the Victorian public sector. Sam specialises in growing innovative business and driving change in mature organisations, and has held senior executive roles in corporate development, risk management, strategy and operations at Australia Post, Bendigo Bank and Fairfax Digital. She has also worked as a management consultant across both the public and private sector and is a master of negotiating and manoeuvering.
Co-Founder & Executive DirectorUNIT
Juan Felipe was in charge of the pioneering Laboratorio de Gobierno, the first national innovation laboratory in Latin America, where he was also its first executive director (2015 - 2018). He has created innovation systems, designed new services and created innovative environments in complex organisations. Juan Felipe has an MPA in Public and Social Policy from the London School of Economics. His experience is in management in public and social institutions. He was Executive Director of the NGO Work on the Street and Chief of Staff of the Mayor of Peñalolén, as well as a researcher at the Center for Cities, a think-tank researching how to improve the economic performance of cities in the United Kingdom.
Social Innovation Exchange
Exec DirectorSocial Innovation Exchange
As leader of the Social Innovation exchange or ‘SIX’ for over a decade, Louise has a unique global vantage point of the evolution of the public and social innovation community. She facilitates cross-sector conversations that challenge people to advance the field of social innovation. She gets people together and gets them working on the things that matter. Louise leads a team to advance the field of social innovation through major programmes of work with foundations, universities, corporates and governments. Louise is building SIX's work to advance culture change within organisations.
Relentlessly challenging business as usual, Dom is committed to changing the world; cultural transformation of government lies at the centre.
Dom is a digital government entrepreneur with a background in organisation design and digital transformation. His five years implementing large change initiatives within local government led to him co-founding FutureGov in 2008 to bring human-centred design and digital technology into the heart of public sector transformation programmes. Major projects include; large-scale reinventions of children’s social care technology; a multi-year digital transformation project with Essex County Council; and leading the organisational redesign of Homes England as interim Chief Digital Officer. He advises all levels of government internationally from the USA to Australia and the UAE, and has taught at a range of business schools including Harvard's Kennedy School in the USA, INSEAD in France and IMD in Switzerland.
Millie is a ninja, innovating through the cracks of one of the world’s largest bureaucracies, the UN system. Millie eats Dark Matter for breakfast.
She’s bringing innovation to development - one person, and one experiment at a time. She works with teams to find out new ways of tackling stubborn problems, test out fresh ideas and new perspectives. From designing and testing a new approach to ‘scaling up’ in development, borrowing principles from sciences (biology, ecology, cognitive science and psychology) and introducing a new method - micro-narratives - for weak signal detection, analysis of underlying causes of development issues, and impact evaluation. Ran UNDP’s first challenge prize with Nesta on renewable energy and then took part in drafting UNDP’s first corporate policy on innovation challenge prizes. She’s at home working in social innovation, change management, foresight and complexity science (and plenty else) and has a PhD.
Public Policy Lab
Executive DirectorPublic Policy Lab
Chelsea embeds a radical human-centred vision of societal change into her work dealing with some of the world’s most wicked challenges. She’s a social scientist and designer with a focus on public-sector innovation. She directs the Public Policy Lab, a New York City-based nonprofit organization that designs better public services for low-income and at-risk Americans. Prior to co-founding the Public Policy Lab, Chelsea led a community-development organization, oversaw government partnerships at a public-space advocacy nonprofit, and consulted to municipal and federal agencies. She is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and the London School of Economics.
Department of the Premier and Cabinet, South Australia
Executive Director of Strategy and PolicyDepartment of the Premier and Cabinet, South Australia
Brenton is the Executive Director of Strategy and Policy in the Department of the Premier and Cabinet, South Australia. Before that, he lead States of Change, and before that Nesta's work globally to help people and organisations get better at innovating for the common good. He regularly presents to and advises national governments and global organisations on a wide range of issues relating to social and public sector innovation. Brenton was the founding CEO of The Australian Centre for Social Innovation, and previously held executive positions with the South Australian Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Government Reform Commission and WorkCover.
Co-Lab Design & Behavioural Insights Unit
DirectorCo-Lab Design & Behavioural Insights Unit
Hefen co-founded and co-leads the Behavioural Insights and Design Unit in the Ministry of Manpower. Here, she combines behavioural insights, data analytics and design thinking to improve the way citizens are served. Hefen has also worked in New York and London as a Research Fellow with the Public Policy Lab, Parsons DESIS Lab and the Behavioural Insights Team. Prior to experimenting with behavioural insights and randomised controlled trials, Hefen undertook research to understand the migration journey and challenges of transient migrants working in Singapore. Through human-centric design and legislative reforms, she worked on improving the employment conditions and well-being of migrant workers in Singapore.
Paulo has 25 years of professional experience and a background in Electrical and Computers Engineering, enriched by post-graduate degrees in Management and in Investments & Financial Markets. This set of skills, in the areas of technology, management, and finance, allows him to help companies innovate in their business models and take advantage of digital transformation.
Paulo was Senior Advisor to the Minister of the Presidency and Administrative Modernization in the Portuguese Government, having been responsible for driving Public Sector Innovation, ICT Strategy and the creation of competency centers in the Legal and Digital areas. During that assignment, Paulo created LabX, the experimentation Lab for the Portuguese Public Administration with the purpose of embedding an innovative culture within the public administration.
Beth is a powerhouse in governance innovation and thinking differently about how governments should be to fit the 21st century. She directs the Governance Lab (GovLab) and its MacArthur Research Network on Opening Governance. At the GovLab, she works on better governance programmes, including work with public institutions on public engagement in lawmaking (CrowdLaw), expert-sourcing innovative solutions to hard problems (Smarter Crowdsourcing) and co-creation between cities and citizens (City Challenges). She also coaches "public entrepreneurs”.
She is a Professor in Technology, Culture, and Society and affiliated faculty at the Center for Urban Science and Progress at New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering, and a Fellow at NYU’s Institute for Public Knowledge. New Jersey governor Phil Murphy appointed her as the state’s first Chief Innovation Officer in 2018.
Beth served in the White House as the first United States Deputy Chief Technology Officer and director of the White House Open Government Initiative under President Obama. UK Prime Minister David Cameron appointed her senior advisor for Open Government.
Head of Asia Pacific Regional Innovation CenterUNDP
Giulio connects ambitious ideas about institutional transformation to real-life practical efforts. He is an experimentalist and an avid collector of ‘development mutants’. Giulio’s currently working on an ambitious accelerator lab development programme at the UNDP.
He’s worked at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Center for Government Innovation and at Nesta advising international development and public sector organisations on the implementation of their innovation strategies. Prior to joining Nesta, Giulio managed the Jakarta Lab of the UN Global Pulse, a flagship innovation initiative of the United Nations Secretary-General on big data for public policy. He also set up UNDP's first innovation practice with a focus on Eurasia.
MaRS Solutions Lab
VP of Systems Innovation & Program DirectorMaRS Solutions Lab
Alex brings a potent blend of strategic, design and systems thinking and isn’t afraid to think big about the societal shifts required for people and planet to thrive.
He brings diverse groups of participants together to jointly innovate on society’s most complex and important challenges. Alex is co-founder of the innovation and collaboration agency Synthetikos Inc and also co-founded Alberta CoLab, the first provincial government innovation lab in Canada. He is an executive-in-residence at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, where he developed a new course: Designing in a Whitewater World. As a consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton, Alex Ryan previously helped introduce operational and strategic design into the U.S. Army.
He is co-founder of the Systemic Design Research Network and serves on several boards, including the Privy Council Office’s Innovation Hub Advisory Committee for the Government of Canada. His dissertation in applied mathematics advanced a multidisciplinary approach to complex systems design.
La 27e Région
Co-founder and directorLa 27e Région
Stéphane has been hacking French administrations for over a decade and shifting practice across France and beyond.
Stéphane directs the French ‘action-tank’ La 27e Région. It explores new ways to improve public policies and policy making, inspired by service design, ethnography, open source and "makers" cultures since 2008. Its activity consists of projects run in close partnership with governments and a community of cross-disciplinary professionals. It’s a hub for the French community in the field of public sector innovation, and they co-run an open space called “Superpublic” based in Paris.
With a background in management and innovation, Stéphane's first experience within the public sector was in 1995. Seven years later, he became an associate in a consultant agency focused on the public sector. He’s a regular speaker at national and international events, and writes and contributes to many books and reports.
Sasha has led possibly the most important work in innovation in procurement around the world, reinventing how cities use their resources to better serve the public. Today, more than 100 global cities from Barcelona to New York and London to Rio de Janeiro have used Citymart. Sascha trained as an architect at the Architectural Association in London and worked in urban projects across Europe, Latin America and Asia working with leading architecture and engineering firms. In 2003 he co-founded Living Labs Global, a non-profit organization to promote service innovation in cities.
School of International Futures
Co-FounderSchool of International Futures
Cat is one of the world’s leading futures thinkers and can link visions for the future with the work of today. She has advised the UK parliament on an inquiry into Government Strategic Capability, worked on the US NIC Global Trends 2030 report, as well as consulted and trained senior officials from governments and companies around the world. She is on the UN Sustainable Development Goal 16 Advisory Panel. She was Strategy Project Director at the UK FCO and Senior Policy Adviser in the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit. She previously worked for Christian Aid, Proctor and Gamble, and the World Bank.
The Australian Centre for Social Innovation
Chief Innovation OfficerThe Australian Centre for Social Innovation
Chris is one of the true originals of social design and is relentless in pursuing its evolution and adoption to make people’s lives better. Chris makes sure that TACSI keeps experimenting with approaches and interventions that will define our future social systems like the award winning peer-to-peer models, Family by Family and Weavers. He helped design the Double Diamond at the Design Council one of the most common representation of a design process in use today. He was a founding member of both the UK Design Council’s RED Unit and Participle – who’s pioneering experiments using design to tackle social policy problems are chronicled in the book Radical Help by Hillary Cottam. He used to design razors and biscuits.
School of Systems Change
DirectorSchool of Systems Change
UK / Global
Anna keeps a holistic view of the challenges we’re facing, enabling her systems change approach to radically shift the ways of working in institutions, governments and NGOs.
Anna leads work that seeks to cultivate, equip and connect a growing number of individuals to deliver system change. She wants people to have the capabilities to lead system change initiatives, through flexible access to learning experiences, curating of resources whilst also building the global community of system change practitioners into a purposeful learning system. She works to help accelerate the impact required to address the complex challenges of our times. Anna brings her practical experience of equipping people and organisations with cutting edge tools for system change, and deeper thinking and inquiry from her PhD.
Ministry of Modernisation
Under Secretary Public InnovationMinistry of Modernisation
Rudi has managed what most haven’t: to lead innovation agendas to the highest level of government and embed innovative approaches as a way of working. He has over a decade of experience working in the digital realm. He is the creator and former director of the Innovation Lab and Open Government at the Buenos Aires City Government. He manages a team exploring new ways to connect and accelerate civic projects through the use of data visualization, sensors and design thinking. He cares about Open Government and its benefits for citizens.
UNDP Accelerator Lab Network
Lead Learning DesignerUNDP Accelerator Lab Network
Intensely curious and generous, Bas has helped to bring greater rigour in learning practice to innovation practitioners around the world. Bas is helping build the world’s largest and fastest learning network around development challenges with the UNDP. Whether online or face-to-face – he makes sure that learning is high quality, impactful, and fun! He has worked in this capacity for UNDP, UN Women, USAID, MAMPU, OECD, Mohammed Bin Rashid Centre for Government Innovation and Laboratorio de Gobierno, to name a few. Bas has taught on areas from design research, design theory, service design, interaction design and visual design. His research focused on design education and human-centred design methods and tools.
Chief Design OfficerDesign Council
Cat combines broad experience of government with deep technical expertise, fuelled by a fervent desire to work with others to make the world a better place.
At Design Council, Cat brings together architecture and the built environment, public sector design and business innovation to help people live healthier, happier and safer lives. Cat worked at FutureGov and Uscreates, was a co-founder of the UK Government’s Policy Lab, and combines 10 years of experience as a government civil servant with an MA in Graphic Design. She speaks widely about the value of design and co-presents BBC Radio 4’s The Fix, a series where young creative people offer solutions for social problems such as alcohol abuse and childhood obesity. She is a member of The Point People. She’s talked at TedX on making government better and how design can challenge the status quo at the RSA.
Shatha operates at the heart of one of the most ambitious governments in the world, working daily to convert ambition into impact. She has been a civil servant in both Federal and local government of the United Arab Emirates. At the Mohammed Bin Rashid Center for Government Innovation she leads teams in the development, design, and launch of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) on Innovation in Government. These build on the United Arab Emirates’ expertise and leadership in the arena of innovative government and governance. Shatha also cares deeply about social entrepreneurship and is passionate about youth development. She is a graduate of the International Education Policy Program at Harvard University and the Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Government.
University for Applied Sciences Leiden
Vice President of the Executive BoardUniversity for Applied Sciences Leiden
Joeri is an accomplished and motivating public innovator with an ability to spark new initiatives wherever he goes. He is a longtime social innovator fascinated by our society’s transition towards the knowledge society. Being a systems thinker, he likes to work on wicked problems and find innovative solutions with others. Joeri co-founded Kennisland, one of the leading change labs in the Netherlands and Europe. He also co-founded the KafkaBrigade, a research team that helps governments tackle red tape.
He regularly advises, speaks and teaches on how to create system change. Joeri has worked with organizations like the Young Foundation in the UK and serves on the board of the Lisbon Council, the leading European think tank on innovation and growth.
Mayor's Office of Bogotá
Environmental Culture team leadMayor's Office of Bogotá
Javier is an inspiring public innovation thinker and doer that has successfully managed to embed a more innovative culture in ingrained bureaucratic environments. He currently works as the Environmental Culture team lead in the Department of Culture of the Mayor's Office of Bogotá, and as an advisor for projects related to public and social innovation. He recently worked as coordinator of the Public Innovation Team at the National Planning Department and as a co-founder of Círcula, an organization that creates circular economy solutions focusing on behavior and culture. He studied philosophy at the National University and has a master’s degree in philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania and a master's degree in public policy from the Hertie School.
Lead, Innovation TeamsBloomberg Philanthropies
At Bloomberg Philanthropies, Stephanie helps local governments around the world develop and implement strategies for issues like murder reduction, homelessness, economic development, infrastructure, and other complex problems. Using an “innovation” framework that emphasizes design and behavioral methods to better understand human experiences, rigorous and insightful analysis to synthesize and make sense of data and creativity to quickly develop and implement effective solutions. She creates cultures, strategies, experiences, services, products and processes that make the world a better place. She’s also a photographer and artist.
Director of Design & ForesightAlberta CoLab
Keren is the Director and co-founder of Alberta CoLab, a permanent design team within the Department of Energy. The CoLab is an evolving experiment. Its mission: advance the use of new and emerging approaches for building policy – such as systems thinking, strategic foresight, and lab practices – to wrap collective thinking around our messiest/complex challenges and bring great ideas to life. For Keren, this is a dream job that’s all about embracing a “Business-as-Unusual” way of working that requires and values difference and diversity, creativity, shared exploration, and the space to ask “what if?”. Keren would say her superpower is helping individuals come together and to take the creative leap.
The National Lottery Community Fund
Head of Digital FundThe National Lottery Community Fund
Cassie is the quintessential systems thinker, helping to reimagine the purpose of systems. Generous, reflective and mindful of how power and privilege can impact social change.
She is the Head of Digital Grant Making at the National Lottery Community Fund, where she leads a £15 Million Digital Fund to help the social sector transition to be fit for the future. She’s an incredible network weaver. Cassie was the Strategic Design Director at Doteveryone, where her work focussed on ways of strengthening society - people, communities and organisations - to build a new social contract for the digital age. She is also the Co-founder of the Point People, helping organisations work together wisely and systemically to address the large, complex issues of our time. She’s also a fellow at the Institute of Innovation and Public Purpose at UCL with Mariana Mazzucato. She's a prolific blogger.
Ryan combines rigour with heart; a desire to improve systems, policy and practice with a deep appreciation of the value of people, communities and relationships. He does startups, strategy and social change. He has more than a decade of experience in all three. In addition to Hinterland, he's an associate at The Australian Centre for Social Innovation where he's worked for the past five years designing strategy, policy and programs for social change organisations. Ryan has worked for a digital healthcare startup connecting patients to doctors, an online collaboration startup in London, and a primary school software startup in Austin. He’s helped the global non-profit Ashoka accelerate social innovation in US cities, design a stove for rural Guatemalan families, and a product to reduce HIV transmission in Africa.
Auckland Co-Design Lab
Co-design LeadAuckland Co-Design Lab
Penny is a passionate believer in the value of authentic participatory practice. She helps organisations and teams to apply co-design and design-led approaches to the design of strategy, programs, policies and services and to build their co-design capability. Over the last 15 years she has designed and led a range of participatory and social innovation initiatives in Australia and New Zealand working across community, commercial and academic sectors. Penny specialises in projects with social outcomes and provides training and mentoring to design teams and organisations wanting to increase their social impact through the adoption of more participatory design and research approaches.
Founder and principalExperimentalista
Gabriella was Chief Creative Officer of Mexico City. She founded and directed Laboratorio para la Ciudad, the award-winning experimental and creative office of the Mexico City government, reporting to the Mayor. While there, she crowdsourced the Mexico City Constitution. Today she directs Experimentalista, a novel type of creative studio specialised in cities, public imagination and system change.
A talented journalist, visual artist, creative advisor and director of documentary films, Gabriella is a winner of countless awards. She's a MIT Director’s Fellow, a Yale World Fellow, a TED Senior Fellow, an Institute for the Future Fellow, a Salzburg Seminar Fellow, a Fabrica Alumni, and a World Cities Summit Young Leader. Gabriella is also part of the international advisory committee for the Mayor of Seoul on Social Innovation, NACTO’s Streets for Kids, the XXII Triennale of Milan, C4’s Knowledge Hub, and UNDP’s Lab Accelerator. Gabriella was recently named one of the 100 most creative people in business by Fast Company magazine.
Nicole is a strategic designer at PaperGiant. She worked at States of Change and turned our ambitions into real things; she produced a 3-week global festival, an online bootcamp and a bookclub and was responsible for the learning intent of our work. Nicole has spent her career working at the edges of government, design and possibility. She also worked at Nesta and prior to that ANZSOG. Nicole holds an honours degree in Anthropology and is currently completing a Masters of Design Futures at RMIT. As a white, middle-class, able-bodied woman, living on Wurundjeri land, Nicole is constantly learning and unlearning how to be a meaningful ally.
We cover work from labs and governments, resources, insights from the community and anything else we think worth knowing. We also share news from States of Change, like our events, workshops and programs. People tell us it's:
"A constant source of inspiration" and "an incredible wealth of information!"
We hope you agree and you can see our previous newsletters to decide.
We won’t ever share your details, and you can unsubscribe at any time.