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Making an impact

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The Bartlett's Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose hit the ground running in 2018, publishing nine new working papers, three policy reports, three policy briefs and two books.

Making an impact

European Commissioner Carlos Moedas announces a research and innovation programme for the next EU budgets  with Professor Mariana Mazzucato's ‘mission-oriented’ framework a core part of the programme.

Our working paper ‘The Economics of Change’ was a first step towards one of IIPP’s key ‘missions’: the creation of a new analytical framework for evaluating market-shaping policy.

Josh Ryan-Collins

On Thursday 2 May 2019, The Bartlett’s Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose (IIPP) will hold the first of six public lectures that make up its 2019 series, ‘Innovation and the Welfare State: Rethinking Public Services for the 21st Century’, and marks the second time in its short history that IIPP has partnered with the British Library on a major run of events.

IIPP’s growing public profile has been matched by a busy research output. In 2018 – the institute’s first full year since it launched – it produced nine new working papers, three policy reports, three policy briefs and two books, as well as peer-reviewed papers and co-authored works. IIPP’s Head of Research, Josh Ryan-Collins, reviews the year:

Winter

The research year kicked off examining the economic impact of mission-oriented innovation spending as compared to standard government revenue and capital spending. The paper, written by IIPP Fellow Matteo Deleidi and IIPP Director Professor Mariana Mazzucato, found that the former policies have the potential to generate the largest economic multiplier (what we called a ‘supermultiplier’) and the highest expectations of future growth opportunities for business, stimulating long-term investment and consumption. The paper was an output of on ongoing project with the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, with more to come in 2019.

Making an impact

'Why Can't you Afford a Home?' by Josh Ryan-Collins argues that policymakers need to rethink their approach to the housing affordability crisis to address the drivers of speculative demand.

Credit: Toa Heftiba for Unsplash

February was a busy month. Mariana launched her ‘Missions’ policy report providing strategic recommendations to maximise the impact of the future €80bn EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation through mission-oriented policy; the report’s findings were later given legal status following a vote of the European Parliament. A few days later, IIPP published a major new policy report reviewing the design features of eight state investment banks from countries and regions across the world, and the role that each bank plays in supporting mission-oriented finance its respective economy. The report was part of IIPP’s advisory work to support the creation of the new Scottish National Investment Bank (SNIB) and was referenced in the implementation plan for the bank published on 28 February 2018.

Spring

IIPP Deputy Director Rainer Kattel published a co-authored working paper in March proposing a new evolutionary analytical framework for conceptualising how the public sector can direct innovation towards meeting grand challenges, examining the cases of three ‘Asian Tigers’: South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore.

April saw the launch of Mariana’s new book The Value of Everything, which calls on economists and policymakers to rethink notions of value and wealth creation in modern economies. The book was shortlisted for that year’s Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year, and Mariana has presented it to audiences from across the world.

The summer saw the institute’s focus move to the challenge of how to finance the transition to a low-carbon economy.

Josh Ryan-Collins

Summer

The summer saw the institute’s focus move to the challenge of how to finance the transition to a low-carbon economy. An article in Nature Climate Change, co-authored by myself, set out the challenging agenda facing central banks in supporting this transition, while a new working paper written by IIPP Fellow Gregor Semieniuk and Mariana examined the role of finance in directing innovation in the green energy sector.

In August, our working paper ‘The Economics of Change’ was a first step towards one of IIPP’s key ‘missions’: the creation of a new analytical framework for evaluating market-shaping policy, as opposed to the dominant ‘market-fixing’ model currently followed by most governments. We tested out the findings at a roundtable involving senior civil servants working in HM Treasury and the Department of Business, Enterprise and Industrial Strategy.

Later in the month, IIPP Fellow Charlie Leadbeater developed IIPP’s thinking on the role of civil society in support the development of missions with a new paper, drawing on the fascinating case of the development of the contraceptive pill.

An emerging theme for IIPP is how the public sector can better coordinate its key agencies and ministries in pursuit of missions that transform the economy. I published a new co-authored paper later in August 2018, ‘Bringing the Helicopter to Ground’, arguing for strong cooperation between central banks and ministries of finance to support the macroeconomy, not least in times of crisis and recession.

Making an impact

'The People's Prescription' proposes concrete policy actions to better shape affordable healthcare for everyone.

Credit: Unsplash

The paper drew on a number of little-known historical examples to illustrate how this could be done without incurring negative outcomes, such as consumer-price inflation or the asset-price inflation that has dogged recent Quantitative Easing (QE) programmes. We also published a complementary policy briefing arguing that fiscal policy needed to take a stronger role in making monetary stimulus programs more effective.

The remarkable story of Estonia’s digital transformation of its public sector, an achievement that is recognised globally as exemplary, was the topic of IIPP’s September working paper. In it, Rainer, himself Estonian, argues the success originated in, and is sustained by, informal and decentralised public-private networks underlying several public organisations through multiple coalition governments over two decades.

The remarkable story of Estonia’s digital transformation of its public sector, an achievement that is recognised globally as exemplary, was the topic of IIPP’s September working paper.

Josh Ryan-Collins

This theme of dynamic public-sector innovation continued with the publication of a special edition of the academic journal Industrial and Corporate Change dedicated to ‘Mission-oriented Innovation Policy and dynamic capabilities in the public sector’, co-edited by Mariana and Rainer. The issue included previous IIPP working papers as well as contributions from a range of international specialists.

Autumn

Two of the UK’s most pressing problems, housing and healthcare, were on IIPP’s research agenda later in October. I published a new book, Why Can’t you Afford a Home?, arguing that policymakers need to rethink their approach to the housing affordability crisis to address the drivers of speculative demand, in particular a deregulated banking system, as well as just focusing on supply-side issues.

Later in the month, we launched a major new report, ‘The People’s Prescription’, with a number of civil society partners. The report maps the fault lines of the current health system and proposes concrete policy actions that can be taken in the long-term to actively shape and co-create better health for all the population and deliver real public value.

IIPP’s final research output of 2018 was ‘Credit where it’s due’, co-authored by myself and economists Dirk Bezemer, Frank van Lerven and Lu Zhang. The paper examines the theoretical, historical and empirical evidence of the effectiveness of ‘credit guidance’ policies, whereby governments or central banks direct bank credit towards desirable sectors of the economy and repress lending towards more speculative sectors. The authors found these policies, which include an important role for state investment banks, had been successful in the past and should be considered again today to support sustainable and inclusive growth.

IIPP’s Bartlett 100 lecture series runs from 2 May to 27 June 2019 at the British Library. This is an edited extract of ‘IIPP research impact: a year in review’ by Josh Ryan-Collins first published on the IIPP blog.

The Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose has a mission to change how public value is imagined, practiced and evaluated to tackle societal challenges and achieve economic growth that is more innovation-led, sustainable and inclusive. It is part of The Bartlett, UCL's Faculty of the Environment. Find out more: https://ucl.ac.uk/bartlett/public-purpose

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