A discussion around the way forward towards a UK innovation landscape that truly reflects the diversity and skills of our society.

On Monday 5 November 2018, Nesta is hosting Breaking the Mould: Fostering Diversity in Innovation to discuss ways to support young people from diverse backgrounds to become innovators.

Inventors and innovators create the new products and services that improve lives. But they come from a narrow section of society: typically, wealthy and white. In the UK, just 7% of patents filed between 1986 and 2016 name a woman as an inventor, while founders of innovative startups are overwhelmingly male. We’re missing out on a lot of talent, and change isn’t happening quickly enough.

So what can be done? Research by the US-based Equality of Opportunity Project has suggested that exposure to innovation in childhood has a significant effect on the likelihood of becoming an inventor later in life. There are already many organisations working on different parts of this agenda, from those aiming to improve diversity and inclusion in STEM careers to those promoting invention and entrepreneurship among disadvantaged young people.

We will discuss:

  • Can we better coordinate efforts and ideas across sectors?
  • What new evidence do we need?
  • And what roles could education and innovation policy play in supporting change?

This event will convene policymakersacademicspractitioners and school leaders to hear about Nesta’s research on this topic and discuss the way forward towards a UK innovation landscape that truly reflects the diversity and skills of our society. With confirmed keynote from Prof John Van Reenen, Professor of Applied Economics at MIT and co-author of the Equality of Opportunity Project research, and many other speakers to be announced, we are excited to invite you to join the discussion.

Registration opens at 12:30, with the event starting promptly at 13:00 and finishing at 15:45. A light lunch will be provided.


Prof John Van Reenen

Professor of Applied Economics, MIT

This is a free event, you can register your interest for it here.

About Nesta

We back new ideas to tackle the big challenges of our time: from the pressures of an ageing population to stretched public services and a fast changing jobs market.