Transform Development Cooperation Through Collective Intelligence

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Ravi Gurumurthy and Kathy Peach of NESTA outline the priorities for the UK’s role in global innovation, science and technology, to strengthen the UK’s contribution to tackling the most pressing global challenges.

Whether as a bridge between Europe and the US, or as a ‘Global Britain’, UK political leaders have defined our post-empire role as fostering cooperation. Every global crisis in the past 20 years, from 9/11 and the financial crisis to the coronavirus pandemic, has illustrated the interdependence that demands cooperation. Yet growing geopolitical tensions make traditional forms of cooperation ever harder.

In this essay, we argue that building the platforms that support collaboration is critical to the UK’s long-term future. But instead of the traditional focus on pooling financial or military assets, we need to focus on the intangible assets that drive modern knowledge economies – data, software and computational power. In the same way that the pandemic has seen unprecedented sharing of knowledge in real time, the UK should invest in supporting the infrastructure of what we describe as ‘collective intelligence’.

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Ravi Gurumurthy

Chief Executive of Nesta

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Kathy Peach

Director and co-founder of the Centre for Collective Intelligence Design, Nesta

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