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Sunday, 25. August 2019  

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Attacking the recession

Attacking the recession

NESTA is publishing this paper to contribute to and stimulate the wider discussion of what the recession means for the UK and how we should respond.

This is just the first of NESTA’s planned contributions to this debate. Our aim is to focus on the short-term measures we can take to combat the recession which will feed our longer-term strength as an economy and society. The more we can use the short-term crisis to address and accelerate our adjustment to longer-term challenges, the better.

That means we need a strategy to attack the recession, not just to respond to it. Innovation – in business, communities and public services – needs to be at the heart of that attack. The UK should aim to emerge as a more innovative, greener, more sustainable and diversified economy.

The UK will need new growth sectors to make up for the dynamism that has been lost from financial services. The development of those growth sectors will require a mix of intelligent public investment, partnership with business and entrepreneurship. Decisive government leadership and public investment will be critical to innovation in many fields, from scientific research to cultural funding.


A clear lead from government across its range of functions, in a policy context supportive of innovation, has enabled other economies to develop new, high-growth
sectors and meet social challenges.

The biggest gains for society will be found in those sectors that both offer the most immediate growth potential, drawing on the UK’s existing strengths, and help meet long-term challenges: green energy, environmental services, biotechnology, and services for an ageing society. These need to form part of a national economic strategy able to set long-term goals, and with the political credibility to help deliver them.

But this approach needs to be combined with a mass of decentralised, entrepreneurial activity, searching for new markets and opportunities.

It follows that the UK needs a 'total innovation' strategy that draws together public and private, social and commercial innovation and entrepreneurship. The recession will create a new platform of growth if business entrepreneurs emerge to take opportunities in new growth industries and social entrepreneurs address emerging social challenges.

Download the full report:
Attacking the Recession (PDF, 192 KB) 







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