Innovation & Sustainability Event

Breakfast Briefing with Prof. Roberto Unger on “Democratising the Knowledge Economy”

Presenting an alternative vision of a radically democratised knowledge economy

Professor Unger, Isaac Stanley and Madeleine Gabriel, researchers at NESTA, will introduce their new paper “Imagination Unleashed: Democratising the Knowledge Economy” at Das Progressive Zentrum on Friday, 22 March 2019.

Developed countries are facing stagnating productivity, rising inequality and increasing political alienation. In their new report “Imagination Unleashed: Democratising the Knowledge Economy”, Harvard Professor Roberto Unger and the London-based Innovation Foundation NESTA put forward a different approach to tackling these challenges.

Rather than simply compensating the “losers” of the digital economy, their report argues for a transformation of political and economic institutions. They propose various strategic policy options that aim “to increase the number of people, places and firms that can take part in, and shape, the future knowledge economy”.

We are delighted that Professor Unger as well as Isaac Stanley and Madeleine Gabriel, both researchers at NESTA, will introduce their new report at Das Progressive Zentrum on Friday, 22 March 2019 from 9.00-10.30 am.

Following the presentation, the authors will enter a discussion with Professor Unger and one further discussant. A Q&A session with the audience will conclude the event.

A light breakfast will be served.


About the speakers

Madeleine Gabriel is the Head of Inclusive Innovation at Nesta. She leads international projects that explore how new models of innovation can tackle big social challenges. Her current work includes a study on whether and how the concept of ‘frugal innovation’ could apply in Europe; a partnership with the São Paulo State Government to explore how open innovation models could improve healthcare outcomes; and a large project for the European Commission that aims to build capacity of policymakers to work with social innovators, and vice versa. She is passionately interested in the relationship between innovation and inequality, and in exploring the role that innovation – and innovation policy – can play in promoting greater equality.

Isaac Stanley is a Researcher in the Inclusive Innovation team at Nesta. His work explores the relationship of innovation and inequality, and the role of innovation policy in building more human and democratic economies. Current projects include work on a new framework for inclusive innovation policy, and a collaboration with the philosopher Roberto Unger and the OECD’s New Approach to Economic Challenges initiative exploring the futures of the Knowledge Economy.

Roberto Mangabeira Unger is a Brazilian philosopher and politician. He has written notable works including Politics: A Work In Constructive Social Theory and The Singular Universe and the Reality of Time. He has developed his views and positions across many fields, including social, and political, and economic theory. In legal theory, he is best known for his work in the 1970s-1990s while at Harvard Law School as part of the Critical Legal Studies movement, which is held to have helped disrupt the methodological consensus in American law schools and which led to the writing of What Should Legal Analysis Become? His political activity helped the transition to democracy in Brazil in the aftermath of the military regime, and culminated with his appointment as Brazil’s Minister of Strategic Affairs in 2007 and again in 2015.


Register now


Sophie Pornschlegel

Paul Jürgensen

Event Date

22 March 2019


Das Progressive Zentrum