Interim Senior Foresight Analyst

Nesta are an innovation agency for social good and they are searching for an intellectually curious, proactive individual with a track record of identifying ambitious, next generation ideas.

About Nesta

We are Nesta, the UK’s innovation agency for social good. We design, test and scale solutions to society’s biggest problems. Our three missions are to give every child a fair start, help people live healthy lives, and create a sustainable future where the economy works for both people and the planet.

For over 20 years, we have worked to support, encourage and inspire innovation. We work in three roles: as an innovation partner working with frontline organisations to design and test new solutions, as a venture builder supporting new and early stage businesses, and as a system shaper creating the conditions for innovation.

Harnessing the rigour of science and the creativity of design, we work relentlessly to change millions of lives for the better. Find out more at

How will a Senior Foresight Analyst contribute to Nesta’s success?

The Senior Foresight Analyst sits within Nesta’s Discovery Hub, which embeds strategic foresight at the heart of organisation and helps to test promising ideas before applying them in our programmes. The Senior Foresight Analyst will scan for emerging trends, technologies and interventions with the potential to help Nesta meet its strategic goals in new or more effective ways.

The role

As part of a cross-cutting Discovery Hub, the Senior Foresight Analyst will have the opportunity to work across all of Nesta’s Mission areas (A Fairer Start, A Healthy Life and a Sustainable Future) and to explore new areas of work for the organisation. The role will demand interdisciplinary, cross-team working from the outset, key responsibilities include:

  • Using the tools of strategic foresight to identify how Nesta can best direct its resources in future to deliver the highest impact. This will include conducting primary and secondary research as part of the team’s ‘Discovery Dives’ into emerging areas - for example conducting literature reviews, expert interviews and workshops.
  • Contributing to a rolling programme of horizon scanning and ‘sensemaking’; sourcing novel ideas, methods and practices from journal articles, grey literature and other sources. This will include strengthening and facilitating the use of the Discovery Hub’s trends library.
  • Serving as a key internal liaison between teams and ensuring knowledge is shared across the organisation and applied directly to programmes.
  • Engaging networks of practitioners, experts, citizens or people with lived experience to identify promising new innovations or spot early signals of change within a given field.
  • Supporting Nesta’s thought leadership by analysing the issues from the perspective of Nesta’s Missions and translating Discovery insights into compelling briefings and other accessible external content (e.g. podcasts, seminars, animations etc).
  • Supporting Nesta’s programme of employee-led innovation including internal events, ideation processes and professional development.

The person

This role would suit an experienced, intellectually curious, proactive individual with a track record of identifying ambitious, next generation ideas. They will need to be an advocate for creative approaches to research and communication, but extremely rigorous in their analysis of the underlying evidence base.

Essential skills and experience

  • Graduate / postgraduate grounding in a relevant field (e.g.: social policy, technology, science or science communication etc.) or equivalent professional experience.
  • Professional experience working in at least one of the following types of setting, academia, think tanks, policymaking, innovation agencies / funders, management consultancy or a research body.
  • Strong analytical skills to engage both with complex academic literature alongside grey literature, with the ability to assess the maturity and robustness of evidence.
  • Significant professional experience and networks in a field or organisation with direct relevance to Nesta’s Missions (for example, health, early years, sustainability etc.)
  • Familiarity with the fundamentals of research design, including randomised control trials and other forms of evaluation.
  • Extensive experience authoring articles and reports with the ability to write persuasively for a broad audience.
  • Strong prioritisation and time management skills with the proven ability to contribute to multiple projects simultaneously.
  • Project management - ideally including agile approaches.
  • Good attention to detail, high standards of accuracy and a good completer / finisher.

Desirable skills and experience

  • Interest or experience with foresight or horizon scanning exercises.
  • Quantitative expertise such as undertaking / commissioning analysis of large scale datasets or familiarity with the basics of data science.
  • Awareness of the innovation for social good, including key trends and the existing evidence base associated with specific methods or approaches (e.g design).

What we offer

Salary: £38k - £54k plus array of benefits, including health cash plans, dental insurance, the ability to buy and sell annual leave, eyecare vouchers and more

Location: This role is based in London, but we offer flexibility for our people to work remotely

Term: Maternity cover. We are open to secondment opportunities.

Hours: This is a full-time role but we offer a range of flexible working arrangements and encourage our people to take advantage of them. Many do.

Reports to: Senior Foresight Lead

Making an application

To apply for this role, please submit your application before 8:00am on 29 November 2021.

Interviews will take place on w/c 8 Decemner 2021.

At Nesta, we believe that a diverse workforce leads to an organisation that is more innovative, more creative and gets better results.

We want our workforce to represent the diversity of the people and communities we serve. We also want our workplace to be one where different experiences, expertise and perspectives are valued, and where everyone is encouraged to grow and develop.

This means that when we are recruiting, we actively seek to reach a diverse pool of candidates. It also means that we are happy to consider any reasonable adjustments that potential employees may need to in order to be successful.

We recognise the importance of a good balance between work and home life, so we do everything we can to accommodate flexible working, including working from home, compressed or part-time hours, job shares and other arrangements.

Please just let us know in your application or at any stage throughout the process (and beyond) if these are options you’d like to explore.