Societies can easily talk themselves into conflict and misery. But they can also talk, and act, their way out.
Courses can, and should, incorporate the excitement and fun of programming games, apps or even real digital devices.
The biggest barrier to dealing with climate change is us: our own attachment to habits that are hard to shift, and our great ability to park or ignore uncomfortable choices.
The classic think-tank is supposed to be sitting in an attic thinking up grand ideas.
As the Internet of things advances, the very notion of a clear dividing line between reality and virtual reality becomes blurred, sometimes in creative ways.
Advisers who think that they are very clever while all around them are a bit thick, and that all the problems of the world would be solved if the thick listened to the clever, are liable to be disappointed.
I have a lot of admiration for people willing to face the public, but I'd prefer not to.
As a civil servant in charge of the government's Strategy Unit, I brought in many people from outside government, including academia and science, to work in the unit, dissecting and solving complex problems from GM crops to alcohol, nuclear proliferation to schools reform.
Britain is rich in radicalism, and anyone who says that our society has drifted into fatalism and apathy should get out more.
With a fractured sense of self, we come to depend on what people feed back to us – often mediated through social networks – not what we are. We have complex identities but may become less able to act as a subject – confident in what we really are.
A modest dose of self-love is entirely healthy – who would want to live in a world where everyone hated themselves? But taken too far, it soon becomes poisonous.
All real capitalisms are impure hybrids, mongrels mixed with other strains.
Cities simply don't have the powers they need to radically innovate in cutting obesity or the number of disaffected teenagers.
The most important innovators often don't need any technologies – just imagination and acute sensitivity to people's needs.
There are hardly any apprenticeships in care; hardly any schools preparing teenagers for jobs in care; and few signs that politicians know what to do to raise the status and rewards for what will soon be one of our most important industries.
There is a yearning for people to return to elementary moral virtues, such as integrity and commitment. We distrust people who have no centering of values. We greatly respect businessmen, for example, if they display those virtues, even if we don't necessarily agree with the people.
I didn't much like being in Parliament physically. I found it a bit depressing. It's very dark and heavy. I like being out and about.
Capitalism is not so much an aberration as a step on an evolutionary path, and one that contains within it some of the answers to its own contradictions.
Most governments do have inbuilt biases in favour of the rich and powerful, and most do contain plenty of manipulators who love intrigue, who have lost whatever moral compass they may once have had and who protect themselves with steely cynicism.
So is civil society prepared for the future? Probably not. Most organisations have to live hand to mouth, juggling short-term funding and perpetual minor crises. Even the bigger ones rarely get much time to stand back and look at the bigger picture. Many are on a treadmill chasing after contracts and new funding.
Economies are complex beasts that need people to do an extraordinary range of tasks.
By international standards, many of the U.K.'s policies for civil society are exemplary. However, there are concerns about constraints on civil liberties – particularly restrictions on free assembly and about the rising tide of everyday regulation has seriously impeded community activity – from organising street parties to helping children.
A tablet replacing an exercise book is not innovation, it's just a different way to make notes.
For most of human history, the main goal of states has been to conquer land and to achieve glory for their rulers, usually at others' expense. Then in recent decades it was all about GDP. It's only in very recent history that rulers have been willing to commit themselves to helping their citizens live happier lives.
All over the world, social innovation is tackling some of the most pressing problems facing society today – from fair trade, distance learning, hospices, urban farming and waste reduction to restorative justice and zero-carbon housing. But most of these are growing despite, not because of, help from governments.
The responsibility for good government lies not just with governments themselves but also with every other part of the system they operate in, including media, non-governmental organisations and the public.
Freecycle groups match people who have things they want to get rid of with people who can use them.
The City of London has never been known for understanding technology and has never matched Silicon Valley's tradition of knowledgeable investment in technology start-ups, just as the U.K. government has never matched the vast investment made by the U.S. government.
Over 5,000 years, states have made surprisingly consistent claims about their duties. They have promised to protect people from threats; promote their welfare; deliver justice and also, perhaps less obviously, uphold truth – originally truths about the cosmos, and more recently truths drawn from reason and knowledge.
One effect of an individualistic culture that's poor at instilling mutual respect is that people jump more quickly to anger or violence.
The most dynamic cities have always been immersed in the critical innovations of their time.
As with products on supermarket shelves, the public has a right to know where their financial products and services come from.
L'Oreal's slogan 'because you're worth it' has come to epitomise banal narcissism of early 21st century capitalism; easy indulgence and effortless self-love all available at a flick of the credit card.
Many people leave government disillusioned about its ability to achieve change and cynical about politicians. I left with rather opposite lessons.
It's an irony that growing inequality could mean more money for philanthropy. In the U.S., quite a few of the ultra-rich have taken to heart the 19th century industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie's comment that it's a disgrace to die wealthy.
The market turns out to be just one special case of collective decision-making.
Everyone knows of great projects that were too dependent on a charismatic individual, or simply too expensive to be replicated.
On the environment and climate change, I suspect that future generations will think there was too much timidity, too much fear of upsetting business. Basically, New Labour was very nervous about regulating business, or requiring it to do anything, even when there was a very clear social or environmental case for doing so.
Even many of the teenagers who feel confident on navigating the web simply don't have the skills needed to 'write and create' digital tools, not simply consume them.
Big business increasingly likes to portray itself as socially concerned, adopting the style of civic action through 'campaigns' of varying degrees of cynicism.
The smug complacency of technology adverts disguises a pretty mixed picture, with too many people not connected, too many passive users of technologies designed for interactive, and far too much talk about empowerment but far too little action to make it happen.
The wrongful arrest of tens of thousands of British Muslims after the September 11 attacks can be explained by the very poor intelligence the police had, and, just possibly, excused by the fact that a terrorist action in Britain linked to British Muslims would have been hugely damaging.
Democratic nation states remain far more capable of managing the circuit of coercion, taxation and legitimation than any transnational bodies.
Radicalism is as British as tea and cakes, as much a part of our make-up as monarchy and football. It will never have its own jubilees, palaces or honours system.
The end of life is likely to be an important focus for innovation. Most people die in hospitals, tied up with tubes and with their bodies pumped full of drugs. Yet most would rather die at home and with more control over the timing and manner of their death.
Understanding capitalism is in some ways simple. At its best, capitalism rewards creators, makers and providers: the people and firms that create valuable things for others, like imaginative technologies and good food, cars and drugs.
Europe has shown how government can be organised in a network. Its institutions both compete and co-operate and include a directly elected parliament that does not appoint the executive, independent judiciaries and a complex set of relationships between the Commission, the Council of Ministers and the Parliament.
The idea of entrepreneurship applies as much in politics, religion, society and the arts as it does in business.
Recycling is an area where jobs could be created at low cost. Green collar workers. That's not very sexy.
States which used to communicate directly to their citizens now do so through the media, where their messages are reshaped by the logics of news values and commentary.
The once-science-fiction notion of hyper-connectivity – where we are all constantly connected to social networks and other bubbling streams of digital data – has rapidly become a widespread reality.
People don't want charities to usurp the state as the core provider of social services.
Predation is part of the everyday life of capitalism, in sectors as mainstream as pharmaceuticals, software and oil – where people's money, their data, their time and their attention are routinely taken in fundamentally asymmetrical exchanges.
Local government in England is simply too big. Our lowest tier serves an average population of 118,500, while in the U.S. and across continental Europe the figures are more like several thousand.
There is incredible potential for digital technology in and beyond the classroom, but it is vital to rethink how learning is organised if we are to reap the rewards.
Many of the greatest composers and musicians do their best work in extreme confinement but we are seeing it in other fields – uses of technology to link people together in networks to solve problems and almost certainly we'll get better ideas than we would from them just doing it on their own.
Computing should be taught as a rigorous – but fun – discipline covering topics like programming, database structures, and algorithms. That doesn't have to be boring.
Deeper fulfilment is rather different from the happiness of seeing a good film or watching your team win at football, and it doesn't come at the push of a button.
Conflicts are never caused in any simple way by identity, culture or economics. Where resources are scarce, or there are strong historical memories of conflict, small events are more likely to inflame passions.
Huge sums are invested globally in medical research and development – and with good reason.
Governments that invest billions in new hardware still find it hard to accept that they might benefit just as much from systematic innovation in such things as child development or cutting crime.
Democracy isn't solely about polite conversations in parliaments. It needs to be continually refreshed with raw passions, anger and ideals.
Science is, rightly, searching for drugs to arrest ageing or to slow the advance of dementia. But the evidence suggests that many of the most powerful factors determining how you age come from what you do, and what you do with others: whether you work, whether you play music, whether you have regular visitors.
In every capitalist economy there are anti-capitalist movements, activists, and even political parties; in a way, that there are no longer anti-democratic movements, activists, and parties.
Young people who were relaxed about posting every detail of their life on Facebook become a lot less relaxed when they realise just how transparent their life has become to future employers.
Before the Second World War, L'Oreal in France was an active supporter of the French fascists. The cosmetic group's founder Eugene Schueller was an active member of the 'Cagoule' group, committed to the violent overthrow of the Third Republic, and hosted meetings at Oreal headquarters.
In Britain, polls show large majorities in favour of mansion taxes and higher taxes on the finance sector.
Governments should want and even crave the best possible scientific advice. With reliable knowledge come better decisions, fewer mistakes and more results achieved for each pound spent.
Social innovation thrives on collaboration; on doing things with others, rather than just to them or for them: hence the great interest in new ways of using the web to 'crowdsource' ideas, or the many experiments involving users in designing services.
Health is already a dominant sector in most societies and the one most guaranteed to grow.
The really interesting moment will be when you have a critical mass of people engaging through the networks, more than through the press and TV. When that happens, the culture of politics has to change, moving away from controlled one-way messages towards a political culture that is more questioning.