What I am working on at the moment

Three questions focus my research and teaching work these days:  What is fresh thinking about innovation in institutionally-complex contexts where there are plural contending ideas about what is good, right or possible?  How do systems, that is, whole arrays of activities, people and interdependencies, change?   What are keywords for contemporary struggles over ‘meanings’ in corporate and institutional life – for example, why is ‘purpose’ and related words so present in conversations about senior corporate executives?

Why I wanted to join the Participatory City Global Advisory

Renewal of active community with full array of participatory opportunities is a central focus for efforts to rebuild and re-animate local publics and meaningful engagement.   The PC has a key comparative focus, which is important for policy, and builds on a track record of successful experiments and practice.

A little bit about my background

I am on faculty at Said Business School, University of Oxford and Fellow, Wolfson College.  I am based in Oxford UK and Mt View, CA USA.  By training I am economic and organizational sociologists, with focus on institutions, innovation and infrastructure.  My research has explored how large social and economic spaces ‘get organized’, and I use a range of methods.  I am especially interested in the work of ‘systems change’, with a focus on early  moments and incubation of alternatives, and on how the ‘pieces’ of a new system of activity are assembled.  I teach on innovation, strategy, and infrastructure, working with a wide array of students at all levels and with many external community and commercial organizations.  Welcome to contact me: or @marcventresca.