Until 2022, Nick was Shift’s founder and CEO. His clear vision for an innovative organisation that brings together rigorous research, ambitious creativity and commercial expertise to design solutions to challenging social problems defined Shift for more than a decade. Nick grew the organisation from a tiny start-up to an international team, was actively involved in the strategic direction of all our work, and established the partnerships that allowed our projects, services and ventures to reach scale and sustainability.

Nick holds a BA Hons in History from Oxford University and draws on his experience working as a teacher, youth worker and campaigner.

Nick was named one of Britain’s 50 New Radicals by The Observer and NESTA and is a board member of the Centre for the Acceleration of Social Technology. His blogs on the Huffington Post, papers on behaviour change and talks all over the world are met with great acclaim.

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Can Consumer Product Design Really Drive Systemic Social Change?

A recent Forbes piece by Ashoka’s Michael Zakaras takes product design to task as a source of transformational social change. To provide an antidote to the fashionable fascination with “things” as the answer to all our social ills, the article uses examples like Toms Shoes‘ one-for-one model and the distribution of mosquito nets as evidence that products normally fail to engage with the roots of complex social problems.

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The Next Frontier for Social Impact Investment

Social Impact Investment is explored by Nick Stanhope.

Successful commercial entrepreneurs have to prioritise building two types of value within their ventures: user value and financial value. The job of creating value for users is hard. It relies on a profound understanding of the intrinsic motivations of the target audience. It requires the time, investment and experience…

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Shift’s development process for social ventures

Nick and Tori explain the process that shapes and structures Shift’s work designing social ventures. As part of our three year partnership with the Nominet Trust, we have intended to codify and share this process more explicitly, both for our own benefit and in the hope that other mission-driven designers and social entrepreneurs find it useful.

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Three values

On the surface, the language and practices of Silicon Valley and other tech investors have brought the social sector a greater focus on ventures, accelerators, fast-growth innovations, of startups, incubators and investment…

Box Chicken Launch

Hadrian Garrard from Create London and Nick Stanhope discuss the need for practical interventions to tackle poor diets at the launch of Box Chicken, a pilot of a healthy fast food outlet.



Making collective progress: Towards shared ambitions for social change

February 24, 2022

Looking to collaborate for social change? Here’s a review of existing approaches and principles to get you started.

Hot, prepared revolution: A summary of two years work looking at takeaways

December 17, 2018

Shift has developed the UK’s most detailed understanding of takeaway food, families’ relationship with it, the role hot, prepared food plays in their food behaviours, the economics of outlets and the motivations of their owners. Possible avenues for positive change have been tested and the way forward is clear.

Driving continuous improvement: Insights from funding social tech

November 2, 2017

Commentable version here. Report giving a ​set of ​5 insights and 8 practical recommendations on how funders and social organisations can work together better to ensure ​that progress ​and ​improvement of social products, services and programmes is given adequate attention. 

Nick Stanhope and Naomi Stoll

5 ways to use the Social, User & Financial Value Model for social innovation

March 30, 2017

Paper by Nick Stanhope, in partnership with The Nominet Trust, exploring five specific ways in which the Social, User & Financial Value Model has proved useful for those working in social innovation.

The Incidental Effect

October 1, 2011

Paper exploring new methods in behaviour change.By Nick Stanhope


Nick Stanhope: Nesta New Radical 2012
The Observer, 2012

Q and A with Nick Stanhope, Creator of Historypin
Smithsonian Magazine, 10th August 2011