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Guest lecture

Investing in Complex Systems

Event series: 


What kind of work is it to steward complex systems to realise value?  Building a system of investment that is value orientated, adaptive and self learning.  Examples from the social and productive sectors.

About James Mansell

James champions the safe use of Data Science to deliver public and economic value. This includes recommending the right kind of national data ecosystem required for safe data sharing as a member of the Government appointed New Zealand Data Futures Forum.  Taking this to the next step for the New Zealand Productivity Commission by advocating “Handing Back the Social Commons”; Improving innovation and effectiveness through peer-to-peer organization of the sector on the back of a safe, high trust sector owned data commons.  Introducing the idea of Whole of Government Analytics at the centre of government to drive structural shift in the way government investment is managed - building accountability and budget allocation around needs and outcomes. Providing advice and change leadership as Director of Innovation at the Ministry of Social Development championing Analytics, closed loop campaign based targeting in response welfare reform. James is currently leading the Insights Strategy as part of Inland Revenue’s transformation program and introduced the Customer Value Work Program; Working with data scientists to prototype a new accountability model (loosely modelled on the “investment approach”), supporting the investment in an Advanced Analytics platform, and championing closed loop campaign based learning and re-investment. In 2011 James was awarded public sector’s Leadership Development Centre (LDC) fellowship prize.  This was used to study leadership at Harvard, the Wharton School, and Centre for Creative Leadership. James is a board member of Te Pūnaha Matatini; New Zealand’s newly funded Centre of Research Excellence (CoRE) dedicated to the study of how to transform complex data into knowledge. He is an independent consultant who also provides mentoring, courses and presentations on leadership, big data and government. Commissions include work in the areas of child protection, tax, education, health, social development, and science. He holds a first class honours degree in Philosophy from Victoria University of Wellington.

He can be contacted at

Note: Papers, presentation slides and any other material provided by the Guest Lecturer will be made available some time after the lecture at Publications > Media & Speeches > Guest Lectures by Visiting Academics.

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Last updated: 
Monday, 19 September 2016