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Nicholas Gruen

Nicholas Gruen

With a wealth of experience and expertise in economic reform and public policy, Nicholas Gruen is an Economist, Entrepreneur & Commentator.

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Testimonials for Nicholas Gruen

“Nicholas Gruen never fails to intrigue, amuse and, most importantly, to make us think. Truly well informed and with a strong sense of history, Nicholas is one of Australia’s best ideas-people with a gift for making thinking exciting. I never get tired of listening to him weave his words into grand tapestries, well supported with contemporary experience that delivers many an ‘aha’ Moment.”

Pru Goward, NSW Minister for Family and Community Services and Minister for Women.


"Nicolas was extremely professional and set the scene beautifully for the Congress. Well prepared and stayed back to answer any questions. His presentation was informative, precise and extremely well received"

Samira Wadhavkar, Local Government Managers Australia

Nicholas Gruen Travels from VIC
Fee Range: POA

Nicholas Gruen's Biography


With a wealth of experience and expertise in economic reform and public policy, Nicholas Gruen is an Economist, Entrepreneur & Commentator.


Nicholas Gruen, is a widely published policy economist, entrepreneur and thought leader who has had regular columns in the Courier Mail, the Australian Financial Review, the Age and the Sydney Morning Herald.


He has advised Cabinet Ministers, sat on Australia’s Productivity Commission and founded Lateral Economics and Peach Financial. Nicholas chairs:

  • The Australian Centre for Social Innovation;
  • The Deakin University Arts Participation Incubator
  • The Open Knowledge Foundation (Australian Chapter)

He is Patron of the Australian Digital Alliance, which brings together Australia’s libraries, universities, and major providers of digital infrastructure such as Google and Yahoo. He is a member of the Council of the National Library of Australia.


He was second shareholder and Chairman of successful San Francisco based startup data analytics crowdsourcing platform Kaggle.com. He is an Angel investor in a number of other Australian startups including Breezedocs which is developing semantic document management systems, Melt Pizza Restaurants, BetterBills.com.au, SoundFocus.com, Slant.co.


He was chairman of the Federal Government’s Innovation Australia Board in 2013 and 214. He was a member of a review of Pharmaceutical patent extensions in 2013.


In 2009 he chaired Australia’s internationally acclaimed Government 2.0 Taskforce. In 2008 he was a member of a major review into Australia’s Innovation System. He has a BA (Hons – First Class) in History (1981) and a PhD in Public Policy from the ANU (1998), and an LLB (Hons) from the University of Melbourne (1982).

Speaking Topics Include

Public Goods for the 21st Century

The world is an ecology of public and private goods. What are public and private goods, and how do they matter in economic and social development, and what public goods must we evolve in the digital age?

Kaggle and the miracle of crowdsourcing

How does Kaggle use crowdsourcing to find the world’s most perfectly prepared mind for your data analytics problem: A five minute ‘Ignite’ presentation with 20 slides loading each 15 seconds?


Innovation without money

How can governments and other interests drive innovation without spending money on it: Nicholas Gruen: Chair of the Australian Government’s Innovation Australia addresses officials in the Federal Departments of Industry, Communications and Finance and Deregulation.


Public Goods

Social capital is a public good. How can we rebuild it?


Other areas include:

  • How the internet is changing and will change our economy and our lives

  • How a new generation of public private data partnerships could change our world

  • Innovation – a wide variety of themes including in government, business, health, education and finance

  • The Big Data Revolution

  • Everything you really do know about economics which doesn’t involve numbers or forecasts.

  • Social innovation: what is it and how can it help?

  • Design thinking: how it can help business, government, all organisations in everything they do

  • Is GDP all there is?