Ralph Ashton

Ralph Ashton

Co-Founder and Executive Director, Australian Futures Project (Australia)

Ralph has a track record of conceiving, building, and leading non-partisan initiatives to tackle cross-sectoral challenges. Ralph co-founded the Australian Futures Project in 2012 to improve how Australia creates its future. Previously, Ralph spent a decade leading international public policy initiatives, working closely on every continent with governments, the United Nations, World Bank, business, academia, and non-profits. This included coordinating WWF’s global response to the Indian Ocean earthquakes and tsunami, and convening and chairing the multi-disciplinary international Terrestrial Carbon Group. Ralph has held visiting positions at Columbia University and the Australian National University, and is well versed in providing advice on mergers and acquisitions as both a lawyer and an investment banker.

The Australian Futures Project has:

  • Co-created with the federal government the dedicated 21st Century Service suite of courses to build the capability and culture of the public service to solve complex societal challenges, which has been rolled out to over 1,000 public servants from over 25 federal departments and agencies in its first full year.
  • Developed with the ALP and Liberal Party Australia’s first and only Parliamentary Leaders Program, counting 5% of all federal, Victorian, and South Australian parliamentarians as alumni after just two years.
  • Created the world-first My Big Idea, a national community-based initiative reaching 15 million Australians and engaging 10,000 in discussion and community-led action on the future of the country.
  • Designed and run Social Innovation Labs on early childhood development at a national level, and the future of agriculture in NSW and Victoria, leading to the creation of a number of new initiatives.