Ralph Ashton

Ralph Ashton


Ralph Ashton founded the NFP Next25 to end short-termism in Australia by first understanding the root causes and then engaging leaders, experts, and the public to identify and implement systemic solutions.

Ralph has a strong track record of conceiving, building, and leading non-partisan initiatives to create systems change. Before founding Next25 in 2012, 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.

From 2004 to 2007 he co-created WWF’s Humanitarian-Conservation Partnership that changed how environmental and humanitarian organisations collaborate on large-scale disaster response, and between 2007 and 2011 he enrolled and chaired the Terrestrial Carbon Group that changed the international debate and action on unlocking the 30% of the climate change solution represented by agriculture and forestry.

With a background in corporate law and investment banking, Ralph is Adjunct Senior Research Fellow at La Trobe Business School and has also held visiting positions at Columbia University and the Australian National University.

Areas of Speciality

  • Solving complex challenges
  • Conceiving, building, and leading non-partisan initiatives to create systems change
  • Convening cross-disciplinary and cross-sector groups to complex challenges and create systems change
  • Teaching and supporting the application of innovation and entrepreneurial skills, tools, and mindsets at an individual, group, and organisational level
  • Coaching politicians and senior public servants for transformational leadership development
  • Designing and facilitating processes to solve high-stakes, complex, and contentious challenges
  • Creating a grounded sense of possibility


  • Public Service: building capability and culture for tacking complex challenges in the 21st Century in every Federal Government department including training and supporting 1,500 individual public servants (through the 21st Century Service suite of programs)
  • Politics: transformational leadership development for State and Federal parliamentarians in all parties (through the Parliamentary Leaders Program) and facilitating State  Cabinet Meetings
  • Intergovernmental: UNDP, UNEP, UN FAO, UN Convention to Combat Desertification, World Bank
  • Media: transformational national public information and engagement initiatives with News Corp Australia and Nine (formerly Fairfax)
  • Social Sector: Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation, Gourlay Charitable Trust, SALT Impact


  • University of Melbourne: LLB (Hons), BA (Hons) (1995)
  • Visiting Fellow, The Australian National University (2007-2008)
  • Visiting Scholar, Columbia University (2009)
  • Adjunct Senior Research Fellow at La Trobe Business School (ongoing)

Our Consultants

​Global Network of Facilitators & Associates