A roundtable discussion on the meaning and implementation of mission-led or -oriented policies. Continuity between historical missions and the present context include the importance of ‘translation’ of grand challenges into problems that become fit for missions and the specific role of the state as a coordinating actor. What is new in current discussion of mission-oriented approachs is a stronger focus on legitimacy which increases the need for inclusive participation to achieve ‘buy in’ and acceptance. The role of the private sector is highlighted. Missions may be oriented to creating new market opportunities and enlisting the support and participation of private sector actors.