Ken Banks

Director of Future Data, Macmillan Cancer Support

About this speaker

A social innovator, technologist, author and anthropologist with 25+ years experience working in developing regions of the world - particularly Africa - with a focus on technology, conservation and humanitarian relief.

Internationally recognised and the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including the Eugene L. Lawler Award for Humanitarian Contributions within Computer Science in 2016. Founder of a globally-successful social startup and author of four books on social entrepreneurship and innovation.


With a career in global conservation and development spanning over two decades, Ken is an award-winning founder, technologist, anthropologist and author committed to supporting positive social and environmental change around the world. His career is varied but has been largely shaped by contributions to the worlds of social entrepreneurship and social innovation, and the support of conservation and development projects around the world, with a particular focus on mobile technology in Africa.

Demonstrating drive, energy and a passion for making things happen, he has successfully built companies, established entrepreneurial initiatives and delivered multiple technology projects that have leveraged his skills in software development, project management, creative thinking, anthropology and an ability to engage effectively with people of all levels, ages, cultures and abilities.

Following an early career developing financial and accounting systems from his home in Jersey, Ken has since received global recognition in his field thanks to pioneering work developing a text messaging platform called FrontlineSMS, which scaled to over 190 countries benefitting tens of millions of people. He is also well known for his wider speaking, writing and mentoring efforts. 

During his career he has had the honour of working with eminent leaders such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu, moderated panels and taken part in expeditions for National Geographic, joined delegations to Africa with the UK Prime Minister, has been featured as a keynote speaker, panelist and moderator at international forums and conferences, and has gone on to publish work related to technology and social innovation for the BBC, CNN, WIRED and the Guardian, among many others.

Ken is also the editor/author of four books on social innovation and entrepreneurship, the most recent of which has a 5-star rating and became an Amazon 'Entreprenuership' bestseller.


ND2023: AI Day

20 June 2023, 09:30 AM
Polly Morgan Roxane Heaton Matt Wall Alison McKenzie-Folan Kylie Whitehead Zoe Webster Jack Hanson Henry Grech‑Cini Andy Burnham Dr Aalock Shukla Andy Lee Ken Banks Professor Helen Margetts David Scott Daniel Cannon Jonathan Gregory Jack Greenhalgh Alex Boardman Professor Keeley Crockett Tom Weeks Emma Mulqueeny OBE