Programme Director, Open Innovation, NESTA
Are Online Social Networks the New Cities?
Cities are the traditional meeting point for financial, social and cultural centres. How are the development of online networks changing the mode and quality of human interactions, and the economic, social and cultural activities of on and off-line communities?
Roland is Director of Open Innovation at NESTA (The National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts in the UK). He heads up a major new programme called Connect underpinned by the concept of supporting extreme collaboration that disrupts organizational, sector or geographic boundaries. He also sits on the board of Distance Lab, a research institute in the Highlands of Scotland whose mission is to invent new technologies and experiences that challenge the way we think about distance. He is passionate about connecting people and ideas into new innovation opportunities, and has experience across both the technology and creative industries. Graduating with a PhD in Physics from Edinburgh University, he started his career as an industrial research scientist for EA Technology focusing upon imaging product development for range of Global Utility companies including EDF Energy and United Utilities. Then, at IET he was responsible for developing new media services including joint ventures with BT & IBM. Most recently, at LDA, he has worked with 100s of early stage technology companies through developing and launching a series of 3 business incubators, a Venture Capital Investment Readiness programme called gateway2investment, and London’s first Proof of Concept Seed Fund with 24 Universities. Also, for the past 10 years he has worked freelance as a music producer for SonyBMG, writing numerous soundtracks for TV and film, including for the film American Psycho and the Cosby Show.