Data is now a fundamental part of our economy, society and environment—we live in a data-enabled world. We also face vast societal challenges where data can work harder to help us make better decisions.
I’ve spent 20 years helping to make our data infrastructure useful to everyone: creating and leading businesses, bringing together the web, finance, policy, data, science, the environment, art and media. This has led to the creation of dozens of companies, the employment of 100’s of people, and £100Ms in measurable impact (including $137M in four years at the ODI) and helping to create $multi-billion markets* through the development of regulated markets such as the Open Banking Standard.
Working together, we have tackled complex challenges ranging from climate change to government transparency; digital supply-chains to open banking. My ambition is to create positive impact@web-scale on issues that require the coordination of multidisciplinary teams across private, public and third sectors. Harnessing the power of people and machines (‘collective intelligence’), our current Dgen Constellation projects include the internationalisation of Open Finance and making data work harder to deliver net-zero via IcebreakerOne.org (which launched at Davos in 2020 and delivered over $5M in grant-funded innovation in its first year of operation).
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Gavin helps solve complex, multidisciplinary, collective-action challenges. He has co-created over a dozen organisations: building multidisciplinary teams fit for a digital age to explore the impact of data on business, society and culture. He founded and now runs IcebreakerOne.org, making data work harder to deliver a Net Zero Future.
His work spans data infrastructure, policy, science, media, communications and innovation, including as co-Chair of the Open Banking Standard; founding-CEO of the Open Data Institute; advisor to the Financial Conduct Authority (Open Finance); advisor to the Global Open Finance Centre of Excellence; Guardian Council member at Yoti (digital identity); Trustee at Blue Ventures (marine conservation); Chairman at Provenance.org (blockchain); Non-exec at CupClub (circular-economy); Chairman at Rinse Media Group. He regularly provides strategic advice to governments, regulators and intergovernmental organisations around the world. He converted a century-old cargo ship to live aboard and built a cooperative historic harbour on the Thames to put it on.
Gavin leads Icebreaker One, convening across the financial and industrial sectors to help catalyse the development of Climate Ready solutions. He was the Open Data Institute’s founding CEO, working with Sir Nigel Shadbolt and Sir Tim Berners-Lee. Under his leadership, it unlocked over $100M of direct economic impact, incubated over 50 companies, launched franchises across 20 countries, trained 10,000 people, recruited a world-class board and team, and grew its turnover to $7M/y in under three years.
In 2015, at the request of HM Treasury, he co-chaired the development of the Open Banking Standard, laying the foundations for regulation and catalysing international innovation. He served on the Data, Science and Evidence advisory board of the Ministry of Justice and the Smart London Board.
He has been creating businesses for over 20 years, leading projects with organisations such as Arup, Cap Gemini and the World Bank. This has led to recognition as one of the most influential people in data: winning awards for innovation, expertise, and providing Parliamentary Select Committee evidence. He is a regular international speaker on the topic of data, the web and their impact on society.
Previous ventures include: organising the world’s environmental data and standards into an open web-service, AMEE, raising over $10M from leading VCs (sold 2015); chairing development of the first Gold Standard Carbon Offset; building the world’s leading digital music distributor, CI, the first company to deliver digital products to iTunes, and sent Amazon 25% of its download store at launch (still operating); creating award-winning streaming media company, Tornado, in 1999 (sold 2003); joining Branson’s Virgin Net as employee #5 in 1995 to deliver Virgin Net (now Virgin Media).
At Jodrell Bank Radio Observatory, Gavin helped develop systems designed to map and interpret the Universe. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, created courses and lectured in Engineering and Music at Glasgow University, and has degrees in both Astronomy and in Electronic Music (on which he has published research & released an album). He converted a century-old ship to live aboard and built a cooperative historic harbour on the Thames to put it on.
Commercial conference biography (photo)
I present at both private meetings and public conferences. This biography may be used for such purposes.
Commercial – active
- founder — Dgen, a federated network of experts creating impact@web-scale
- guardian — Yoti Guardian Council
- chairman — Rinse Group, at the centre of a vast musical community for over a decade
- advisory board — environmental solutions brokerage
- observer — global impact programme
- mentor — private individual entrepreneurs
- regularly invited speaker at innovation, data, startup, web, and cleantech/environmental events and conferences
- regularly invited mentor for startups and incubation programmes
Non-commercial – active
- Innovation Working Group — UK Climate Financial Risk Forum
- Open Finance advisory group — UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
- Business, Finance, Innovation, Investment Advisory Board for Longevity — UK All Party Parliamentary Group
- Open Banking advisory group — Payments New Zealand
- trustee — Blue Ventures
- non-executive director — anti-slavery registry, TISC reports
- trustee — Longplayer Trust, helping to sustain a 1,000-year music performance
- co-founder and chairman — Hermitage Community Moorings, the first official residential harbour development on the Thames in the last century
- regular speaker at arts, science, music and tech events
Commercial – previous
- recognised as one of the “UK’s top data leaders and influencers” in 2016
- founding CEO – Open Data Institute, a world-first created by Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Prof. Nigel Shadbolt, unlocking over £60M ($100M at the time) for the data-driven economy
- founder – CEO and Chairman – multi-award-winning AMEE, raising over $10m from leading international venture capital funds (O’Reilly, USV, and Amadeus)
- chairman — Provenance.org, blockchain-based product tracking
- non-exec board — CupClub, circular-economy IoT packaging
- advisory board — market analytics company
- two companies I created were part of the first ten ‘Silicon Roundabout’ companies (Wired)
- founding CEO – Consolidated Independent to create the digital supply-chain for music, and become the market-leader in digital distribution in 3-years
- founder-team member/CTO – Asset TV, a secure video network where investment professionals share information
- founder / CEO – award-winning cross-media company, Tornado Productions (sold to a larger media group in 2003)
- founder-team member and pioneer of streaming media in the UK and Europe from 1995 helping to set up Richard Branson’s “Virgin Net“, and the International Webcasting Association (IWA) in Europe
- mentor to innovative UK startups in “Tech City” in both web and space/satellite industries
- have led projects with UK Govt, BBC, Channel Four, Rolls Royce, Tate Modern, Shell, Radiohead, and UNICEF
Public & non-commercial roles – previous
- co-chairman — Open Banking Working Group, creating the Open Banking Standard that led to new UK regulation
- advisory group member — flagship project on data sovereignty across Europe, DECODE (Decentralised Citizens Owned Data Ecosystem)
- advisory board member — Greater London Authority (GLA) ‘Smart London’ programme
- advisory board member — Ministry of Justice Data, Evidence and Science Advisory Board
- advisory board member — UK Government’s Midata – “Energy Sector Board”, shaping policy with utilities and consumer-rights groups
- founder-team member of Global Cool, a charity tackling public communication and mitigation of climate change
- founder of exequo, a non-profit streaming media company for the 3rd sector
Academic / Research
- BSc (Astronomy): Specific research on Quasars
- Masters of Music (Computer-Music): Published research on 3-D Sound and Virtual Reality Audio
- Experimental Officer at Jodrell Bank Radio Observatory: Radio Astrophysics, Quasars, image processing, website dev (1994)
- Created and lectured IEEE approved courses in Electronics and Music at Glasgow University
- Music performed and research published and presented internationally (across five continents)
- Contributor with the AmbientTV collective, the Acoustic Space Lab in Latvia, and Nesta/PAL workshops.