Roland Harwood

Why I wanted to join Participatory City?

I wanted to join the Participatory City Foundation Board because I’m very inspired by the momentum and energy of the work that has already been done in Barking and Dagenham and I’m convinced that this type of approach is very valuable in many other places as well. In recent years a lot of my work has been around innovating in an around cities, from helping to design and launch the City of Tomorrow programme with Ford in 5 cities to date, to working with the UK government on their Future Cities Missions to China, Australia, India and Singapore. Cities are where creativity and innovation happens at both a local and global level. What is particularly powerful about the Participatory Cities approach is the combination of top down leadership with grass roots action, rooted in very strong set of principles and a commitment to sharing learning along the way. For all of these reasons I think I can learn a great deal through my role as Trustee, and hopefully can apply my own experience and networks to support and scale the work of Foundation in and around the UK and beyond.

My Background:

I’m a compulsive connector and founder of Liminal, a network for people, organisations and communities on the edge of multiple possible futures. Prior to that I was Co-Founder and Managing Director of 100%Open, the multi award-winning open innovation agency that worked with the likes of LEGO, Ford, UBS and Oxfam in over 25 counties, to co-innovate with their partners. It was a spin-out of Nesta, the UKʼs Innovation Foundation, where I was Director of Open Innovation. Graduating with a PhD in Physics, I have worked across the public and private sector and with hundreds of start-ups to raise investment and commercialise technology. I am a trustee for several not-for-profit organisations, a regular visiting lecturer at Universities around the world, and a mentor as part of several start-up accelerator programmes including TechStars. Lastly I am a failed astronaut, an occasional composer of TV and film music for Sony, and a proud and exhausted dad of three children.