#25 Innovation Special with Ken Banks

“A lot of sectors still push towards a structured approach to innovation.”


Combining over twenty-five years of experience in the technology and non-profit sectors with a degree in social anthropology with international development, Ken Banks is the founder of kiwanja.net and creator of FrontlineSMS. He is a published author, having released Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation: International Case Studies and Practice (2016) and The Rise of the Reluctant Innovator (2013). Ken was awarded a Stanford University Fellowship in 2006, and named a Pop!Tech Fellow in 2008. In 2009 he was named a Laureate of the Tech Awards. He was named a National Geographic Explorer in 2010 and an Ashoka Fellow in 2011, was the recipient of the 2011 Pizzigati Prize for Software in the Public Interest, and was during the same year selected as a member of the UK Prime Minister's delegation to Africa. In 2012 the Cambridge business community presented Ken with a "Special Achievement Award" for his work as a social innovator. In 2012 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. In 2013 Ken was an inaugural member of DFID’s Digital Advisory Panel and named by the University of Sussex as an ambassador for international development.


Founded by Ken in 2003, kiwanja.net helps social innovators, entrepreneurs, engaged citizens and non-profit organisations make better use of information and communication technologies in their work. kiwanja.net specialises in the application of mobile technology, with a particular emphasis on its role as a driver of innovation, entrepreneurship and social change around the world. FrontlineSMS is a text messaging platform helping drive social change projects in 170 countries around the world.

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