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

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 his pioneering work developing a text messaging platform called FrontlineSMS, which scaled to over 190 countries and benefited tens of millions of people. He is also well known for his wider speaking, writing and mentoring efforts.

The author evaluating a mobile project in Malawi run by CARE International. Photo: Hayley Capp/CARE (2016)

He is a PopTech Fellow, a Tech Awards Laureate, an Ashoka Fellow and a National Geographic Emerging Explorer. In 2013 he was nominated for the TED Prize. In recognition of his pioneering work, he was presented with the 2017 Eugene L. Lawler Award for Humanitarian Contributions within Computer Science by the Association for Computing Machinery in the USA, and in 2018 appointed Visiting Fellow at the prestigious Judge Business School in Cambridge.

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 the National Geographic Society, joined delegations to Africa with the UK Prime Minister, been featured as a keynote speaker, panellist 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 of two books on social innovation and entrepreneurship, the first of which has a 5-star rating and became an Amazon ‘Development Studies’ bestseller.

The Pursuit of Purpose is his third, and likely last, book.