Keynote Speaker: David Coates

Sharing Knowledge to Mutual benefit


Answering questions from strangers comes quite naturally and we do it all the time. When asked for the time or for directions, as a matter of course, we are happy to oblige. Subconsciously, and rapidly, we are doing a number of things, not the least putting the request into context and in a language that the recipient can understand, and perhaps most importantly, we are at pains to, and take a pride in making sure the questioner can understand and use the information we give.

So why do we make such a meal of sharing knowledge across discipline and sectors in the context of open innovation?

We are happy to contribute to innovations in the safety of our own discipline but when it comes to exploring the unknown territory of fields afar, we are less certain, and often quite reluctant, to apply what we do subconsciously when helping strangers in the street. This is the raison d'Ítre for the network-of-networks, Knowledge Transfer Networks and the success behind such programmes as Knowledge Transfer Partnerships. Sharing knowledge between disparate communities and with people we may not even understand, but intuitively know could be the developer of the next major technological or societal break-through.

Pen Picture

I am currently interim Head of Knowledge Exchange at the Technology Strategy Board where I am responsible for Knowledge Transfer Networks and a member of the _connect ( development team.

I have a PhD in materials science; I am a Fellow of the RSA and an independent management consultant. Over the years, I have been involved in a number of programmes looking at the impact of innovation and technology on society over a twenty-five year timeframe.

Prior to becoming an independent consultant, and an associate of the innovation consultancy, Growth Agenda (, I was a founder of the branding consultancy, Indigo Partners. Also, I have held senior positions with organisations such as Innovaro, PA Consulting, Scientific Generics and Identica-Generics.

Contact information: and +44 7801 688 958.

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