Rob has an unusually diverse history. In 1998, he was one of the founding executives of Freeserve, the Internet Service Provider launched by Dixons. Following an IPO of which valued the company at £16 billion, he became one of the youngest ever executive officers of a FTSE 100 company at the age of 29.
After the eventual sale of Freeserve Rob has gone on to set up, and invest in, several tech companies as well as taking on side roles in education and government. Rob has previously led the turnaround of a failing city further education college and has recently completed his two-year tenure as the UK Government's Crown Commercial Representative for Software. Where, working out of the Cabinet Office in Whitehall in the senior civil service role, he was responsible for resetting relationships with major software providers and service integrators and developing commercial capability across government departments; driving hundreds of millions of pounds in savings through the renegotiation of key government contracts. He now sits as a non-executive director and is chair of the Technology Committee of the UK government’s Crown Commercial Services.
Rob is also entrepreneur residence at the University of York where he is helping to direct real-world applications of research in AI and machine learning. He was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of the University in 2017.
It is precisely these diverse experiences that have influenced Rob’s thinking about how we engage with large groups of people – often with complex and competing needs – to effect positive change for the common good. It is this that led him to create Crowdicity, the online idea and innovation management platform which enables governments, businesses and any organisation to collectively engage citizens, employees, partners and stakeholders to drive a culture of innovation and increase the speed and collaboration with which they innovate products and processes.