Ken Banks Keynote Speaker

  • Social innovator and entrepreneur
  • Founder of FrontlineSMS and, leveraging mobile technology to drive development
  • Author and Editor, "The Rise of the Reluctant Innovator" (2013)

Ken Banks's Biography

Ken Banks has worked at the intersection of technology, anthropology, conservation and development for the past twenty years. He is founder of, which specialises in the application of mobile technology, and emphasises its role as a driver of innovation, entrepreneurship and social change.

Ken is also the creator of FrontlineSMS, an award-winning text messaging platform that is helping to drive social change projects in 170 countries around the world; 20 to 30 million people are currently benefiting from its use. Founded in 2005, FrontlineSMS enables users to connect a range of mobile devices to a computer to send and receive SMS text messages, delivering two-way communication on a large scale. It has been used to monitor national elections in the Philippines, Afghanistan and Nigeria; report timely emergency information after natural disasters, such as the 2010 earthquake in Haiti; and improve the provision of healthcare in developing countries, where bad roads, long distances and a shortage of healthcare workers make delivering care difficult.

Ken’s latest project – Means of Exchange – looks at how everyday technologies can be used to democratise opportunities for economic self-sufficiency, rebuild local community and promote a return to local resource use. Ken also has a strong track record in consultancy, and over the past ten years has acted as an advisor and consultant to a number of international organisations.

Ken has been recognised internationally for his technology-based work. He is a PopTech Fellow, a Tech Awards Laureate, an Ashoka Fellow, a National Geographic Emerging Explorer, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Ken’s first book, “The Rise of the Reluctant Innovator” (2013), comes with a foreword by Archbishop Desmond Tutu. His writing and blogging on Africa, technology and innovation and his work has been published online by CNN, WIRED, the BBC and the Guardian among others

Read More

Videos of Ken Banks

TEDxCannes: When problems find people, amazing things can happen (2015)
TEDxCannes: When problems find people, amazing things can happen (2015)
PopTech! Freedom from money (2012)
PopTech! Freedom from money (2012)
Innovation for All? Mobile Technology and the Art of the Possible
Innovation for All? Mobile Technology and the Art of the Possible

Check Ken Banks's speaking availability and fees

Interested in booking Ken Banks to speak at an event? Please provide your details and we’ll get in touch within 24 hours.

    View our related Speakers

    Jeff Benedict Speaker
    Jeff Benedict
    Best-Selling Author & Special Features Writer, Sports Illustrated
    David Pilling Speaker
    David Pilling
    Associate Editor & Africa Editor - Financial Times
    Alessandro Hatami Speaker
    Alessandro Hatami
    Co-founder of and fintech expert
    Camille Fournier Speaker
    Camille Fournier
    Former Chief Technology Officer, Rent The Runway
    Jimmy Chamberlin Speaker
    Jimmy Chamberlin
    Legendary musician and tech entrepreneur
    Margaret O'Mara Speaker
    Margaret O'Mara
    Expert on the History of Silicon Valley and the American Technology Industry
    Vijay Vaitheeswaran Speaker
    Vijay Vaitheeswaran
    US Business Editor of The Economist
    Raina Kumra Speaker
    Raina Kumra
    Expert on Digital transformation and AI ethics
    Justin Massa Speaker
    Justin Massa
    Founder & President, Food Genius, Portfolio Director, IDEO
    Lara Setrakian Speaker
    Lara Setrakian
    Journalist and Trust Expert

    We use cookies

    We use cookies and other tracking technologies to improve your browsing experience on our website, to show you personalized content and targeted ads, to analyze our website traffic, and to understand where our visitors are coming from. By browsing our website, you consent to our use of cookies and other tracking technologies.

    Accept Cookies