David Gann CBE

Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Development and External Affairs)

  • david.gann@sbs.ox.ac.uk

Saïd Business School
University of Oxford
Park End Street


David is a leader in the field of innovation, technology management and entrepreneurship. His research explores why and how innovation happens, the ways it continually transforms the world we live in, and how it can be managed.

David was previously Vice-President (Innovation) at Imperial College London (2013 – 2019), leading the vision, strategy and innovation agenda for the development of Imperial's new White City Campus. He was Professor of Innovation and Technology Management at Imperial College Business School (2003 – 2020). He has a PhD in Industrial Economics, an MSc in Science Policy and is a Chartered Civil Engineer, Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers, Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Art and Fellow of the City & Guilds Institute.

David holds a Fellowship with Magdalen College, Oxford. 


David is Chairman of the UK Atomic Energy Authority, non-executive director of Directa Plus plc, a leading producer of pristine graphene, and non-executive director of VenCap International plc, a leading venture fund-of-funds. He has formed 5 companies, mentors start-ups and advises boards on innovation and technology management, including Citigroup, Gammon, IBM, Huawei, HS2, McLaren, NEC and Tata Group. He was Group Innovation Executive at Laing O’Rourke plc (2007-2011).

David is a member of the UK Government’s Innovation Expert Group. He was previously a member of the Department of Health & Social Care’s Technology Advisory Board and the Ministry of Defence’s Defence Technology and Innovation Board. David was Chairman of the Smart London Board (2012-2017), responsible for London’s digital strategy. He developed Crossrail’s Innovation Strategy.

David is an advisory council member of the London Symphony Orchestra and a supporter of Glyndebourne Opera and Brighton Festival.


David publishes on technology management and innovation strategy in journals such as Research Policy, Organization Science, Harvard Business Review, California Management Review and Sloan Management Review, and on systems engineering in Ingenia, ICE Proceedings and Project Management Journal.

His most recent article sheds fresh light on how ‘open innovation’ has changed and how it can be managed.

His Google Scholar profile provides links to his papers.

He writes a blog for the World Economic Forum on innovation and universities in a post-COVID world and recently published a blog in Nature.

He  is author and co-author of eight books, published in eight languages including Arabic, Chinese, English, Italian, Japanese, Malay, Portuguese and Spanish. Most recently:

  • Philanthropy, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, with Mark Dodgson, Palgrave MacMillan, 2020
  • The Playful Entrepreneur, with Mark Dodgson, Yale University Press, 2018
  • Innovation: a very short introduction, 2nd edition, with Mark Dodgson, OUP, 2018
  • The Oxford Handbook of Innovation Management, with Mark Dodgson and Nelson Phillips, OUP, 2014


David has supervised many MSc, MBA and DPhil students. He is an experienced executive education programme director, with particular experience of working with digital, technology, engineering, and construction companies.

Honours and Awards

David was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2010 Queen's Birthday Honours for services to engineering, and received the 2014 Tjalling C. Koopmans Asset Award for extraordinary contributions to the economic sciences. He was awarded the Imperial College Medal in 2019.