Leading figures working with technology for purpose as well as profit have been recognised in the queen’s annual new year honours list, published on January 1, alongside digital entrepreneurs, inventors and investors. Julian Blake reports.
Move over new knights Ringo Starr, Barry Gibb and Nick Clegg – it’s time for the digital dignitaries also recognised in the 2018 new year’s honours list to grab some of the limelight.
This year sees recognition in the 1,123-strong list of people using digital technology for purpose and not just profit. Annika Small, co-founder of the Centre for Acceleration of Social Technology, and a former Nominet Trust chief exec (pictured), wins an OBE for services to social innovation and digital technology.
“Very surprised & chuffed to be among #newyearshonours,” Small tweeted, stressing that her honour “reflects growing recognition of tech as a vital tool to address big social problems & a tribute to all the brilliant teams I’ve worked with.”
Small, working at CAST since 2015 to help charities change through digital, has also held trustee roles at Founders4Schools, Wayra/Unltd and Futurelab Education.
The annual honours list “recognises the achievements and service of extraordinary people across the United Kingdom”. It is submitted to the queen by the Cabinet Office-run honours committee, with specialist sub-committees including on science and technology vetting nominations twice yearly.
Tunji Akintokun, director at Cisco Systems and co-director of young people’s STEM campaign Your Future, Your Ambition, picks up an MBE for services to young people from minority ethnic backgrounds in science and technology.
Demis Hassabis, co-founder and chief exec at Google-owned UK Ai business DeepMind, is recognised for services to science and technology with a CBE. “Very proud of the incredible @DeepMindAI team,” he tweeted. “This is recognition of the immense contribution they have all made to the world of science and technology”.
Government digital transformation is recognised too, with Raymond Long, since 2014 the programme director at the Department for Work and Pensions Digital Group, picking up a Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) for services to government and the public sector.
Anthony Impey, founder and chief executive of ultrafast broadband provider Optimity, and one of the tech industry’s leading backers for apprenticeships, picks up an MBE.
Jess Butcher, co-founder of leading augmented reality venture Blippar, as well as mentor at Silicon Valley Comes to the UK and the London mayor’s international business programme, is honoured for services to digital technology and entrepreneurship with an MBE.
Ron Kalifa, chief executive for 10 years at global fintech pioneer Worldpay, and now its vice chair, gets an OBE, while Bernard Parsons, co-founder and chief exec at cybersecurity venture Becrypt, has an MBE.
On the investment side, Jonnie Goodwin picks up an OBE for his work at Founders Forum, as well as backing innovation at Lepe Partners and PROfounders Capital. Goodwin also chairs the NSPCC Digital Taskforce. Suranga Chandratillake, general partner at tech VC investor Balderton Capital, and an ex-CTO at Autonomy, wins an OBE for services to engineering and technology.
Carbon Trust chief exec Tom Delay and Forum for the Future chief exec Sally Uren, both working to make business more sustainable, are also recognised for their services.
Probably the oldest techie to be recognised this year is 93-year-old WWII veteran Frank Bull, who worked as a decoder at Bletchley Park, helping to code-break then transmit secrets during the war.
One overlooked again in 2018 is Paul Smith, who could plausibly have been recognised for his work founding Newcastle’s Ignite and Campus North. “Thrilled. Thanks for all the support and warm words,” he tweeted. Smith’s been making mischief with the same gag for three years, inviting congratulation from far and wide (including us). Your time will come Paul…maybe next year.