David Gann



Professor David Gann CBE CEng FICE FCGI

Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Development and External Affairs



David is a university and business leader with extensive international experience in innovation strategy and technology management. His research explores why and how innovation happens, the ways it continually transforms the world we live in, and how it can be managed.

He is Emeritus Professor, Innovation and Technology Management, Imperial College Business School, and was previously Vice-President (Innovation) at Imperial College London (2013 – 2019). He has a PhD in Industrial Economics, 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 is a director of the London Symphony Orchestra and chairman of LSO Live.

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. As an entrepreneur, he has formed several companies, mentors start-ups and advises boards on innovation and technology management. He was Group Innovation Executive at Laing O’Rourke plc (2007-2011).

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

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.




David publishes widely on technology management and innovation strategy. He writes a blog for the World Economic Forum and has authored nine books, published in eight languages including. Most recently:

  • Demystifying China’s Innovation Machine, with Marina Zhang and Mark Dodgson, OUP 2022
  • 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.