The Team

A mix of experienced academics and industry experts. Click on names for LinkedIn profiles.

Tom Ellson - Centre Director

Tom manages the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. He has a background in both start-ups and consultancy, having been a Partner in a firm specialising in strategy, market entry and acquisitions. Prior to this, he worked for a transaction advisory practice within global accountancy firm EY. He has supported over £2bn of investment into predominantly small and medium sized businesses.

He has advised clients based across Europe and the United States that include HSBC, Barclays, the BBC and numerous private equity firms. He has a doctorate from Cranfield University in strategic management and is a Chartered Mathematician with expertise in business and market modelling.

Don Parker - School Education Director

Don is a multi-disciplinary creative focusing on design in film, music and television – he specialises in digital marketing, consumer behaviour and information exchange and he has worked with clients such as Universal Pictures, Paramount and 20th Century Fox.

Daniella Jenkins - Undergraduate Programme Director

Daniella worked in financial services for a number of years leading large change programmes giving her deep insights into the intersections of design and delivery in various organisational contextsShe previously led complex initiatives in health policy, the Cabinet Office and at Transport for London and is committed to gender equality having led women’s advocacy charity The WOW Foundation as its first Executive Director. 

Daniella Jenkins originally studied Philosophy and Politics at the University of Manchester, later qualifying as an MBA. More recently she completed an MSc in Major Programme Management at Said Business School, University of Oxford where her research into future perceptions of change was supervised by Professor Bent Flyvbjerg.  She is currently in the final stages of her doctorate funded through a unique collaboration between Central Saint Martin's and King's College London to explore how design can be positioned to improve social policy outcomes. 

Her unpaid roles include attempting to raise three children including a son with disabilities.  

Dave Jarman - associate Professor and Postgraduate Director (Taught Master's Programme)

Dave is an associate Professor and Postgraduate Director of the one year taught Master's Programme at the Centre and Bristol Futures Theme Lead for Innovation and Enterprise across the wider University. Dave is also a freelance Innovation Consultant, a social innovation charity trustee, an expert adviser to the National Union of Students on enterprise and employability, an independent town councillor, and the former Chairman and Director of Enterprise Educators UK, of whom he is an honorary fellow. Dave is a former University Head of Enterprise & Employability and former Head of Enterprise Education at the University of Bristol. Dave’s interest and expertise lies in early-stage start-ups, creative processes, and intrapreneurship.

Gerasimos Balis - Research Director

Gerasimos is an entrepreneurship researcher and educator passionate about supporting early-stage entrepreneurs and innovators succeed by applying design principles and tools. In the past his research has looked at design for entrepreneurship exploring collective design in the context of Higher Education and how design tools and a service oriented logic can help entrepreneurs learn faster and be more successful.

His current research project looks at competitions, jams and hackathons as tools for entrepreneurship education.

Helen Stock - Centre Manager

Prior to entering the education sector, Helen had a successful career as an HR Manager. Having gained a post-graduate professional HRM qualification, she worked for a wide variety of employers, including BT, a local authority and a major food manufacturer and in the process gained Chartered Membership of the Institute of Personnel and Development. Following a change of direction, she then moved into the education field and taught a wide range of courses in Business, Management and Economics in a variety of educational settings. This included a large FE college where she was Deputy Head of Sixth Form, and a Sixth Form college where as a member of the Senior Management Team and Head of Teaching she had responsibility for all teaching staff. Throughout her career she has had a keen interest in entrepreneurship, including helping to set up Career Academies and helping students to successfully participate in entrepreneurship competitions. She also has had extensive experience of dealing with a wide range of student-related issues.

Neil Coles - Partnerships Manager/International Director

Neil focuses on strategic engagement, employer engagement and the entrepreneurial outcomes of students. He strongly believes that employment and entrepreneurial outcomes are better enabled through deep experiential engaged learning and teaches in that manner.

He has operated at senior-level in the field of curriculum enhancement, employer engagement and start-up across several high performing Higher Education institutions. Prior to this role he was a Director of Career Service, where he led the University of Bristol to the position of 2nd most targeted University by UK employers. He has worked on multi-million-pound regeneration projects for government and the British Chamber of Commerce.

A Fellow of EEUKSEDA and NCEE, Neil holds post-graduate qualifications in teaching, education, and entrepreneurship. He runs his own consultancy, has served an Executive Director of Enterprise Educators UK where he served as Finance Director 2018-2021 and was made an Honorary Fellow of the organisation ahead of new year 2022. None paid roles include community bike mechanic, rare vinyl finder and stretched Dad!

Keir Williams

Keir is a creative technologist, educator and researcher. He has created commissions for organisations including TATE, ICA London, PS1 New York and Chapter Gallery, Cardiff. His recent creative technology work has included a performance and research residency in the arctic circle, and an oral history project with the MShed museum Bristol. Recent research projects include an ethnographic study on developing technologies for SEN mixed ability classrooms and an innovation training project with former Prisoners in Bristol.

Mark Neild

Mark has developed people’s vocational skills for 25 years, teaching flying and leadership as a Royal Navy aviator and up-skilling junior consultants while senior innovation consultant at PA Consulting. More recently he has supported aspiring entrepreneurs across 5 continents. His specialities are business model innovation, the adoption and commercialisation of technology and developing sustainable social ventures. Clients include the Cabinet Office, Vodafone, UBS, Nokia and Eircom and many technology SMEs. He was trustee and chair of an award winning charity before founding social venture Grow Inspires - promoting social inclusion through entrepreneurship. His Innovation consultancy, Agileering Ltd, helps creative and technology SMEs grow by optimising their business model.

Tom Metcalfe

Tom is Creative Director and founder of Design and Innovation Studio, Thomas Buchanan Limited and an associate Professor and Unit Director at The Centre.

He is an avant-garde interaction designer who crafts compelling experiences people love! His practice inherently seeks out new, innovative, and experimental ideas and methods. He has worked across a myriad of industries from art, to manufacturing, to design research, to brand activation.

His work has included, harvesting clouds in The Scottish Highlands to make SkyPA for Innis and Gunn; creating useless objects, Chindogu, for YO! Sushi; exploring new ways of engaging with news with Trinity Mirror, funded by Google DNI; rolling out a mind-controlled beer pouring robot for various clients including TEDx Germany, Twitter Live, and Marriott International; co-creating of the UX for Senseye, a machine learning predictive maintenance platform; developing IoT objects for audiences with immersive theatre company, Raucous; the design and build of a concept store in Covent Garden, London, for fashion startup UNMADE; and developing editioned interactive art installations with Random International.

Sam Crawley

As a Chartered Engineer, Sam has consulted on Offshore Wind Projects in Europe, co-ordinated logistics for NGO medical projects in Somalia and Colombia, site managed on civil construction projects in London, Kent and Amsterdam, and even been a manufacturing change agent at a factory in Gloucester. 

Sam brings his engineering experience to bear whilst teaching, helping link up industry practice with academic rigour. Sam is focussed on the enterprise aspects of innovation; solving problems, developing products and services, utilising lean startup, behavourial economics and development tools to reach robust solutions.

Travis Baldwin

Travis directs Crea Inc Design, a consultancy specializing in innovation & design solutions for clients worldwide. He began at IBM designing high-volume products & strategic concepts during the 90's tech boom. Later at tech startups, he experienced product development from a different perspective. At design consultancies Frog, Kinneir Dufort, and BCG-DV he collaborated with a variety of blue chip clients around the world. At NASA he assisted in design of crew areas of spacecraft, habitats, and vehicles. He has developed hundreds of products & services, and has been awarded numerous awards & patents. Working to bring new innovation into the world is his passion, and supporting young innovators and entrepreneurs starting their careers is his aspiration. He’s thrilled to work with the bright multi-disciplinary Bristol students and share industry stories and techniques encountered over his career.

Suzanne Cole

Suzanne began her career in the small business environment setting up her first business before leaving school. She then worked in larger engineering organisations. Following the sale of the business, Suzanne moved into education becoming a University Programme Director for undergraduate and postgraduate business and marketing courses.  This was followed by training and consultancy roles for businesses such as HSBC, 3M, Johnson and Johnson followed.  Suzanne has worked with entrepreneurs who have successfully floated business on the UK stock market and not-for-profit start ups, providing experience across sectors and business types. She also brings a keen interest in marketing and the creation of sustainable business models into her latest role as a Non-Executive Director for Swim Wales. 

Peter Bartlett

An award-winning design and innovation consultant, Peter has led billion-dollar world-wide product launches, partnered with young start-up companies, and worked for industry leaders Hewlett-Packard, ACCO Brands, Philips, University of Cincinnati, Savannah College of Art & Design, and Crown Equipment delivering business strategy, product & brand marketing, design research, product development, and design expertise.

Andy Littledale

Andy is a highly-experienced entrepreneur with 20 years in industry including a high profile exit to Twitter as CEO of SecondSync in 2014. He has first-hand experience of all aspects of the start-up lifecycle including ideation, business planning, team-building, product development, fundraising, scaling up, product sales, patents, corporate strategy and exit planning. Andy has a background in technical innovation (including hands on software engineering), a Master’s degree in Information Systems and Computing and excellent connections into the start-up community in the UK and internationally. He has previously held innovation roles at the BBC and Twitter and for several years ran a digital agency specialising in creative prototyping with clients including Adobe, HP, BBC and Aardman. He is a Non-Exec at and also sits on the advisory board for the Digital Cultures Research Centre. 

Cecilia Thirlway

Cecilia is a writer, researcher and consultant with over 25 years’ experience in corporate communications for organisations ranging from FTSE100 global enterprises to tiny start-ups, charities and government bodies. She is interested in everything, but particularly in how the right language can influence people’s actions, shape cultures and bring about change. She specialises in working with businesses in the technology sector who need to explain complex concepts to non-technical audiences, and for the last ten years has run her own consulting practice, as well as mentoring businesses on programmes run by UKTI and Creative England, helping them shape their business model, value proposition and key messages. Cecilia is a Fellow of the RSA and is currently researching a PhD thesis on the stories organisations tell about technology, climate change and the future.

Andy Collins

Andy is a lecturer in entrepreneurship and specialises in the early stages of scientific and deep-tech companies. He is experienced at working between industry and academia has a scientific background in nanoscience. He was previously involved in the development and training of quantum engineering start-up founders through the QTEC programme and the Quantum Technologies Innovation Centre. While there he set up his own company, SurfaceRF, and has worked as a consultant scientist and lecturer running the boot-camp style “Catalyst” workshop internationally. Andy is also a visiting professor at the Nagaoka University of Technology, Japan and supports their international collaboration WISE programme.”

Kirsten Cater

Kirsten specialises in Human Computer Interaction and Tangible User Interfaces. She has designed and researched innovative technological products and software services for a range of users from school children to elderly residents in care homes, and with a range of clients from SMEs to large companies such as UKHO, BBC, HP and IBM. Kirsten is also the co-director of the Pervasive Media Studio, a collaboration between the University of Bristol, University of West of England and Watershed, which hosts a brilliant community of artists, creative companies, start-ups, technologists and academics exploring experience design and creative technologies.

Antony Beckett

Antony has worked at several UK Universities and his current area of focus in both teaching and research is innovation. He has consulted with several large UK and international companies and organisations including Avia Insurance, The British Heart Foundation and Diageo. Currently, Antony is leading a range of initiatives at the University exploring how the built environment and the organisation of space ‘scripts’ learning and teaching. This forms part of an initiative to transform learning and teaching within the University.

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