Paul Clarke CBE FREng FRSA
Independent Advisor to Government, Industry and Start-ups at Health Data Research UK (HDR UK)
In November 2020, Paul Clarke stepped down as Chief Technology Officer at Ocado, where he had led the sharp end of their innovation factory for many years, cooking with a cauldron of disruptive technologies including data, AI, IoT, synthetic environments, digital twins, robotics, smart machines and living labs.
Paul is passionate about the recipes for successful invention, innovation and disruption, which in his experience are all about embracing non-linearity, mess, uncertainty, intersectional thinking, unconventionality, intuition and leaps of faith. He believes building a successful innovation factory is all about the people, culture, creativity, leadership and vision rather than just the underlying technologies, and he has spent much of his career being a piece of disruptive grit in a number of different oysters, trying to help people see what they can’t see and trying to inspire teams to do things they never dreamed possible.
He now sits on a number of government and industry advisory boards including the AI Council, Robotics Growth Partnership (co-chair), National Physical Laboratory and Health Data Research UK, whilst at the same time advising a growing portfolio of exciting start-ups. He was a member of the Innovation Expert Group that fed into the UK Innovation Strategy and an advisor to the National Food Strategy.
Paul believes that on the back of existing missions and moonshots, the UK needs to assemble a “Lego set” of reusable building blocks, tools and infrastructure to enable research and innovation to be undertaken smarter, faster, with less cost and risk and with greater accessibility. This is needed to deliver greater prosperity, resilience and defensible competitive advantage for the UK, but also at a planetary scale to tackle the mega-challenges we now face as a species. To this end, he was one of the lead authors of the Cyber-Physical Infrastructure vision which was published by the government in Feb 2022 and was then the subject of a BEIS led formal consultation process.
Paul originally read Physics at Oxford, before then entering the computer industry. He has worked in software engineering, consultancy, interim management and a number of software start-ups. In what little spare time he has alongside his work and family, Paul loves to invent and build stuff, design PCBs, write software and generally tinker.