Data Fellowship

In 2019, we worked with 14 Fellows pioneering the responsible use of data in finance.

Why data?

At the beginning of 2018, we initiated a range of collaborations to understand and raise awareness of the opportunities and risks that data-driven finance presents for people and planet – especially Open Banking and the use of AI. As we convened experts from industry, tech, civil society and policymaking across the UK, we found that rapid transformation in data capabilities presented both risks of increasing inequalities of power and wealth, and opportunities to put people back in control of their money. Find out more here.

Data Fellows

Fellows’ projects range from Tumelo, providing radical transparency for investors, and CoGo, helping people track and reduce carbon impact of their spending, to NestEgg, reinvigorating responsible lending, and Mortar, pioneering flexible rent payments.

Find out more about all of the Fellows here.

The Programme

Running from January to September 2019, Fellows benefitted from monthly business strategy sessions, peer coaching, two residential leadership retreats, a Demo Day – and more. Working with experts across ethical finance, civil society, policymaking and responsible technology, we supported Fellows to test and refine their ideas, build purpose-driven business strategies, develop their leadership capabilities, and pioneer the responsible use of data in finance.

Through Fellowship, the Lab has supported 40 innovators since 2016. Find out more about the programme and its impact here.

In their own words

Here’s what some of the Fellows said about their experience:

Adrian Davis, NestEgg:

“I wanted to meet other people working for change, to find the right partnerships and re-install a sense of purpose to my work. Additionally I wanted to raise the profile of NestEgg and see how it could contribute to wider systems change. All of this, and more, has been delivered.”

Thaslima Begum, TEEK TAKA:

“I have learnt so much by taking part in the fellowship and am so grateful for all the new connections and friendships I’ve made along the way. Each monthly session focused on new topics and stimulated new conversations. I particularly enjoyed the workshops on leadership, data and systemic innovation. The Lab helped me to better understand my strengths and weaknesses as a leader and what next steps I need to take.”

George Unsworth, Mortar:

“I’m not sure I would have had the opportunity to learn so much about the implications of data bias and information asymmetry in any other start-up incubator environment! On several occasions now, the Lab has been the place where I have had distinct lightbulb moments in relation to the risks held by Mortar’s implementation of AI and automation.”

What’s next?

Over the course of the Fellowship, we learnt a huge amount about how to make ideas for using data for good in finance into a reality. We have shared our insights with parliamentarians and civil servants, spoken at high-profile events (such as The Alan Turing Institute’s conference on AI ethics in finance and The ODI Summit), and taught the data ethics module of Cranfield University’s MSc in Retail and Digital Banking. We’ve now launched a new programme – Transforming Data – to educate and amplify the voices of civil society around financial data, and to influence regulation so that it minimises the risks and maximises the opportunities of digital transformation.

Our Gratitude

We’re incredibly grateful to the 60+ members of the Lab community who supported the Data Fellowship – including by teaching sessions and providing specialist coaching.

We received invaluable advice and support from a range of experts in the responsible use of data, including the Ada Lovelace InstituteDataKindDoteveryoneNew Economics Foundation and The Open Data Institute.

We are also extremely grateful to the Lab’s funders – Friends Provident Foundation and Partners for a New Economy – without which the programme could not have happened.