Dr. Maria A. Nelson is passionate about fostering collaboration between bright minds from corporates, startups and academia. She believes that innovation can thrive where three forces collide: the drive to develop new ideas that solve real problems, the tenacity to turn them into reality, and the conviction for the direction of travel despite drawbacks.
Maria is Senior Head of Innovation Practice at Digital Catapult, a national centre to accelerate the early adoption of advanced digital technologies. With her team, she runs a portfolio of innovation programmes that help small companies grow and large companies innovate. She has worked with numerous startups and corporate partners including PwC, Rolls-Royce, Thales and Visa.
Before joining Digital Catapult, Maria was the Innovation Programme Manager at Cisco CREATE, Cisco’s Internet of Everything Innovation Centre in London, leading collaborative innovation projects such as intelligent lighting, smart stations and connected healthcare.
Maria has a background in innovation management and strategic communications, and has authored a book analysing how creativity and innovation have become core assets of contemporary economies.