Dr. Pippa Malmgren @DrPippaM

Dr. Malmgren co-founded H Robotics. She is an economist who decided to stop just talking about the economy and started to be part of building it. She found a team with the right skills and built an entirely new kind of electronic tool in the drone/autonomous vehicle space starting in 2012, when hardly anyone had heard about drones. In 2019 Barclays estimated that the size of the global commercial drone market is set to increase from $4b to $40b by 2024, a 10x increase in just 5 years. But, she also realized that most of the drones were retail consumer toys and could not be relied on by businesses in their efforts to digitize and to introduce sophisticated new AI-led and machine-learning software tools. A new design, a new philosophy of data-gathering was needed. H Robotics, profoundly redesigned the entire concept of an aerial drone for industry by introducing the more stable H frame configuration, by making the system open-architecture for both hardware and software and by making it user friendly for non-professional pilots and for senior management who just want to access their data and analytics quickly and easily.

At the time, most thought that manufacturing had left the UK and that no one could compete with the international aerial drone-makers, especially the ones that already had scale. But she and her team realized that industrial needs are profoundly different from retail consumer needs. A workflow tool was needed, not a toy. Having an electronic product make in the UK would also address the data concerns that now dominate the drone industry. The British DNA is now a key selling point – Made in Britain. Made in and for British weather. Made with British engineering. It’s called HiSight.

Fighting gravity is a tough business, but delivering digitization is worth it. After all, digitization forms the foundation for the introduction of AI-led and machine-learning problem-solving. Without an easy and reliable means of collecting data, firms can’t advance into these new processes. A 2019 HBR Survey* of directors, CEOs and senior executives found that Digital Transformation (DT) risk was the #1 concern. Yet, 70% of all DT initiatives fail because they lack appropriate tools. Now they have a reliable aerial tool called HiSight. Once H Robotics perfected aerial drones, they then moved into autonomous vehicles for terrain, LoSight, and for marine environments, HydroSight.

Her robotics are now saving lives on construction sites by permitting high level inspections instead of needing to send a person up. They are being used to de-fuse landmines in war zones and thus saving humans from having to do that dangerous work manually. They are used to prevent the toxic tailings dams on mining sites from unnecessarily bursting or needing a person to go out and measure them.

Dr. Malmgren tries to exersize vision and leadership by manufacturing but also by advising and writing. She served President George W. Bush in the White House as Special Assistant to the President and on The National Economic Council. She serves as a judge on The Queen’s Enterprise Business Awards and was a member of the Board of Directors for The Department for International Trade in the UK from 2017-2019. She is a Senior Associate Fellow of RUSI. She is also on the Drone/UAV Committee of The British Standards Institute.

She is a major proponent of the idea that automation and robotics create jobs and growth, as is apparent from the fact that most countries are seeing record introduction of such processes and record employment simultaneously. But the work people now do is ever less dangerous, dirty and dull, which is a good thing.

Her book, The Leadership Lab, was named Business Book of the Year and Best Book on Leadership in the UK in 2019. She has been named one of the Fifty Top Inspiring Women in the UK and one of the Top 100 in Tech by @WATC_WeAreTech and shortlisted by Computer Weekly as a Most Influential Women in Tech for 2019. She has a BA from Mount Vernon College and an M.Sc. and PhD from LSE. She completed the Harvard Program on National Security and participated in the Pentagon’s Joint Civilian Orientation Conference. She lectures at Sandhurst and the Duke Fuqua Global Executive MBA Program and has lectured at the U Texas Austin and INSEAD. She gave the graduation address at the London School of Economics in 2013 and again in 2016.