The tech industry is now in the spotlight of press, public, and regulators alike. Employee groups are mobilising for change. Tech teams can no longer choose to see only the upsides of their inventions: they must look deeper at the consequences of their work, and bring ethics into the heart of their approaches.

What I offer

I can help your team to:

  • anticipate potential ethical harms, unintended consequences, and externalities of your decisions;

  • build ethical experimentation and persuasive design programmes;

  • ensure your products and services are designed with data ethics and privacy in mind;

  • prioritise user safety in your product design;

  • identify and mitigate algorithmic bias and other AI ethics concerns;

  • create compelling business cases for ethics, while avoiding common pitfalls;

  • develop ‘ethical infrastructure’ through team development, career ladders, and core values;

  • create ethical policies, position statements, and design principles.

This consulting can also be supplemented by hands-on digital product design, my Practical Ethics for Tech Teams workshop, guest presentations, and unique ethical design sprints.

Delivery options

One-off advisory meeting · A one-hour videoconference to discuss your tech ethics issues, ask questions, and discuss potential options for your team. I’m happy to meet one-to-one or with groups, but this option doesn’t include giving a remote talk: see In-house speaking.

Flexible consulting · A custom package of consultancy, likely a mix of onsite and remote delivery. I recommend an initial 1–2 week burst, subsequently transitioning into a lighter retainer relationship, but packages can be tailored according to need.

How you benefit

My advice on effecting genuine ethical change in your company can help reduce the risk your team is exposed to, be that from product failure, unhappy customers, lawsuits, or even flawed regulation. It can help re-engage employees who have felt dissatisfied with the company’s choices, and unite a team under a common set of values.

But most importantly, a sharp focus on ethics can be a powerful competitive differentiator. You will learn how ethics can be a seed of innovation, not just a pair of shears. You will be better positioned to gain long-term trust from your users, and profit as a result.

Who am I?

I’m Cennydd Bowles, author of Future Ethics, described as ‘The most comprehensive and accessible tech ethics book I’ve read’ and ‘A must read for anyone who is inventing the future’.

Although I’ve done the ethical legwork – I know my Aquinas from my Rousseau – I’m not an academic ethicist. I’m a practising designer, with first-hand experience inside the world’s most significant tech companies. I know the changing face of technology and the teams that make it, from Silicon Valley and beyond. My experience includes three years as senior designer and design manager at Twitter, a reviewer for Google’s People + AI Guidebook, and hosting ethical meetups for local communities and companies like Facebook. I’ve presented on the ethics of technology and design at Microsoft, Stanford University, Dropbox, the BBC, and Hulu.

My applied focus means I tend not to get involved in deep issues of ethical policy or regulation: these are domains best left to the philosophical experts. I aim instead translate ideas from classical and contemporary ethics into practical advice for tech teams wrestling with the crucial issues that surround emerging technologies. For deeper work I have a network of experts I can draw upon and introduce, from STS (science and technology studies) academics, to professional ethicists, to machine-learning experts. I never claim expertise that others are better placed to offer.

Testimonials on Cennydd’s work

‘Cennydd’s long-lens view of ethics is exactly what designers, product managers and builders of today’s digital products need.’ —Azeem Azhar, Exponential View

‘Left feeling very grateful for the work you’ve done, and for making it so accessible to us.’ —senior designer, financial services client.