Above Image: Getty Images
David Moinina Sengeh
Chief Innovation Officer. Biomedical Engineer. World’s Best Minister.
A trailblazer and thought leader in the fields of biomedical engineering, mechatronics, and education, Dr. David Moinina Sengeh is a tireless advocate for Sierra Leone, where he was born and raised and where more than 8,000 men, women and children had limbs amputated during a brutal civil war. Growing up, David noticed that many people there opted not to wear the prosthesis they were given because of poor fit and nagging discomfort. So, what did he do? While working towards his PhD from the prestigious MIT Media Lab, David worked in the biomechatronics group, helping to revolutionize prosthetic design through comfortable sockets, wearable interfaces and design that worked from the patient out, rather than the other way around. For this invention, he won the coveted Lemelson-MIT National Collegiate Student Prize. His groundbreaking designs not only improved the lives of individuals with limb loss, but also garnered international recognition.
Early in his career in biomechatronics, IBM Research Africa hired David as a Research Scientist to focus on the intersection of applied analytics, machine learning, and healthcare with a focus on Africa. In his spare time, David serves as the president and co-founder of the international NGO, Global Minimum, championing the culture of innovation among African high school students through initiatives like its GMin Innovate Challenges. Through GMin, he empowers youth to transform their ideas into tangible, award-winning solutions—a powerful approach that has garnered him a Rockefeller Foundation Next Century Innovators Award.
In 2019, David was called home by President Julius Maada Bio to serve as Sierra Leone’s first-ever chief innovation officer and minister of basic and senior secondary education. In this role, he has spearheaded numerous transformative initiatives to reform and redesign the country’s healthcare and education systems with the bold goal to “halve learning poverty in seven years.”
Named a Forbes' 30 under 30 in Technology in 2014, TED Senior Fellow, National Geographic Emerging Explorer, and one of Bill Gates’ Heroes in the Field in 2021, David is sought after worldwide for his insights on how to revolutionize education. He is a co-author of the influential 2022 Brookings Institution report Transforming Education Systems: Why, What, and How, and his latest book, Radical Inclusion: 7 Steps to Help You Create a More Just Workplace, Home, and World (Melinda French Gates’ Flatiron Books - Moment of Lift, 2023) - a KIRKUS Critics pick for Best Books.
On stage, David shares his vision for creating an educated populace and a more just and equitable society.
"Using stories and examples, David Moinina Sengeh presents seven principles for radical inclusion that are AS ACTIONABLE AS THEY ARE POWERFUL." ―Brené Brown
As the newly appointed chief innovation officer, and minister of education in Sierra Leone, Dr. David Moinina Sengeh assumed that the administration he served shared his conviction that all girls belong in the classroom. He was shocked to learn he was wrong.
Radical Inclusion begins as the Dr. Sengeh’s drive to guarantee all girls’ right to an education and goes on to serve as a roadmap for helping each of us uncover and overcome biases in our communities, companies, and circles, by reimagining the systems that perpetuate exclusion.
With trademark candor, Dr. Sengeh also shares personal experiences, as he strived to rethink outdated systems: encountering racial profiling as a Harvard undergrad, developing revolutionary prosthetics for landmine victims while earning his Ph.D. at MIT, and working to combat algorithmic bias as a data scientist for IBM. By showing how to identify exclusions, build coalitions, and adapt to a new normal, Dr. Sengeh helps companies, organizations, and society at large unleash the power of radical inclusivity.
Photos: courtesy David Moinina Sengeh
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