Curriculum Vitae

Michela Magas MARCA, MPhil
twitter: @michelamagas

  • Chair of the Industry Commons Foundation
  • European Woman Innovator of the Year 2017
  • Innovation Advisor to the European Commission and G7 Leaders
  • Founder of the 7000+ global MTF community of innovators
  • 25 years of hands-on experience in innovation

My principal career aim is to build sustainable systems which enable greater value creation for  innovation communities. I bridge between policy and a large multiplier innovation ecosystem uniting industry, academia, startups and creative industries, across knowledge verticals.


Devising guidelines and concepts to speed up value creation in the process of innovation.
Since 2014 in my dual role as (i) founder and creative director of MTF with hands-on experience of growing innovation communities, and (ii) advisor to the CONNECT Advisory Forum (CAF), which involved coordinating Innovation recommendations, IoT business models, and AI recommendations for the EC Horizon Programme, I established a series of guidelines for deployment of technologies to innovators and early adopters, such as MARLs (Market Adoption Readiness Levels), the Technology Transfer Toolkit (TTT) and IP Stack innovation methods, derived from and implemented with grass roots communities. During this process I authored and evolved the Industry Commons methodologies for Open Innovation, which have been included in policies by DG RTD, DG Grow and DG CONNECT. I currently advise on the role of Creative Industries as part of the EU Industrial Policy.

Maintaining a vision to guide and challenge innovation communities and stimulate moonshots.
During the past 7 years of building innovation ecosystems I galvanised diverse communities around grand challenges in order to push at the boundaries of technological innovation and human transformation, continuously identifying novel pathways and opportunities at the junction between various disciplines and areas of knowledge and encouraging moonshots. The combination of vision, tools and funds resulted in unanticipated breakthroughs, with multiple awards for innovators, follow-up funding, partnerships and support.

Working with partners and investors to support innovator communities.
Over 150 organisations have supported the MTF Music Tech Fest innovation community to date, thanks to continuous efforts of forging partnerships, connections and devising support mechanisms with stakeholders across disciplines. These include large industry partners interested in boosting their product innovation capabilities, SMEs testing novel products and applications, research partners interested in knowledge transfer, and public bodies interested in boosting regional innovation ecosystems.


Founder & Chair, Industry Commons Foundation (Insamlingsstiftelse) (2019–)
The Industry Commons Foundation (Insamlingsstiftelse) has been established with 25 years of experience of working in innovation for large global corporations and running innovator communities of interdisciplinary experts. The Foundation draws on experience of design innovation for Apple, Nike, Nokia and other corporates, as well as authoring programmes and university courses for upskilling in critical thinking for technology design, creative computation, and innovation through practice. The purpose of the Foundation is to further and promote the advancement of interdisciplinary knowledge exchange, acquisition of skills, state of the art innovation methodologies and new knowledge creation.

Key achievements include: (i) establishment of a luminary Steering Board uniting large industry clusters, national bodies, and pan-European Open Innovation experts; (ii) design and implementation of supporting structures for transversal innovation processes; (iii) formal transfer of the activities of the EC OISPG (Open Innovation Strategy and Policy Group) to the Foundation.

Founder & Creative Director, MTF Music Tech Fest AB (2018 –)
MTF Music Tech Fest AB is the Swedish company founded to support the global transdisciplinary community of innovators, originally established in London by Stromatolite LTD. The MTF community counts over 7000 members and includes innovators from all areas of expertise, ages and social backgrounds. Regular week-long living labs focus on creative testbeds, showcases of innovation, and experimental co-creation with novel technological toolkits. Music Tech Fest large multi-day events have been supported by over 150 organisations, and hosted 17 times around the world by partners including Microsoft Research New England, Centre Pompidou in Paris and KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. Music Tech Fest is multidisciplinary, international, enriching, inclusive, and prides itself on being a technology enabler with an even gender split.

Key achievements include: (i) uniting artists and scientists, academia and industry in the space of common understanding; (ii) successfully facilitating technology transfer across knowledge silos (iii) surpassing 7000 global innovation community members; (iv) gathering support from over 150 global organisations; (v) taking grassroots specialist knowledge from applied expertise in real world case scenarios to directly inform and shape policy; (vi) scaling female participation to 53% at MTF Stockholm in 2018, making it the only known multi-gender technology platform with over 50% female participants; (vii) securing funding support for multiple successful outcomes of MTF collaboration activities.

Innovation Director, #MusicBricks (2015-2016)
I conceived, coordinated and implemented the Innovation Action #MusicBricks: Musical Building Blocks for Digital Makers and Content Creators, which served as pilot for several innovation methodologies evolved to boost the innovation potential of the Music Tech Fest community.

Key achievements include: (i) 11 new products targeting a range of industries from semiconductor to forestry; (ii) reducing the time from ideation to initiating patenting process to 4 months;  (iii) increasing participation of women in technology activities from 17% in engineering-only events (STEM) to 33% in creative technology events (STEAM); (iv) 7 academic publications as byproduct of increased knowledge transfer; (v) substantial follow-up funding for evolved prototypes; (vi) Innovator and entrepreneur awards by MIT, Forbes and the European Commission.

Founder & CEO, Sonaris Systems LTD (2011-2018)
Sonaris Systems was founded as a spinoff of Stromatolite LTD, built on patented machine learning technology authored by Michela Magas and Cyril Laurier. The Sonaris technology analyses an audio stream in real time, and matches it to similar sounds based on the smallest cultural unit of music. Sonaris bypasses semantic search and enables entry into global sound and music collections with fast licensing of music for international film and advertising productions.

Key achievements include: (i) award to Stromatolite LTD from Innovate UK; (ii) powered Peter Gabriel’s Cue Songs licensing platform; and (iii) selected in the category of the future of British innovation at the “Make It in Great Britain” exhibition at the Science Museum during the London Olympics.

Founder and CEO, Stromatolite LTD (2000-2018)
Stromatolite is a design and technology innovation lab founded in Shoreditch, London, in 2000, by Michela Magas and Peter Russell-Clarke. Since its inception Stromatolite has developed concepts for a series of international clients including Apple, Nike and Nokia, as well as educational methodologies for the Royal College of Art Design Products, Goldsmiths MA Design Critical Practice, and a series of international creative workshops. While Peter is now part of the Apple Industrial Design Team, Michela has continued to build teams focusing on visual communication, music tech and Open Product concepts.

Key achievements include: (i) Award by the UK Technology Strategy Board: Collaboration in Digital Industries; (ii) EU FP7 award for MIReS: roadmap for music information research; (iii) UK Technology Strategy Board award for Open Product Licenses; (iv) EU FP7 award for ICT&ART; (v) ‘art meets science’ NEMart award for Songlines (Barcelona 2010) and Synaesthesia (Istanbul 2012); (vi) the EU H2020 award for #MusicBricks; and (vii) two spin-offs: Sonaris Systems Ltd and Music Tech Fest Ltd.


  • Newspaper for the DIgital Age (1994), implemented with the FInancial Times over a 6 year period; later taken up by the Independent newspaper and evolved ountil 2013.
  • Dynamic digital browsing system (2003) , resulted in being headhunted by Apple and became the template for Apple’s Coverflow.
  • First iteration of the machine learning system for searching music using audio (2007), evolved with support from Innovate UK (TSB) into a patent for identifying the smallest cultural unit of music.
  • Open Product Licenses (2011). Supported by Innovate UK (TSB) and endorsed by CERN, the Open Product Licenses build on CERN’s Open Hardware to allow for Design by Attribution.
  • #MusicBricks pilot (2014), supported by H2020, the first technology transfer toolkit including Tangible User Interfaces (TUIs), which has since been scaled to work across industry verticals.
  • Industry Commons (2015), combining several mechanisms evolved over the years for a sustainable transversal system for Open Innovation, carried forward by the Industy Commons Foundation.


MPhil (PhD research) Arts and Computational Technology, Goldsmiths, University of London (2007-2010). Resulted in (i) patent GB2523973; (ii) first NEM award for ‘art meets science’ (2010); and (iii) Scientific Director, Roadmap for Music Information Research (EC FP7 2011-2013).

MA Design, Royal College of Art, London, focusing on systems design. Resulted in a comprehensive concept for a newspaper for the digital age (2014), later implemented with the Financial Times.