My Digital Hero: Anna Rafferty, VP, Digital Consumer Engagement, The LEGO Group

We’re asking some of our industry’s leading figures to nominate their digital hero and to explain what’s so special about them.

Lego VP Digital Anna Rafferty has been in the digital industry for 20 years, starting off at Lastminute.com. She’s done incredible work throughout her career at companies including the BBC, Penguin and Pottermore and has been a driving force for good in the digital industry. She’s currently chair at Culture24 and trustee of the Women’s Prize for Fiction.

Who is your digital hero?

Rachel Coldicutt, the CEO of Doteveryone, an independent  think tank that champions responsible innovation for the good of everyone in society.

What have she done to win hero status in your eyes?

Rachel has done exciting, innovative and inspirational work throughout her career; from her pioneering work leading digital at the Royal Opera House, to (along with WeAreCaper co-founder Katy Beale) initiating a female-only speakers-list, the Articulate Network, which was a resource to reveal and champion the many female experts in the tech and creative industries… and help consign all-male panels to the past. 

However, it’s her work as CEO of Doteveryone that really elevates her to hero in my eyes.  Rachel and Doteveryone (founded and chaired by Baroness Lane-Fox of Soho, also my first boss) tackle the meaningful issues and challenging debates in tech that most others tiptoe gingerly around. 

It might be the ethics of AI, the representation of women in ‘Future’ narratives or the use of responsible tech to mitigate against a social care crisis; Doteveryone, and at the helm Rachel, is not afraid to lead a brave agenda of change in both big business and public policy.

How has their heroism helped drive digital?

For us to all thrive in an increasingly digital world, we need to properly think – about guardrails, about regulation, about consumer protections – not just about what we can do but about what we should do – and Rachel does this. 

Her work makes it possible for me to believe in a responsible internet in which children can be creative, learn new skills and build the world of tomorrow; all of which is part of my mission at LEGO.

What the biggest challenges in digital we need another hero to solve?

I want more of us to rally to Rachel’s cause and fight for responsible technology with clear-eyed thoughtfulness about the unintended consequences our innovations might have… and then commit to hard work and care to avoid those scenarios. 

I want to continue to make marvellous, educational and delightful experiences for children but in places where I am confident of their safety.

What is your most heroic personal achievement so far in digital?

If a hero is someone who chooses to do the right thing rather than the easy thing, then founding Spinebreakers, the now retired but then terrific, teenage-booklovers-social-media-co-created site was a significantly heroic moment. 

It was flipping hard, took endless hours of persuasion from me and other champions like Sam Conniff to get publishers, authors, brands and most importantly, young readers involved, but we did it.  It lasted for years, hundreds of thousands of teen editors contributed to it, even more read, watched and interacted with it, some books were ‘made’ by it and I know of at least one person who say it – literally – saved their life. 

So that still makes me proud.

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