Univ entrepreneurs: Rohan Gunatillake
In the latest of this series we invited some of Univ’s entrepreneurs to talk about what inspires them and how they got started on their entrepreneurial journey.
Rohan Gunatillake (1999, MChem Chemistry), wellbeing entrepreneur and NHS design leader.
Following a conventional post-Univ career start in management consulting, I became a specialist in digital innovation in the arts. It was during my time as Innovation Lead for the Edinburgh Festivals that I applied my work experience with my personal background in meditation to make the popular mindfulness app Buddhify, and related products through my values-led company Mindfulness Everywhere.
In 2019 I moved to work for NHS Scotland as Head of Product for a new unit making software for clinicians and citizens, spent six months on secondment to Scottish Government as product lead on key public-facing COVID-19 vaccination digital services and I am now Head of Service Design at NHS 24. I spent six years on the board of the British Council and I am the host of the surprisingly good podcast Meditative Story.
Looking back, the thing that perhaps most enabled me to become an entrepreneur was when I decided to go to a four day week when I was 27 while in my corporate job. It was a risk but meant I had time to explore what else was out there and most importantly explore exciting ideas.
My time at Univ taught me a lot about how to deliver high quality work in tight time constraints without over-extending myself and also how important it is to do things because the ideas behind them energise you. In a world where large-scale individual success can often be at the expense of others, really being clear on how much is enough can be a real blessing. But for me perhaps the ultimate entrepreneurial superpower – though others may disagree – is not taking it all too personally because you are more than your work.
This feature was adapted from one first published in Issue 14 of The Martlet; read the full magazine here or explore our back catalogue of Martlets below:
Published: 21 July 2022