Interview With Glenn Parry, Professor of Digital Transformation at University of Surrey – Digital And Real Economy

Glenn Parry is a professor of Digital Transformation and Head of Department of Digital Economy, Entrepreneurship and Innovation at University of Surrey. Professor Glenn Parry is the new guest in this Dinis Guarda citiesabc openbusinesscouncil YouTube Series. Hosted by Dinis Guarda.

Prof Glenn Parry Interview Focus

1. How did your profile Background come together?
2. Can you tell us about the academic background Cambridge, Warwick, and now leading critical areas in the University of Surrey and the work you have been doing between the academic and business?
3. You are leading the Digital Transformation as CoDirector of DECaDE – what is this department and some examples of the department work as Head, Department of Digital Economy Entrepreneurship and Innovation. How do you see the Digital Economy – specifically the bridges between the real economy and the digital twin economy?
4. How do you see the changes between digital transformation inclusion and exclusion – special when it comes to corporations and governments and how to bridge the digital divide?
5. Difference between digitisation and digitalisation?
6. Blockchain and supply chain is now a critical element but there are still substantial myths around decentralised ledgers technologies. Can you guide us through the concept and some major case studies you have been working on?
7. You are a global authority on blockchain for good. Can you tell us about that and some vision and highlights?
8. You have been working on Biological markers Digital and biological biomarkers solutions. This is going to be the next frontier when it comes to bioengineering and related solutions. Can you elaborate on this and some particular case studies?
9. You have been involved in creative industries, music and art. We are now seeing a major growth of NFTs and Digital Art as a whole. Can you tell us about your background and how you see this?

Glenn Parry Interview Notes

Universities are a hub for collaboration mainly because they provide a learning environment made up of people with different cultures and perspectives. That is inherently good as such a mix of experiences and perspectives promotes conversations and drives innovation. At universities we find the entrepreneurs of the future, the academics, the leaders and it is within universities where we expand humanity’s knowledge and that is ultimately good per se.

Differences between the real economy and digital economy. Its impossible to split the digital economy and the economy. The only economy that exists is the digital economy. Everything is digital somewhat. My window cleaner has a Facebook page. You can transact in the dessert via mobile phone. There is still an ongoing digitization as there are some processes and businesses that still operate parts of their businesses in analog, but I think that is a good thing as there must be some things that need to be on paper, so to speak. Mainly because the problems that exist in the analog world will be translated into the digital. And there are frameworks that were sorted out in the real economy that are presenting issues in the digital economy, like data privacy. That is a conversation that we need to have: how a company saves and uses user’s privacy and how that data is going to be used and regulated. There are many more examples; inequality – that is being automated and we need to question that.

About blockchain. Blockchain is basically a list that is very difficult to change. As of now, it works well with transactions. That provides a record that can be easily accessed and traceable while leveraging security as it can’t be easily edited. Before we had third-parties that had to be trusted by all parties involved in that transaction, but sometimes parties had no other option. Blockchain is more reliable and the data can’t be easily manipulated. Blockchain works specifically well when applied in the supply chain industry as goods, costs can be traced to the very beginning.

This is linked with the concept of blockchain for good. For example, a company can use blockchain to list the resources they have on offer, showing for example the mass of a resource as it moves through a supply chain. That can be a good thing as everyone knows what they have, how that resource is transformed and through audit we can see the provenance. That can be used to make sure that companies, and countries, follow sustainable and ethically sound social processes. It provides visibility. However, making that data available for everyone presents also a privacy challenge. It gives competitors insight into your supply chain. But it also means that companies not inclined to follow sustainability procedures can hide behind a competitive advantage claim. These are problems to solve.

So blockchain for good should be an initiative that involves not only the technology development but also all the players involved in the supply chain, in this case, bringing together firms, workers’ unions, decision makers, retailers and consumers. It’s a socio-technical challenge.

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Glenn Parry Biography

Professor Glenn Parry received B.Sc and M.Phil degrees from University of Wales, Swansea in 1995 and 1997. In 2003, he obtained Certificate in Counselling and Psychotherapy from Coventry University, and Certificate in Teaching Higher Education, and a Diploma in Rogerian Counselling and Psychotherapy from University of Warwick in 2005. He completed his PhD from University of Cambridge in 2000.

Professor Glenn Parry is Professor of Digital Transformation; Head, Department of Digital Economy Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Surrey. He is currently involved in understanding value in digital markets, business models, supply chain resilience, application of Blockchain for good, and helping companies move from product to service provision. His research is characterised by a focus on practical application, looking at process and leading practice which moves companies forward.

Prof Parry is also CoDirector of DECaDE: Centre for the Decentralised Digital Economy, a UK research centre exploring the potential for decentralized platforms to disrupt the Digital Economy and represents £4M of UKRI/EPSRC investment plus over £6M of industrial contribution.

Glenn is CoI of the £1.5M Optimising Me Manufacturing System [OMMS] EPSRC project developing a healthcare microfactory that provides on-the-body manufacturing of therapeutics. 

Prof Parry is CoI of the £1.75m EPSRC project to develop the next generation of “Trans-Disciplinary Design-Engineers” who have the skills to realise the potential of current and future manufacturing processes and techniques.

He is CoI on the £1.2m EPSRC Hub of All things [] a personal virtual computer and data store for individuals. He is working on a British Academy project examining Blockchain for Good, was PI on an RCUK grant to explore Cryptocurrencies and distributed ledger, was CoI on “The Uber Disruption”, a project examining which variables can be used to describe digital technology disruption. Glenn has worked in the creative industries [music, books, TV], exploring the impact of the move from physical to digital.

Prof Parry was PI for British Academy project to examine how ex-offenders achieve better outcomes when supported by business to use their own resources. Case studies detailed effective rehabilitation business models in the UK and USA.

As a CoI on the AHRC grant Bristol and Bath by Design (BBxD) Glenn examined the business models and enterprises that create design value propositions. Work captures the history of design in the region and the value that working as a designer in Bristol and Bath brings.

Prof Parry was part of the £2million BAE Systems/EPRSC S4T programme that informed the continuing transformation of the UK economy towards increasing value generation from product related services. Glenn is an Editor for the resultant project book “Complex Engineering Service”, by Springer.

Prof Parry is an editor for the textbook “Service Design and Delivery” published by Springer. The book is aimed at Masters level students and has been adopted by universities around the world.

Prof Parry was a Theme Leader and Director for the €16M EU Intelligent Logistics for Innovative Product Technologies (ILIPT) project, a European consortium of 30 companies from across the automotive supply chain. The work demonstrated how automotive companies can produce and deliver a customer bespoke car only 5 days after receiving an order. Findings were published in the book, ‘Build to Order; The Road to the 5-day Car’, available from ​

Glenn Parry Links & References