Surrey Centre of Digital Economy

The Digital Economy revolutionises how we work, how we compete, how organise and how we innovate.

The University of Surrey’s Centre for the Digital Economy (CoDE) investigates the emerging patterns of the Digital Economy through a process of Collaborative Discovery that blends research, education, problem-solving and brokering. We engage in this process with enterprises large & small, researchers and students in our Business Insights Lab.

We explore topics such as digital platforms, emerging business models, distributed ledger technologies, and Agile innovation by combining cutting-edge business experimentation with classic methods of research. We believe that Collaborative Discovery will help us navigate – together – a world that is uncertain, unpredictable and unrecognisable to traditional business models.

Designing effective organisations and institutions for the digital economy is the grand challenge for our time.

Research and development

CoDE is exploring the broad economic, organizational, and behavioural changes brought about by the advance and spread of digital technology.

A complete digital landscape

Because of our alignment with University of Surrey at the Surrey Business School, CoDE is uniquely equipped to tap cutting-edge research across disciplines, and help navigate a business world that is uncertain, unpredictable, and unrecognisable to traditional business models.

Every business is now a digital business; every budget is an IT budget. This is because the constant stream of digital technology changes, optimised production practices, and flexible global delivery models has quietly turned into a revolution in business models, consumer expectations, and societal behaviours.

CoDE is not about IT, or about digital technology: it’s about the ‘ecology’ of technology – how Digital transforms not only what can be done, but how it is done, and by whom – and the threats and opportunities this poses for business, government, and society.

What is the Digital Economy?


Prof Annabelle Gawer


Who We Are


Professor Annabelle Gawer

Managing Director

Dr. Ben Eaton

Senior Lecturer

Dr. Itziar Castello

Senior Lecturer

Dr. Ben Shenoy

Director, Business Insights Lab

Mr. Jim Sears

Senior Teaching Fellow

Mr. Muhammad Ali

Impact Manager

Dr. Munir Abbasi

Senior Research Fellow

CoDE Reports


Digital Interconnectivity: A Reformation of the Banking Sector

Even with the multi-billions of dollars invested so far in FinTech, little has changed for the average banking customer.  Yet the banking sector cannot remain impervious to the digital disruption that has permeated virtually every other area of commerce.

This report illuminates the most likely direction of travel in the banking sector enabled by digital technologies such as interconnectivity, cloud-based computing, mobility, data analytics, distributed ledger technology and web-based service-centric IT architectures. In our view, major elements of the banking sector will undergo massive digital transformation over the next 5-10 years. This will create many new opportunities for both retail and commercial customers.

Machine Intelligence: The ‘Killer App’ for the Digital Economy

The challenges and opportunities for senior executives in harnessing the power of new digital technologies such as Machine Intelligence.

In this report we identify the missing link between a surfeit of information on every aspect of our economic and personal lives, and an effective means of harnessing an almost limitless data resource. This missing link is called ‘Machine Intelligence’ or ‘MI’ and combines a range of technologies such as machine learning, natural language recognition, and artificial intelligence.

Escaping Legacy

Removing a major roadblock to a digital future

Core legacy systems inhibit business’ ability to meet changing customer demands in the digital age. The scale and nature of the problem is such that it needs to be addressed now. Our Survey suggests that it is addressable without the need for large-scale multi-year programmes to re-write these applications.

Rules for Digital Revolutionaries

Emerging guidelines for financial institutions on digital technology and innovation

In setting up our Innovation & Digital Lab in the summer of 2016, one of our key objectives has been to help clients better navigate the ever-changing digital world. For financial services organisations in particular, the pace of digital change is vast and sometimes it is difficult to know how to embrace the topic.

Online Platforms and the Digital Single Market

Published by the Authority of the House of Lords

Online platforms, which comprise a wide range of software-based technologies, from search engines and social networks to price comparison websites and collaborative economy platforms, are drivers of growth, innovation and competition. They enable businesses and consumers to make the most of the opportunities created by the digital economy. Supported by the emergence of mobile devices and pervasive wireless connectivity, online platforms have transformed how we live, interact and transact. In doing so they have disrupted existing sectors of the economy and challenged regulatory frameworks.

The Rise of the Platform Enterprise

A Global Survey

Enterprises that leverage the power of platform business models have grown dramatically in size and scale over the past decade. No longer the sole domain of social media, travel, books or music, platform business models have made inroads into transportation, banking and even healthcare and energy. Platforms are now active in North America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America. Some platforms are household names such as Amazon, Apple, Google and Alibaba. Others have emerged more recently or hail from parts of the world that get less attention such as Rakuten (Japan), Delivery Hero (Germany), Naspers (South Africa), Flipkart (India) or Javago (Nigeria). Platform ecosystems are gaining ground through the digitalization of products, services and businesses processes and in the process are reshaping the global landscape.

Online Platforms: Contrasting perceptions of European stakeholders

A qualitative analysis of the European Commission’s Public Consultation on the Regulatory Environment for Platforms

This report analyses the answers to 8 open questions in the European Commission’s public consultation on platforms. Themes included the definition of platforms, platforms’ treatment of suppliers and customers, constraints platforms face when expanding their business in the EU, and their handling of consumer data.

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