'The opportunity to contribute to creating a better future is a huge motivation'

Professor Dame Caroline Dean of the John Innes Centre in Norwich. Picture: John Innes Centre.

David Parfrey, chief executive officer of Norwich Research Park, is inspired by the brilliant researchers addressing so many of the important issues around food supply, healthy ageing and climate change - Credit: John Innes Centre

The Suffolk Business Awards have been open for a few weeks now and we’ve already had some fantastic entries. Here we speak to David Parfrey, chief executive officer of Norwich Research Park and judge of the Changing Lives Special Recognition Award. 

Why were you keen to get involved in the Suffolk Business Awards? 

As a major employer and contributor to the regional economy, at Norwich Research Park we take our responsibility to the wider business community very seriously.  The awards represent a key opportunity to celebrate and engage with the business community in Suffolk and vitally to encourage further growth and social and economic impact. 

What have your previous experiences of judging been like? 

If I agree to do something, I commit to it 100%. So, with previous awards judging, I've dedicated a lot of time to make sure that my input is of high quality, is focused on measuring entrants’ submissions against the awards criteria and that each entrant gets equal consideration.  

It is hard work but equally rewarding and inspiring! 

What inspires you in business? 

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We are at a point in the life of this planet where the decisions we make now will have a profound effect on future generations to come. The opportunity to contribute to creating a better future is a huge motivation to make sure that the way we do business and what we produce will have a positive impact on our lives.  

Working at Norwich Research Park, where so many of the important issues around food supply, healthy ageing and climate change are being addressed by brilliant researchers, gives me first-hand motivation to try and make their work more accessible and easier to deliver. 

Do you have any anecdotes of moments that changed your business strategy? 

There’s a fantastic quote engraved in the ground in Boston: “Don’t go out today to see what’s happening, go out today to make something happen.”  

I am a great believer in taking responsibility for what you can do to help in any small way and to empower others to contribute their bit. 

David Parfrey, chief executive officer of Norwich Research Park Picture: Norwich Research Park

David Parfrey, chief executive officer of Norwich Research Park - Credit: Joe Lenton/Norwich Research Park

What will you be looking for in the winner? 

A business evolving and innovating and recognising that complete success combines the three Ps – people, place and product. 

It must have clarity and long-term vision in its relationship to people, its relationship to its wider community and environment (place) and what it does (product).  

I am keen to recognise those companies that have showed innovation in thinking differently and adopting sustainable processes where doing the right thing is more important than the bottom line and who have a leadership that can see over the immediate horizon. 

What advice would you give to a business that’s considering entering? 

It’s a great opportunity for you to evaluate how far you have progressed and to celebrate the successes you have had. You’ll be able to demonstrate how your activities are changing lives today, how your evolution will change lives in the future, and what your motivation is for embedding ‘changing lives’ into your core culture and business plan.  

CHANGING LIVES SPECIAL RECOGNITION AWARD CRITERIA 

This award is to recognise businesses that have a clear strategy to go above and beyond normal expectations to make a positive impact on the communities in which they are located. The judges will be looking for a clear focus on how the management and staff of these businesses deliver noticeable improvements to the lives, health and environment of the people in the places that they operate in. 

The closing date for entries is August 15. To enter, go to www.suffolkbusinessawards.co.uk

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