10th Lecture of the IEL Distinguished Speaker Series

The 10th Lecture of the IEL Distinguished Speaker Series will be delivered by
Professor Richard J Parker, CBE, FREng
Director of Research and Technology, Rolls-Royce (retired)


When Ric Parker retired earlier this year, he was the longest serving CTO in the FTSE 100 Companies, with 15 years in the role and 37 years in the Company. This experience has given Ric time to reflect on what makes innovation successful (and why it sometimes fails). Why is innovation different from invention: invention is that flash of brilliance that leads to a vital new idea, captured in a patent, or technical publication; but innovation is the entire process of turning that idea into wealth creation, social benefit, or both. Ric’s own model for corporate innovation maps it into a Boston box with axes of  internal or external, closed or open. This model will be explored, looking at companies that have successfully employed each of the four possible approaches. What are the implications for corporate culture and employee behaviours that go with each of these. Singapore is an excellent micro-culture in which to explore these models, and Ric is currently advising A*STAR on how to effectively convert investment in technology into wealth creation for Singapore.

About Professor Richard J Parker, CBE, FREng

Recently retired, Richard (Ric) Parker was Director of Research & Technology, Rolls-Royce Group from January 2001 to March 2016. He was responsible for direction and co-ordination of Research & Technology programmes across all the Rolls-Royce businesses, worldwide. Ric joined Rolls-Royce in 1978.

Ric was awarded a CBE in the 2013 New Year’s Honours List for “Services to Engineering”. In 2014 he was voted European CTO (Chief Technology Officer) of the Year- 2014. In 2015 he was awarded the Royal Aeronautical Society Gold Medal.

Ric is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society, a Fellow of the Institute of Physics and a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. He is a Liveryman in the Worshipful Company of Engineers.

Ric gained a BSc in Physics at Imperial College, London in 1975 and an MBA with distinction at Loughborough University in 1992. He has Doctorates (honoris causa) from Pusan National University, Korea and Nanyang Technological University, Singapore; and from Loughborough University, Sheffield University and Heriot Watt University, in the UK. He is a visiting Professor in Aerospace Technology at Loughborough University and an Honorary Professor in Materials Engineering at Birmingham University, UK.

Ric is married to Jenette, has two daughters, and has homes in Littleover, Derby and Nine Elms, London, UK.


Date: 25 Oct 2016
Time: 630-730PM
Venue: Engineering Auditorium

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