Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

My Digital Hero: Adah Parris

We’re asking some of our industry’s leading figures to nominate their digital hero and to explain what’s so special about them.

Adah Parris is a futurist and ‘cultural innovator’ who has worked with brands from Universal to Unilever and Sainsbury’s. She  was one of Google’s #IamRemarkable initiative Top 5 Global Emerging Innovators and one of the FT’s Top 100 Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Leaders in Tech in the UK.

Who is your digital hero?

Anjali Ramachandran. Co-founder of Ada’s List and Director of Storythings. [This is the second nomination for Anjali!].

What have they done to win hero status in your eyes?

A lot of Anjali’s drive is about providing a platform (through Ada’s List) for and amplifying the impact of technology on the ’othered’ (for example, those outside of the Western World, on girls, on the more mature generations). 

She is a beacon for bringing other perspectives to the forefront, presenting alternative lenses through which to view the world and approach innovation, in the hope that people will think and act differently. 

To create truly inclusive stories of our world. 

To me she is a Humanist first and Futurist second. 

How has their heroism helped drive digital?

Through Ada’s List Anjali (and her co-founder Merici Vinton) created a global platform and network for women by women (ALL self-identifying women).

Sharing the perspectives and raising the voices and profiles of all women working in and supporting all aspects of the tech industry. From coders to designers, educationalists, mathematicians, journalists, strategists, artists and activists. 

The platform has grown to be a global sisterhood of support, advice and collectively helps women to be have individual and collective voices, to be represented, counted and shift the status quo in the digital space. 

What the biggest challenges in digital we need another hero to solve?

We need more practical action in the area of the ethics of artificial intelligence at the design end. We need frameworks for how to mitigate and prevent some of the biases that already exist and are being integrated into existing systems. 

What is your most heroic personal achievement so far in digital?

Last November I was recognised as one of the UK’s Top 100 Black and Minority Ethnic Leaders in Tech for being a Technology Philosopher. 

I have developed a tool called The Four Freedomsâ„¢ which is culture-oriented framework for leaders which delivers effective transformation in an increasingly digital world. 

The framework helps to nurture and grow cultures of trust, transparency, continual personal and professional development, including those skills and competencies needed to grow and make the business more efficient. It also equips leaders with the building blocks for succession planning and creates a holistic culture of innovation.

It focuses on human and innovation (problem solving first) and tech second.

It is my ambition that The Four Freedomsâ„¢ will be able to create a space for different perspectives to be seen, heard and acted upon, and for us to be able to tell more impactful cultural stories in this digital world.

I also hope that it can have a wider societal impact. That it will be able to provide a framework for us to challenge and address issues of inequality, power, governance and sustainability.