Andy Pardoe

Andy Pardoe: Warwick alumni can leverage on support networks for the rest of their career

“When it comes to business adoption, artificial intelligence has reached a moment”, says Warwick Business School alum Andy Pardoe, and as someone who helps firms embrace the technology, he should know.  

“It’s really non-stop, to be honest,” says Professor Pardoe, who was crowned Technology Entrepreneur of the Year for the South West region in the Allica Bank Great British Entrepreneur Awards in November 2023.  

“Not so long ago, companies were saying to me ‘we really want to do something but we haven’t got the budget for it’. Now they are coming back to me and saying AI is the high priority.”   

The small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) market in particular is heating up, he says, as “they see for the first time the benefits of using the technology”.  

Cornwall-based Wisdom Works, the group he founded in 2015 to help clients with digital transformation, has been assisting one SME recently to populate its online marketing pages with quizzes and questionnaires, and that, according to Professor Pardoe, is exactly the sort of thing AI can help with. 

“The technology can solve the ‘blank page’ problem,” he says. “You can either sit there scratching your head or you can get generative AI to create lots of sales and marketing materials for you. It’s not perfect but it gets people started.”  

His technology consultancy is also kept busy developing chatbot capabilities and integrating AI into back-office functions such as transaction processing. All the same, winning the Great British Entrepreneur award still came as a surprise to the technology entrepreneur.  

“It was a huge privilege to be shortlisted, but to win it was amazing,” he says. “With the business AI market taking off, it will help to raise our profile. The timing has been perfect.”  

The old adage, though, is that it takes a lifetime to become an overnight success; and in many ways, the 52-year-old Warwick graduate has been waiting a long time for this moment.

“I first studied machine learning about 27 years ago in my PhD in Artificial Intelligence at the University of Warwick,” he says.

“I’ve been waiting for the world to catch up and catch on ever since!” 

WBS alumni networks 

This was his second degree at the University of Warwick – his first being a BSc in Computer Systems Engineering.  

Nor was it the last for the Worcester-born entrepreneur. He went on to take a Global Online MBA at Warwick Business School between 2006 and 2009, and ran the technology professional network at the School until very recently.

“The alumni ecosystem of WBS is one of its key strengths,” he says. “These are the support networks that you can leverage on for the rest of your career.”   

For the past four years, Professor Pardoe, who was made an Honorary Professor at the University of Warwick in 2019, has also been the Chair of the Deep Tech Innovation Centre, which is based at the University. The mission of the centre is to train and support students, staff, alumni and local businesses in early-stage start-ups in data science, AI or emerging technologies.    

It sounds like the stuff of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s dreams but the WBS graduate believes the UK has every chance of becoming a leading global hub for AI.

He says: “We have always been an inventive nation – we punch above our weight in that regard – but we need a more supportive environment. 

“We all know the story of DeepMind, the London AI firm that employs really talented, innovative people in this country but was acquired very early on by Google. We need to become much better at keeping innovation rooted in the UK.”  

The challenges and opportunities of AI 

As he assesses the journey that AI is beginning to take us all on, Professor Pardoe sees huge opportunities, yet at the same time, huge risks.

With algorithms being trained to make decisions about us and for us, one such challenge is the issue of digital trust between AI firms and consumers.

“There will always be companies who want to push the boundaries in unwelcome ways,” he says. “I hope investors will see that there’s value in in backing frameworks and platforms that can provide AI in a trustworthy and responsible way.” 

Whatever challenges lie ahead, Wisdom Works will be very much part of the journey.

“We have two sides of the business,” the technology entrepreneur says. “One is the traditional consulting and problem-solving service while the other is building bits of machine learning technology for clients.” 

Over the longer term, he and his team would like to build a next-generation AI platform in their own right. As he says, “The next ChatGPT, why not?” 

In the short term, though, the entrepreneur sees a busy and exciting year ahead.

“There are lots of things coming at us which is fantastic,” he says. “The challenge for me is managing that growth and making sure I’ve got the right team behind me to deliver a quality service.”  


The Global Online MBA at Warwick Business School provides a truly transformative experience, both professionally and personally.

Learn more about implementing digital transformation on the four-day Executive Education course Leading Digital Transformation at WBS London at The Shard.