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Department of Management

Professor Zena Wood

Professor Zena Wood

Associate Professor in Digital Economy




Zena Wood is an Associate Professor in Digital Economy and Director of the Defence Data Research Centre (DDRC). She has been a fellow of the Alan Turing Institute (ATI) since October 2021. 

Zena joined the Initiative for the Digital Economy (INDEX) in April 2019 and is based in their offices in South London. Prior to this she was employed by the University of Greenwich as a Senior Lecturer in Spatial Informatics.

Zena’s background is in Computer Science with her research focusing on how techniques from applied ontology and spatiotemporal reasoning can be used to derive value from datasets that would help us understand the impact of digital transformation within the Digital Economy. She is particularly interested in the overlap between methods that can be applied to datasets related to physical and non-physical environments. Most of her research is interdisciplinary involving collaborations with experts from geography, psychology and business.

The research in the physical world focuses on the development of representation, and data analytic, methods to identify and understand collective phenomena (i.e., groups of individuals that we wish to consider as one entity) within spatiotemporal datasets. Zena's most recent research has focused on digital transformation within the financial services sector, particularly those companies moving towards a servitization business model (e.g., a move from a product-based offering to a service- based offering). 

Nationality: British

Part of Initiative in the Digital Economy at Exeter (INDEX)


BSc Computer Science (Exeter), PhD Computer Science (Exeter), SHEA


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Research interests

  • Application of techniques from Geographic Information Science and Applied Ontology within the Digital Economy
  • The role of technologies in digital transformation 
  • Collective analysis
  • Movement pattern analysis

Collective analysis involves establishing what is meant by the term ‘collective’ from an ontological point of view and using this to develop techniques that can be used to analyse the phenomenon in more detail. The research focusing on movement pattern analysis focuses on collectives in both physical and virtual spaces.

Research projects

Examples of previous research projects:

  • Investigating the Data Reuse Problem. Funded by the Alan Turing Institute (October 2021 – April 2022). PI.

  • The Uber Disruption. Assessing the Impact of Digitisation on Local Transport (2016). Funded by the Research Council UK's NEMODE (New Economic Models in the Digital Economy) Fund. PI.
  • Using computational methods to produce a taxonomy of business models of the digital economy (2016). Funded by the Research Council UK's NEMODE (New Economic Models in the Digital Economy) Fund. PI.

Active research projects:

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Journal articles

Davies P, Fritzsche A, Parry G, Wood Z (2023). Data, resilience, and identity in the digital age. Strategic Change, 32(6), 169-174.
Khan MS, Charissis V, Godsiff P, Wood Z, Falah JF, Alfalah SFM, Harrison DK (2022). Improving User Experience and Communication of Digitally Enhanced Advanced Services (DEAS) Offers in Manufacturing Sector. Multimodal Technologies and Interaction, 6(3). Abstract.
Galton AP, Wood ZM (2016). Extensional and Intensional Collectives and the De re / De dicto Distinction. Applied Ontology, 11, 205-226.
Wood Z, Galton A (2010). Identifying characteristics of collective motion from GPS running data. CEUR Workshop Proceedings, 652, 117-120.
Wood Z, Galton A (2009). A taxonomy of collective phenomena. APPLIED ONTOLOGY, 4(3-4), 267-292.  Author URL.


Wang J, Wood Z, Worboys M (2016). Conflict in Pedestrian Networks. In  (Ed) Geospatial Data in a Changing World, Springer Nature, 261-278.
Wood ZM, Galton AP (2009). Classifying Collective Motion. In Gottfried B, Aghajan H (Eds.) Behaviour Monitoring and Interpretation - BMI: Smart Environments, Amsterdam: IOS Press, 129-155.


Wood Z (In Press). Considering Collectives: roles and members. Formal Ontology in Information Systems. Abstract.
Wood Z, Godsiff P, Fletcher S (2022). Servitization: insights from applied ontology. Competitive Advantage in the Digital Economy (CADE 2022).
Wood Z, Godsiff P (2021). Establishing the Core Principles of Servitisation for Application Outside Manufacturing. Competitive Advantage in the Digital Economy (CADE 2021).
Wood Z (2014). What can Spatial Collectives tell us about their Environment?. 2014 IEEE Symposium on Computational Intelligence and Data Mining (CIDM).
Wood Z (2013). Profiling Spatial Collectives. Research and Development in Intelligent Systems XXX. Proceedings of AI-2013. The Thirty-third SGAI International Conference on Innovative Techniques and Applications of Artificial Intelligence. 10th - 12th Dec 2013.
Wood ZM, Galton AP (2008). A New Classification of Collectives. Formal Ontology in Information Systems. 31st Oct - 3rd Nov 2008.
Galton AP, Wood ZM (2008). Collectives and How They Move: a Tale of Two Classifications. 2nd Workshop on Behaviour Monitoring and Interpretation (BMI'08). 23rd - 26th Sep 2008.

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External Engagement and Impact

External positions

  • Member of the Executive Council of the International Association of Ontology and its Applications (IAOA), 2015 - 2018.
  • Chair of International Association of Ontology and its Application (IAOA) Education committee, 2013 - 2019.
  • A member of national and international programme and steering committees. 

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