Professionally I spend my time designing complex digital products and services – or establishing teams and processes that can do. Outside work I think a lot about the impact data has on our lives and occasionally I create data visualisations. I’ve worked alone, worked in-house, run my own agency and am currently very happy working for a large tech consultancy.
What I do
At my core, I like solving problems. I realised long into my digital career that my farming background is the basis of this – a daily, iterative challenge to solve challenges like stopping or increasing a flow of water, keeping animals contained and alive, planning and executing a harvest or felling a tree in a small space.
As a designer, I’m happiest – and I think of most value to a project – when my design activity pushes forward the progress of whatever I’m working on. This might sound like an obvious description of a designer, but it took me many years to understand this and to find the ‘digital transformation’ context in which I can have high impact.
Designing digital transformation sometimes doesn’t feel like design – I spend far more time running workshops, analysing metrics, collaborating on digital whiteboards, creating content in spreadsheets and hacking HTML in the browser than I do using traditional design tools.
But large digital transformation projects often epitomise the classic design challenge – they centre around people, come with historical constraints yet opportunities to innovate, need to constantly consider both micro and macro perspectives, value tangible improvements over a long-term perfect solution, and must typically be delivered as iterations of an already operating system.
OK. But what do I actually do, day to day?
- Analyse and help to understand problems – whether small or vast.
- Move between design disciplines – from Service Design through to User Experience and Interaction Design.
- Design and deliver iterations of digital products.
- Help teams to define and implement design systems, tools and methods.
- Manage, support or mentor other designers.
- Champion and implement design thinking and design ways of working.
- Create visual methods for making sense of data.