Supersized. Making design work in large organisations

I’ve spent 20 months growing a design team in the UK government’s largest public sector department. Think of this as a mid-term report and what I’ve already learned working in the education, media, arts, and charity sectors.

In government I believe it’s time to go big on design. Continue reading…


The relationships we build with people at work

I’ve been thinking about how we build relationships.

This is the most important thing most of us do at work. It’s how things get done. How tensions are resolved. How decisions get made.

It’s all about currency. Continue reading…

The weight of starting

Why you don’t need more evidence or certainty

Seal of the City of Cincinnati

Image – elycefeliz

I sometimes think there’s a problem of digital teams taking too much time to do things. They just don’t get started soon enough.

Getting started is about being willing to go out and test your biggest assumptions. Continue reading…


The moments of hope and joy

Bruce Springsteen performing in  Manchester - 25 May 2016

My view of Bruce Springsteen performing in Manchester, 25 May 2016

This is a lovely article about the experience of Springsteen live: A Bruce Springsteen show makes you feel like the best version of yourself. The following particularly got me:

I think it’s to do with being middle aged and being grimly aware that existence is a series of compromises, and that if life has a purpose then it is in finding the moments of hope and joy amid the disappointments and troubles.

Continue reading…

Disrupters vs Unifiers

Learning to play distinct roles at different times


Shakespeare’s Macbeth: Act 2

I had to ask myself the other week – am I being disruptive enough or have I become a unifier? I think that there’s a distinction. Organisations go through different phases or shift focus, often deliberately. Continue reading…

Good management is (still) a thing

As a manager, this is what I’ve learned so far

I aspire to be a better leader, but I spend much of my time these days ‘managing’. It’s probably the most important part of my job right now.

It feels like we hear a lot about the importance of leadership, but not so much about what good management looks like. Continue reading…

The bold city

Those that survive will be bold and imaginative


Hove seafront September 2005

I spent almost 6 years of my 20’s living in the city of Brighton and Hove. This Guardian article about the new Landmark i360 tower caught my attention late last year – Brighton reaches for the sky in bid to reverse its ‘lost decade’ of neglect. Continue reading…

Respectful disagreement

Good design critique should not be seen as a threat. I like this quote from Umair Haque:

Respectful disagreement produces creative tension. Enmity only produces destructive stagnation

A difference of opinion is an opportunity. Umair makes the point that the problem of the internet is that we’ve forgotten how to disagree. Continue reading…

We only notice what we notice

It’s May bank holiday in the United Kingdom. If you believe your television, everyone is decorating.

How things unfold

Once you paint one room, you recognise a greater need to paint the rest. You see all the imperfections in the next room. You obsess about things you hadn’t even noticed before. Continue reading…

Everyone wants to solve the problem

Here’s what failing organisations might have in common

Everyone wants to solve the problem, but they want to solve it themselves.

That’s how you get recognition. It’s not recognised as success if you’re seen to depend on somebody else and this is buried deep in the culture of the establishment. Continue reading…