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Ben Holliday is an experienced design leader, writer and speaker. This is his blog (started in 2005). If you’re new to this site, Ben has published a playbook for design linking together many of his blog posts from the past 5 years. You can book him to speak at an event, get in touch or follow him on Twitter.

Latest blog posts

2019 and the end of a decade

Since 2015 I’ve always published a yearly round up. This year there is so much that I could say and focus on that it feels overwhelming to reflect for too long. This is especially the case as it’s also the end of a decade.

So I’ll keep this brief. Continue reading…

How to use service patterns

How to use service patterns is something that I know a number of different organisations are starting to think about. This is a conversation that I’ve seen prompted by the LocalGov Patterns library that we’ve been working on at FutureGov with Essex County Council. Continue reading…

Open is inspiring

There was a lot of interest in my recent blog post about how to work in the open in government. I explored some of the reasons why I think that working in the open is important. In this post I want to explore why working in the open can also be inspiring. Continue reading…

New models for service ownership and leadership

With more organisations working with service-oriented approaches to delivery in the public sector, this is increasingly leading to questions about models for service ownership in how we design, develop, maintain and improve whole services. Continue reading…

There’s no such thing as a bad idea

As I did at the Create Leicester conference last week, I often start talks by saying that ‘design is a good idea’.

The line between good and bad ideas is very thin. A bad idea in the hands of the right person can easily be tweaked into a good idea.

— Twyla Tharp, The Creative Habit

I’ve seen this through my experience as a designer. Continue reading…

How to work in the open in government

The gates of UK ParliamentThe gates of UK Parliament (Creative Commons License)

I recently commented on this Guardian article — Benefits system automation could plunge claimants deeper into poverty. Continue reading…

The art of football

I’ve supported Tottenham Hotspur since I was 8 years old.

I wasn’t that interested in football and then one Saturday my Dad took me along to White Hart Lane to see my first game and that was it. 32 years later I’ve been to something like 200 games home and away (only a handful a season, but enough to call myself a supporter). Continue reading…


I’ve been putting this post off since May. It feels strange to talk about getting older. If you’re busy enough you don’t notice the time passing. That’s how the last 10-12 years have felt. Work has got bigger and more significant in many ways as new opportunities have come along, and my life has increasingly centred itself around family, both as a husband and also as a dad to (my now) 4 children. Continue reading…

Seniority in design: superpowers

Build on your limitations, make them your strengths.

I really like the work the Home Office design and research teams have taken the lead on, illustrating the importance of accessible design. The statement that first caught my attention here was:

We are all only temporarily not disabled.

Continue reading…


It doesn’t have to be complicated.

Most strategy is finding the clearest, or best available route forward for making progress (rather than standing still).

It means knowing where you want to be, and what the goal you’re working towards looks like. Continue reading…