The hard line of complexity

Image – hollidaypics

This is my prediction for what I’ll be thinking about and focussing on more in 2017.

We complicate things and we do so most of the time. All progress depends on finding ways to side step the complexity we create at every opportunity. Continue reading…

2016 – End of year review

This year was the toughest of my career so far.

I’ve managed to steer our design team through a considerable amount of change at DWP Digital (previously, Digital DWP) after most of our leadership team suddenly moved on to take over at the Government Digital Service in August. Continue reading…

Having an opinion

Up until about 3 years ago I wasn’t a regular blogger.

I’ve come to realise that I was afraid to share anything that might sound too much like a personal opinion, especially if that meant people disagreeing with me.

As I’ve published more, my confidence to write and share what I really think has increased. Continue reading…

Finding the conversation

It’s important to work hard to find the right conversations.

When I worked at the digital agency Tincan we were a small setup. This meant that most of us were account managers as well as designers, researchers, and front-end developers.

Spending time with clients was my favourite part of the job. Continue reading…


The problem with over testing, experience, and intuition

Designing something is about making a choice. Right or wrong.

There’s a common situation where teams become afraid to make decisions and they become paralysed by over-testing.

Barry Briggs shared his thoughts with me about this on Twitter earlier this year:

[I’ve] seen design teams paralysed by over-testing.

Continue reading…

The secrets of guerrilla communication

Communicating design to your colleagues is an important skill. I was reminded of this last week when visiting one of our offices and seeing Helena’s latest posters in all sorts of good places.

The trick is to focus your efforts anywhere that people stand around with nothing better to do than to read what’s in front of them. Continue reading…

Let’s pretend

Yesterday, I shared some quotes from Inventing the future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work by Alex Williams and Nick Snick.

Here are some more thoughts about imaging the future.

The alternative as a utopian future

Science fiction has a good record of predicting the future. Continue reading…

Imagining the alternative future

One of the most thought provoking books I’ve read this year was Inventing the future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work Book. In the book Alex Williams and Nick Snick talk about to imagining utopian futures:

[Utopias] demand that the future be realised, they form an impossible but necessary object of desire, and they give us a language of hope and aspiration for a better world.

Continue reading…

Direct route

Tonight I’m taking the shortest route home. It’s my choice.

I’m on a very rural train line that cuts right across the country from Leeds to Morecambe (I’m parked at Carnforth – a station little used but famous for the film Brief Encounter). Continue reading…

Patterns of things that break

After my last blog post, Sharon shared a picture in response to the example that an escalator never breaks.


Image – Sharon Dale

Clearly this escalator is broken and it hasn’t become stairs.

It made me think about interventions.

The act of intervention

Sometimes we’re too quick to intervene. Continue reading…