End of a journey

Hi all,

A year ago I posted my first post on this blog about winning the SOCITM Graham Williamson Award where I won an opportunity to study User-Centred Design and User Experience at the City of Vancouver – a local government Council in Vancouver. Fast forward to now and I’ve just returned from SOCITM2012 – the annual SOCITM conference in Birmingham after giving my final presentation to the conference on my trip. I’ve always seen the conference as being the final stop on my journey since winning the award and I’m extremely happy and proud what I’ve achieved this year.

The presentation – called User-Centred Design (UCD) and User Experience (UX) in Local Government – was received really well and I’m extremely pleased with the feedback and buzz on Twitter I had about it. My presentation focussed on how the City of Vancouver used these UCD and UX techniques to develop their Vancouver.ca website. I then detailed how leadership and senior management buy-in is critical to deliver these techniques to local government here in the UK to achieve cost savings. Quite a big ask!

The full presentation can be found here.

***Update December 12th with link to a video version of my presentation***

My presentation style is different to others in that I don’t have much information on the slides therefore they won’t give much context on their own. The presentation has a full transcript in the notes though which explain my presentation in detail.

So, what has this year been like for me? Well, this blog has plenty of information in detail but to summarise:

  • Went to Vancouver for a month in Feb 2012
  • Came back to the UK and introduced new UX techniques and ideas which I’d picked up from Vancouver
  • Began a project to improve the awareness and importance of UCD and UX across the UK in Local Government
  • Travelled the Country giving presentations to regional SOCITM conferences delivering the above
  • Raised the profile of UCD and UX in my own organisation
  • Was selected by SOCITM and IBM to be part of the Top Talent Programme where I visited IBM’s offices in London and Dublin to learn leadership and management skills
  • Had 6 months of personal 1:1 mentoring with IBM Executives to work on my strengths and weaknesses professionally and personally
  • Networked with many suppliers, peers and colleagues around the Country gaining valuable contacts
  • Graduated from the Top Talent Programme at the SOCITM2012 Annual Conference and finally,
  • Gave my final presentation at the SOCITM2012 Annual Conference.

What a year. And what a year Gemma Gibb has to come. Gemma won the award for 2012-2013 and she’ll be off to America to study how they use “digital” to deliver local government services! I wish her all the best and good luck!

Before I sign off, I’d like to Thank the following people who have been key this year:

  • Michele-Ide Smith (my previous line-manager) for giving me a nudge to apply for the award and for setting me up with contacts in Vancouver
  • Rahel Anne-Bailie from Vancouver for her time helping me arrange the trip and for her hospitality while I was visiting the team
  • The entire Web Redevelopment Team at Vancouver.ca teaching me everything I wanted to know with special mentions to Jerome Ryckborst and Laurie Best for their key support and guidance
  • Everyone at SOCITM who has supported me and given me some great opportunities
  • All the graduates from the Top Talent Programme, Liz Jackson who was my mentor over the last 6 months and to Steve Cliff for arranging the Programme
  • All my colleagues at Cambridgeshire County Council who have supported me with special mentions to John Platten and Joanna Leung for their key support and to Mark Lloyd for helping me raise the profile of my trip and UCD/UX through regular blogs and meetings and finally,
  • My wife Ems for all the times I’ve left her at home while I travelled (especially so soon after we were married!) and for helping me prepare for my presentations.

As with all great achievements, great opportunities soon follow so the next chapter for me is a move to develop my career. I’ll be taking up a position as a Digital Project Manager for a leading Digital Marketing Agency in Cambridge. They have some really exciting clients which I’m looking forward to working with. It’s going to be particularly exciting as I’ll be working across multiple digital platforms (web,  phone, tablet and other digital platforms) and I’ll be able to use my UCD and UX skills to help deliver some truly exciting products.

So, with that, I’ll sign off for the last time. Thanks to everyone for reading and following me. I can be found on LinkedIn and Twitter if you’d like to keep in touch or ask any questions on this trip.

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