A new start…

For the past three years, I’ve been the Head of UX & Design at Oxford Computer Consultants, a 100-person software company in Oxford, where I built, led and managed the UX Design Studio of eight people (UX designers, User researchers and front-end developers).

It was an incredible experience to start and embed design in the 25-year tech company and I’m proud of what we’ve built together. It’s an incredibly challenging thing to do too.

I’ve put design principles and processes in place, raised the bar of quality of UX and design, created business and sales strategy for design as a new revenue stream for the company, recruited a team of eight talented and passionate individuals (see photo below) and managed the UX Design Studio (resourcing, financial forecasting, line-management).

I’ve now decided to take a step into the unknown and take on a new challenge of starting my own consultancy. I’m excited by the sea of possibilities. Watch out for this space. 🙂

I’ll miss this friendly and creative bunch. You can see the lovely card they put together for me on Github. I wish them the best of luck!

The most comfortable person in the room

We all, from time to time, experience situations when we feel uncomfortable in a group setting, that being in work meetings, networking events or in informal conversations. Being an introvert and shy myself, I used to be, more often than not, on the uncomfortable part of the room. After I started organising a monthly event, doing public speaking, facilitating workshops, and regularly meeting new people, I now find myself comfortable in most group interactions. And I now realise how much I can help others around me to feel comfortable in the environment and engaged in the conversation. It’s like being the host…

If you’re the most comfortable person in a group, you’re the host. Look around you, check the group dynamic and facilitate the interactions between people. Break the ice, introduce yourself, be the mad one who takes the first step. Make introductions. Bring beverages. Ask questions, listen, set the tone of the conversation. Smile. Tell a story that will make people laugh. Gently bring quiet people into the conversation (but be careful to not put them on the spot). Be the one who says what no one else feels comfortable to say. Until everyone else is comfortable, the group dynamic is working well and your role of being the host is redundant.

Book: The Alliance – Managing talent in the networked age

“These individuals, flexible, creative, and with a bias toward action, thrive when they’re on a specific “tour of duty”- when they have a mission that’s mutually beneficial to employee and company that can be completed in a realistic period of time.”

Book: The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age
Author: Reid Hoffman
Publisher: Harvard Business Review