Amanda Payne – cxpartners' new Experience Strategy Director for Digital Government
As I reach the end of my first 100 days as Experience Strategy Director heading up the Digital Government team, I’d like share what it’s been like and my hopes and aims for the year ahead.
Joining a people-led organisation in a pandemic
There’s been much written about the seismic shift in our work and home lives this past 12 months - and my take on the challenges, opportunities and issues it raises are not unique.
Like many others, I had a hectic, all-over-the-place pre-lockdown life. Juggling travel, family and a high pressure role at a fast-paced agency. Lockdown replaced trains with zoom and commutes with home-schooling. Then, in a year already full of change, there was the opportunity to begin a new and exciting role with cxpartners.
Right from the start, cxpartners felt human and empathetic. The recruitment process was collaborative, two-way, and very open. These values reflect the way the public sector prefers to work and I felt confident that I could represent these authentically to clients.
The remote start wasn’t without its challenges, but throughout the first few weeks and months, there’s been opportunity to provide feedback and to share experiences. There is a real sense that cxpartners is not just thinking about “getting through this” but also what the change means for the people, the culture and the company moving forward.
Digital Government at cxpartners
With a decade of experience working with public sector clients from central and local government, to public health and local government, I was excited to join an organisation who chose to organise around specialisms and sectors. Joining cxpartners to lead Digital Government meant working with a team that had as much passion for the work - and the way of working - as I did.
I’m proud to be joining a team with a depth of experience across a wide range of public sector delivery for UK Space Agency, Department for Transport, Public Health England and Buckinghamshire Council (amongst others).
Working together, we’ve set ambitious goals whilst remaining grounded in the reasons why we do this work. Always remembering the reasons we turn up every day - to create and improve public sector services based on real users’ needs. And we do this by listening, understanding, hypothesising, experimenting, collaborating and sharing. We make mistakes. We learn and we iterate.
What’s next for Digital Government
Right from my first week, I had permission from the business and the team to focus on where we wanted to be. I set a vision based on who we were as a team and what we wanted to achieve:
The digital government team is made up of people who want to create better services for citizens, patients and anyone who interacts with public sector services. We want to:
- Work with our clients providing end-to-end service design to solve whole problems for users
- Do work we’re proud of, combining consultation and strategy with excellent design and research - always putting the human at the centre of everything we do.
- Grow within cxpartners, supporting existing team members and bringing new, talented people into our team - increasing our skills, capabilities and capacity.
This underpins our decisions about who we’d like to work with, how we talk to each other, how our existing team is supported to achieve their ambitions and what new talent we’d like to see in the future.
We’re as busy as ever:
- We’re working to improve services for health services for vulnerable users with complex needs.
- We’ve formed partnerships with organisations to strengthen their user research and service design capabilities to ensure that the work they do meets the needs of users and the Government Service Standards.
- We’re supporting transformation by taking an inside-out approach, improving the end-user experience by understanding and engaging with the internal users to really get under the skin of the challenges and opportunities in delivering great services.
- We’re continuing to provide strategic thinking and tactical delivery to long-standing, established clients.
In addition to this, we’ve started to grow the team - appointing a new Principal Service Designer by supporting an internal candidate in their career growth. We are currently looking for a Senior User Researcher to champion research as a discipline in the team, the company and beyond, as well as bringing on a Trainee Web Developer to continue our goal to foster new talent.
Beyond that, we’re always seeking to provide better outcomes by challenging ourselves and our clients:
- We’re exploring the boundaries between Discovery and Alpha - where design can enhance the open-ended questions around the exploration of need.
- We’re advocating for people-centred approaches to support and improve strategic programmes such as digital transformation, organisational design and systems design.
- We’re championing inclusion within cxpartners and our projects - aiming to ensure inclusive research and design throughout delivery builds better digital service for everyone.
People-first - always
During the interview process, the leadership team asked me to map out my first 100 days, and on day one, I re-mapped. And then re-mapped again. Reacting to change. Learning and responding.
The last few months haven’t always run smoothly, but the team has been open to change, fair in their feedback and ready to go on the journey with me. What hasn’t changed is my belief that success is always about the people - our colleagues, our clients and the users.
If you are interested in joining our growing team as a Senior User Researcher, or simply want to find out more about the excellent work and services that we deliver, please don't hesitate to contact me via email - firstname.lastname@example.org.