On Thursday I’ll be walking out of the traveljunction.com office for the last time to have a long awaited week off before starting afresh elsewhere.
2 years ago I knew absolutely nothing about travel, although it was one of the verticals I’d identified that I’d like to work in. When the opportunity came knocking I took hold of it as tight as I could. As a designer, you can look at the entire travel landscape and everything in your gut tells you it can be done better, more user-centered based on user needs.
Over 18+ months, my team and I created traveljunction.com and a niche new package holiday site for customers traveling to Dubai. Not only that but my role changed dramatically over the time I was with the company. I started off as Head of UX, before moving on to Head of UX & Product and ended up somewhere around the role a Chief Product Officer would be doing.
I got to work with a team packed chock-full of some of the most talented humans you’d ever want to work with. I went from managing 3 team members before maxing out at about 14 or so at one point and learned a lot in doing so.
And all while this was happening I successfully launched and ran the third Industry Conf which went better than my wildest expectations.
But, it’s time for a change. I’ve spoken for a long time about learning again, getting right back into the thick of it in the practical side of design. It’s where my heart is at and is of course my core skill set. At Industry this year, I closed the conference by talking about doing something worthwhile with our careers, we’re only on this earth for a relatively short timeframe and there’s no point at all working on something that you’re not entirely happy with.
We’re also in a bit of an employees market right now, there is a lot of work floating around in various different verticals. I mentioned at Industry that whilst you may be working within an agency doing client services work, it doesn’t mean that you’re stuck there if you want to try out product based design. We can do and have the skills to do whatever we want to put our minds too.
I’ve looked up to the Government Digital Service and their work on GOV.uk and their other services for quite some time. They seem to have nailed a lot of things in a lot of areas and most importantly they’re changing government from within by focusing on user needs and not what government wants. That last bit makes me want to run around in circles doing some kind of happy dance.
The GDS are in the process of giving autonomy to a range of their services, one of which is the Department for Work and Pensions also known as ‘The DWP’. I’m incredibly excited and honoured that I’ll be joining Ben Holliday‘s DWP team mid-August in Newcastle. There is a lot to do over there and the DWP cover more things than I’d ever imagined, it’s not just pensions.
It’s time for something new, it’s time to make a difference for the people that need it the most and I’m really looking forward to it.