This month we chat to Cat Drew, Project Director
Firstly, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I am a hybrid policymaker and designer. I have spent 12 years in government, working in strategic posts in the Home Office, Cabinet office and No.10, as well as a stint in a Think Tank. At a point during that time I felt I wanted to do something more visually creative so I left for a couple of years to make art (and drink beer!) in Berlin. I came back to combine a Masters in Graphic Design with Policy and found that there was an appetite for design skills at the heart of Government in Policy Lab. There, I led many multi-disciplinary projects ranging from using data science to prevent homelessness to speculating on the future of rail, to prototyping ways to support people to manage their health conditions in work. Many of those projects were in partnership with Uscreates, and I enjoyed working with them so much, I leaped at the chance to move over full-time.
What will be your primary focus and role of responsibility at uscreates?
My main responsibility is to oversee the delivery of projects, ensuring that they represent the best quality and value for money for our clients. I provide direction on all major innovation projects, ensuring that they link to the client’s wider strategic objectives and deliver both business and social impact. My focus is to support teams to reflect on how we work, be inspired by innovation in other industries, share our world-class data, digital, and design-thinking to deliver better experiences and outcomes.
What do you consider relevant success factors that will benefit the uscreates team and customers?
I have grown up in a policy world, but much of my work has been about pushing boundaries and making links between sectors. I have reached out to the data science world and thought about how we need to design data driven services in a way that people trust. I have been able to communicate users’ needs to Ministers to make sure their needs are met. And I have been able to take speculative design from the world of exhibitions to strategic policymaking. I am able to see how design can transform organisations, but translate it in a way that makes sense and brings everyone along together.
What excites you the most about joining the uscreates team?
It is exciting to join a team where design is our philosophy, not set methodologies we churn out. ‘Better’ is something we give a lot of thought to, and spend time measuring with our clients supporting them to re-imagine or transform the services they provide. I enjoy applying design at various levels – from using film to research and communicate the lives of users, to co-designing services with frontline staff, to engaging senior leaders in setting new strategic conditions for innovation. After 12 years of working in Government, I’m thrilled to be able to work with a varied set of clients, including many unusual suspects, who are increasingly leading social change from their community, social venture and business sectors.
Read Cat’s recently published article: Civil Service Quarterly – Using data and design to support people to stay in work