The start of my journey at Devon County Council

So here I am, three months in on a journey that has already exceeded any of my expectations. I have been lucky enough to join a team of hugely talented designers, developers and content specialists who are supported by a  truly forward thinking and innovative management team.

My journey started with a realisation that all the things that I’m passionate about and where I felt I could actually make a difference were becoming harder to be a part of. Prior to joining Devon County Council I was the Chief Creative Officer at a very well know digital agency in Exeter. My role there was to lead the user interface design and front end development teams on a truly diverse range of  projects from simple WordPress websites to enterprise level web applications and mobile apps.

During my time in this role I was lucky enough to work with a leadership team whose passion for digital and innovation, coupled with underlying understanding of the importance of user interface design, lead to us working with clients that ranged from international banks, global oil and gas businesses, premiership sports clubs and national sports organisations. We were also one of the first agencies in the area to create native mobile apps, make responsive design a standard and to explore new technologies such as iBeacons and wearable technologies.

So why would I decide to leave a position that offered so much opportunity to innovate, a seat on the board of directors and access to a team of designers and developers whose ability can be clearly be seen in the quality of product that has been delivered over the years. Well, it came down to 2 simple things in the end…..

  1. I’m passionate about customer lead user interface design and wanted to work in an environment where the customer, rather than commercial objectives, is the primary focus.
  2. Having spent so much of my career focussing on commercial objectives, I felt it was about time I started using my knowledge and experience to do something more worthwhile, that could benefit my local and national communities.

My career path, like many people, started in a slightly different direction. Following on from my studies in Corporate Communications, I had a number of marketing based roles, including a Marketing Executive for a global cyber security company. I’ve always been interested in how businesses / organisations communicate with their customers and how that is translated into design for branding, advertising and the technologies they use. This passion in more recent times has become focuses on how a service or platform should be designed entirely around an end user’s requirement, rather than an organisation’s commercial or political objectives.

Inspired by the amazing work done at GDS and what appeared to be a culture of evolution and innovation at DCC, I decided to apply to join the digital team at DCC.

Moving away from the private sector was a huge leap of faith for me, I was confident that my experience would be a useful addition to the team, but had no idea what sort of support there would be both from the production and management teams.

I can however say that digital team at DCC exceeded all of my expectations. I feel very lucky to have become a member of such a talented team of designers, developers and content specialists. I’m also really impressed with the forward thinking, supportive approach of the management teams and senior leaders, who are so passionate and driven by a desire to offer the best end to end user experience possible to members of the public. The digital transformation agenda and the Digital by Design methodology, put digital at the heart of decision making throughout the organisation, making this a very interesting time to be a part of the digital delivery team.

And it’s not just the team at DCC that have really impressed me, there is a culture of digital innovation and a desire to share and evolve knowledge throughout many local authorities. This is especially reflected in the fantastic work that the LocalGovDigital community do to drive standards and foster an environment where local authorities can work together to deliver the best services possible.

User experience design is about creating a positive, efficient and consistent experience for customers, no matter the channel, platform or contact point.

Although my particular knowledge and experience is within digital delivery, I am looking forward working with a whole host of experienced professionals at DCC to design exceptional user experiences and deliver the highest quality, end to end customer services / support to our local community.

If you would like to know a bit more about the work I will be doing at DCC and the fantastic work being done by the digital delivery team, then please feel free to contact me at martin.dainton@devon.gov.uk

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